Ariane Shadbolt


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“Systems of Intelligence”: the new approach for B2B client relationship management

This quick-read looks at industry trends and expert opinion to draw conclusions about the next phase of enterprise tech innovation: Systems of Intelligence.

“This is a revolutionary moment in financial technology and one that is quickly widening the gap between the “haves” and the “have nots”. Those businesses that can best harness data and emerging data science techniques – and deploy them at scale – are stretching their advantage.* ”

What has changed?

B2B client relationship managers find themselves in a situation today where almost 100% of their client interactions take place on digital communication channels. Face-to-face interactions have been replaced by an increased number of emails, calls, VCs, website interactions and chat interactions. The new digital ecosystem which a sales professional now operates in requires a much larger number of digital interactions across a variety of communication channels. The subsequent exponential growth of the amount of data points generated by client interactions has presented an excellent opportunity. Whilst today revenue-generators, sales managers, client analytics and CRM managers alike are all being hindered by patchy manual data inputs, which are draining their productivity, smart enterprises are jumping on this change. This data can answer some of the most pertinent sales questions like: “which sales efforts are generating most interest right now?” or “which of my clients are at risk of terminating contracts?” or “which key relationship holders are checking out?” When you only have disparate systems and siloed, incomplete data sets upon which to base those decisions it is impossible to get accurate answers to these questions.

“Systems of Record”: the 1990s approach

Legacy systems which were designed and implemented in the 1990s are no longer able address the needs of today’s digital client relationship environment. Our previous quick-read looked at how and why traditional CRMs are no longer fit for purpose for the new B2B sales use-case. In summary, modern B2B client relationships are too complex and digitised to understand and analyse using the old “Systems of Record” which rely on manual data inputs and result in inaccurate or subjective insights.

“Systems of Intelligence”: the approach for the new digital era

Transitioning into this new high-touch digital B2B environment requires a corresponding shift in the technologies we use to operate effectively within them. Returning to the quote by David Craig, CEO of Refinitiv, at the beginning of this article, “Those businesses that can best harness data and emerging data science techniques – and deploy them at scale – are stretching their advantage.” The demand from business leaders looking to leverage new-age technical solutions has resulted in the emergence of a new sub-category of SaaS solutions called “Systems of Intelligence”. This term describes the deployment of data-capture technology and artificial intelligence to derive actionable, value-accretive insights from big data sets. Systems of Intelligence are differentiated from traditional Systems of Record in two main ways:

  1. The automation of data capture through direct integration with IT infrastructure.
  2. The deployment of custom-trained deep learning algorithms to extract intelligence.

Systems of Intelligence are not, at least initially, going to replace Systems of Record. They work with and gather data from all traditional systems, such as email, chat systems, calendar and CRMs, to provide a new layer of insights which would otherwise remain hidden.

Why does this matter now?

As already addressed in this article, as we enter the new age of B2B client relationships, the amount of data generated by an organisation’s revenue-generating activities, and the potential value of the insights within that data, is becoming mission critical to the success of a business.

There is a concurrent trend emerging: the 2020s will see the value of an organisation’s intangible assets, such as reputation and relationship management, outstrip the value of its tangible assets. High-quality, high-touch relationships which typify the B2B environment are becoming increasingly valuable. Research carried out by Aon shows how this evolution has changed the types of companies that have the largest market cap, from manufacturers of products like GE, 3M or Procter & Gamble, to providers of services such as Alphabet Inc., Facebook or Microsoft.

Introducing FeedStock’s Enterprise Relationship Intelligence (ERI)

At FeedStock, we work with leaders across the professional services and technology industries to provide the answer to these concurrent trends. Our ERI system, Synapse, captures, analyses and understands an organisation’s data flows automatically, to deliver client insights like never before. In an age where millions of business interaction data points are generated per user, per day, and it’s more important than ever to maximise opportunities and minimise risks within your client base, leveraging this technology is the difference between winning and losing.


* CEO of Refinitiv, David Craig (October 2020)

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