“Big data” isn’t a new term that just found its way into business discussions. But it isn’t being used as well as it could be. With 47% of companies admitting to not using it at all, we’re clearly still in the early days of big data and analytics (especially true in smaller and mid-sized companies). If you start to rethink the way you approach big data and focus on ways you can use it to improve business, then you immediately start to realize big data’s benefits.
Here are a few ways integrators can use big data today …
1. Trend Discovery
Understanding how, why, and when people buy is easily uncovered with the support of big data. This can start with the data that lives within your ERP and CRM systems, and can be expanded upon with investments in outside market data. Knowing these things can help you make decisions on what products to focus on, what services to market to, and even when to market to them.
2. Sales Process Automation and Improvement
Data is key to improving your sales process. One big opportunity is the utilization of sales process automation: for example, using current and prospective customer data to automate highly customized, targeted emails sent to a community of potential buyers. This can be a secret weapon for helping sales pros bring more leads into their funnels and more opportunities to quote and sell jobs.
3. Customer Service Enhancement
Do you really know your service response rates? How quickly do you fix onsite customer problems? How many calls does it take, or how long do customers spend on hold, for your team to reply? These things make a difference. With data, you can even see how varied reply times equate to more positive resolutions.
4. Employee Satisfaction and Engagement
This one may be the hardest, but also the most important. What can data tell you about your employees? Can you identify behavioral data or trend data that yields stronger performances or attrition? How can incentives be tracked to meaningful performance improvement? A lot of leadership ideas about being approachable and supportive have long withstood the sniff test, but big data allows you to see the results of activities and decisions. Companies need to be able to identify the best talent and inspire those people to stay. Data can help you pinpoint your best talent (especially beyond sales) and what has been most influential in improving performance and driving retention.
While jumping into the world of big data may seem overwhelming, trends show that investment in this area is only going to grow. Companies will use big data to improve customer satisfaction and drive employee engagement. They will also use it to improve products and services while identifying opportunities to disrupt and innovate in respective markets. The key is to realize the importance of big data and begin looking for ways it can improve your business.
Once you learn how to engage in data-driven projects, you can expand your investments without becoming overwhelmed by data and the ways it can be used. Making decisions with data will unquestionably improve outcomes and help you find the most immediate and realistic path to growth. –Dan Newman, Cofounder of V3*Broadsuite