To those of you who spend any time mountaineering, hiking or mountain biking, just the mention of that term probably sends shivers through your body.

For middle aged sales executives (read: desperately out-of-shape) like me, the agony of grinding up a torturous single track , eyes constantly looking upward to the summit, then learning you’ve actually not summited a climb is nearly unbearable. Ahead lies another grueling climb to the actual summit before you can enjoy the thrill of screaming down an Aspen-tunneled downhill.

In my case, the false summit is typically where brightly festooned, lycra-clad riders, in obviously better shape than I, cruise past me to the top nearly effortlessly.

In many ways, Business Intelligence is like a high-alpine mountain bike ride. The industry is littered with marketing teams from discovery tools and “BI app” vendors who falsely advertise an easy climb to the summit – and their customers learn the painful lesson of the false summit.

While successfully implementing a BI project doesn’t have to be as grueling as a multi-stage climb up rutted, rocky single track, it’s seldom as easy as climbing to the false summit. Likely, your initial requirements can be easily met by any one of the 38 vendors in Gartner’s MQ.

However, the real value in analytics is climbing to the real summit so you can enjoy the metaphorical thrill of the downhill that insight into multiple systems of record affords you. Instead of climbing a false summit that allows you to understand which leads are converted to opportunities, you need to climb the actual summit to understand which of those leads convert to closed deals, not just early stage opportunities. And very few BI vendors can take you past that the false summit.

If you believe recent data that suggests that 70% of all buying decisions are made before the vendor is even contacted, it’s imperative that campaigns be measured not on their ability to create column fodder, which is all a simple lead-to-opportunity score will tell an organization, but on which campaigns, placements, etc, produce leads that actually close.

Once you’re armed with that information, you’re ready to rocket down a stretch of buff single track, yipping with joy as you speed past mile after mile of Aspens!

If you’re ready to learn more about how to avoid a false summit, check out our definitive BI Buyer’s Guide!