Tips + Tricks

No More Bottlenecks: 5 Tips for Selling Embedded Analytics Internally

By Alvin Wong
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Embedded analytics help users work smarter by incorporating relevant data and analytics inside the applications they use every day, allowing them to solve business problems and work more efficiently. However, in some cases, not everyone on the team will immediately see the value of investing in embedded analytics.

To get them onboard, you’ll need to understand their priorities and what challenges stand in their way. Then you can connect the dots for them and position embedded analytics to address their specific concerns.

Here are a few tips for getting buy in:

  1. Understand the strategic goals and most difficult problems faced by executives and stakeholders, so you can create a business case that addresses their priorities.
  2. Create a quantitative analysis that proves how embedded analytics is the key to accomplishing those goals. For example, if increasing revenue is the main objective, make your case based on revenue.
  3. Discuss, don’t present. Start by asking questions to understand what stakeholders are looking to achieve. Then transition by saying, “If I could show you how to meet those objectives efficiently and effectively, would you be interested in learning more?”
  4. Support your position with real-life case studies, particularly from companies that are similar to yours.
  5. Be prepared for a “yes” answer. Have your high-level plan ready along with an overview of next steps, timeframes, and required resources.

Another tip is to address the primary challenges and priorities of each stakeholder. For any executive you are trying to convince, be sure to manage expectations about the time-to-value and effort required. Don’t overpromise and then under-deliver. Embedded analytics is often a journey where the true benefits and costs are discovered over a period of time. Getting value takes a strong plan, time, and effort.

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The Cost of Delaying
Whether or not people believe investing in embedded analytics is the right path forward, you’re always going to come up against push back or requests to delay the project.

Here are some common reasons why people may delay investing in an embedded analytics platform, and how you can overcome them.

Objection: I don’t need to use a third-party tool because I can build this all internally.
Response: With enough time and energy, you can build anything. But do you really want to spend years building analytics? A third-party solution enables you to go to market faster and save money so you can focus on advancing your core functionality. Analytics vendors spend 100 percent of their time trying to make analytics better, faster, and easier for you and your end users. By utilizing a third-party platform, you can do what you do best, while relying on analytics experts to add value to your product.

Objection: Let’s just give our customers access to the data and let them do what they want outside the application.
Response: You’re leaving value on the table, as you’ve settled for becoming a data collection tool rather than adding the value into your product. While data exports may satisfy a portion of your customers, there will be many who simply want reports and insights available “out of the box.” You need to get out of the business of serving custom report requests. With embedded analytics, you will become the data expert that your customers expect you to be.

Objection: We don’t have the resources necessary to do this successfully.
Response: This is all the more reason to integrate with a third-party product, which brings the domain expertise necessary to implement embedded analytics successfully, including how-to guides, best practices, and in-person consultations. You can start small, and look for tools that conform to your architecture and your development process. The days of Big BI are over – there are many options that will enable you to add real value to your applications without consuming massive resources.

Objection: We know our customers want something, but we don’t know exactly what it is they want.
Response: If your customers are communicating any sort of pain, you need to investigate what’s driving that frustration. When evaluating third-party products, you’ll complete a thorough evaluation and build a proof of concept with your data –which you can use to validate your direction with your customers. It’s important to choose a platform that provides a broad range of functionality and supports rapid prototyping so you can pivot appropriately.

Objection: Embedded analytics is nice to have, but it’s not a “must have” for us.
Response: Educate them on how analytics has changed the game for consumer and business applications – it is most definitely a need to have. Show how embedded analytics builds product value and enables users to work more productively with your application. To support your case, present findings from the State of Embedded Analytics report, which outlines the clear benefits of embedded analytics: creating a competitive differentiator, improving sales demos, and driving faster revenue growth.

Bottom line: There’s never a perfect time to roll out new software or start a new project. Don’t let the delay go on too long. You’ll always be busy. Once you’ve determined you’ll benefit from the investment, the longer you wait to implement embedded analytics, the longer you’ll have to wait to see a positive impact.


Originally published December 1, 2015; updated on August 9th, 2017

About the Author

Alvin Wong has an extensive background in solution architecture and implementation of SaaS and business intelligence applications. Alvin earned his MS in Engineering Management from Stanford University and BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.