Many business managers today use a combination of intuition, experience and some level of analytics to make strategic and tactical business decisions. However, often times that balance between science and intuition is disproportionally skewed towards intuition. This is mostly because the business data is often fragmented across many systems and formats.
Integrating big data analytics into your sales process and performance management can enable you and your team to skew the balance heavily in favor of using science over intuition. You can base decisions on facts, patterns and relationships that exist in your customer behavior rather than half facts gut feelings. Here are four ways your business can gain a competitive advantage by integrating big data analytics into your CRM and sales process.
1. Insight into the Customer-Facing Operations.
Many CRM projects are launched to provide transparency, increase the effectiveness, and drive down the operational costs of sales, service and marketing. Advanced analytics will provide proof of the ROI and effectiveness of the sales, service and marketing operations. For example, understanding the sales and marketing costs involved in acquiring new clients or the service costs involved in retaining customers.
2. Predictive Sales Forecasting.
Accurate forecasting is both a science and an art. There are a lot of patterns, relationships and personal subjectivity that has to be taken into account to get an accurate forecast. Predictive algorithms convert the personal subjectivity of sales reps, account for any seasonality or other factors that have an impact and produce a completely objective, fact-based forecast.
3. Decision Support.
A comprehensive analysis on all deals can reveal tactics or unique combinations of activities that are proven to work. Pushing for a demo before trial or vice versa, sending customer success stories early on and involving an executive during negotiations can make a win/loss difference. This analysis can be automated and the advice for sales reps can be delivered in real time and contextualized in the CRM to provide effective decision support.
4. Better Customer Understanding.
Your clients and prospects are sharing a ton of valuable information about your products and services, pricing and licensing, competitors, etc. However, the information is often spread around across systems and different formats. Email and support communication, RFPs, survey responses, interviews and meeting notes and so on. There’s a lot of gold there but it’s really hard to extract at scale. Having the ability to gather and analyze this vital information can tell you all you need to know about what your company should do next to keep growing.
Most businesses have lots of data about their operations, what their clients think and say about products, services, pricing, and even their competitors. That wasn’t the case some 10-15 years ago when the struggle was to implement systems to capture this data. The next revolution will not be about growing systems of record but about making sense of all the data to support decisions, measure operational effectiveness and navigate the business in the right direction. The businesses that do not adapt to this changing environment will struggle and eventually fail.
Editor’s note: Martin and his team can be found at gtmhub.com.