Smart Substitutions: Navigating Supply Challenges with Revenue Intelligence

By Zilliant

Jan 30, 2024

Even though we are past the pandemic, global supply chain issues persist. Recent climate and geopolitical crises have compromised two of the world’s most vital shipping routes.

“Tesla and Volvo both announced this week that they are pausing production at their plants in Belgium and Germany, respectively, given the lack of essential manufacturing components reaching Europe,” according to a report from

To weather supply shortages, leading sales operations teams are turning to data science-driven revenue intelligence. Revenue intelligence solutions identify alternative product opportunities and deliver them to sales reps in the form of highly targeted actionable insights.

However, B2B companies that aren’t leveraging revenue intelligence to deal with supply challenges will likely fall behind the competition, risking revenue and market position.

Before we dive into how revenue intelligence streamlines the product substitution process, let’s look at why a spreadsheet-driven approach is not the answer.

The Spreadsheet Struggle

Before revenue intelligence tools, implementing a product substitution campaign for a big B2B company used to look something like this:

  • Inventory managers identify low-inventory products and log the data in a spreadsheet. 
  • The spreadsheet is then emailed to a product manager, who enters in-stock substitutes for each product. 
  • The product manager looks at recent transaction history to see which customers are frequently buying these items. The spreadsheet grows. 
  • The spreadsheet is shared with the VP of sales, who tasks the sales operations manager with communicating this product substitution campaign with sales reps via email. 
  • Sales reps may or may not open the spreadsheet. A small portion of reps who glance at the spreadsheet reach out to customers with underwhelming results because they lack any further guidance. 
  • Lastly, there is no way to measure campaign success or track sales rep behavior.

As you can probably tell, this process is convoluted and inefficient. Additionally, this approach typically produces underwhelming results. Companies are finding that they need to do more than just use spreadsheets and send a few emails to stay competitive.

Powering Product Substitutions with Revenue Intelligence

So, how can we alleviate the extremely inefficient process described above?

Zilliant revenue intelligence solutions can streamline this process in a matter of clicks. Zilliant Sales IQ™ identifies product substitutions in minutes, and Zilliant Campaign Manager™ enables sales operations managers to deliver those opportunities in the form of guided actions to CRM, CPQ, eCommerce, or any other commercial system.

With revenue intelligence, a B2B product substitution campaign looks like this:

  • Product managers identify low-inventory products along with their in-stock substitutes. They use Sales IQ™ to identify all customers that are frequently buying these low-stock items. 
  • Once identified, sales operations teams use Campaign Manager™ to create a campaign to deliver targeted, actionable insights to the sellers. 
  • Sales reps see a product substitution action when logging into their CRM system, which prompts them to convert offers to a comparable in-stock product. 
  • Closed-loop tracking enables reporting on how each sales rep is performing against his or her assigned substitution action. By using revenue intelligence solutions to transform your data into actionable insights, a product substitution campaign can be a quick and simple process rather than an inefficient one.

Watch On-Demand: Revolutionize Your Sales Game: Boost Efficiency and Skyrocket Revenue with Intelligence

How do you empower your sales teams to confidently close deals and quickly deliver the right price strategies with the most effective sales motions? Watch this webinar to learn how Zilliant Revenue Intelligence empowers sales teams by creating AI-driven customer-specific recommendations to help:

  • Identify "hidden" cross and upsell opportunities
  • Push excess or expiring inventory quickly
  • Win back lost or decreasing demand for specific product lines

Ready to empower your sales team? Watch our revenue intelligence webinar! 

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