Big Data refers to the massive quantity of structured and unstructured data that can be collected, sorted and analyzed to reveal patterns, trends and associations. The goal is to arrive at conclusions that help craft strategic business decisions. Sources of big data include customer call data, social media, sales visits, e-mails, product research and the like.
A few important characteristics of Big Data:
Volume: It is the sheer volume of big data that makes it literally ‘big’.
Variety: The category to which data belongs is very important as it comes in diverse categories.
Velocity: The speed at which data is generated and processed is also very critical.
Due to the above characteristics, even though companies understand and accept the benefits that big data analysis can bring, they still find it quite challenging to handle and interpret the data. While 70% of businesses see big data as critical to optimize business efficiency, 61% believe it will be a real challenge to implement. For those who utilize it, 69% see added value for the innovation process.
Big Data & CRM – More Power To you!
Big Data integrated into CRM is a powerful tool that businesses can use to their strategic advantage. CRM helps in sorting and analyzing the vast pool of data and enables a business to quickly react to market forces. Reports generated based on big data can provide accurate insights into customer behavior which can be used to achieve greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Let’s take a look at the benefits that big data-CRM integration can bring to businesses:
1. Higher Customer Satisfaction
Analyzing customer behavior helps businesses have more empathy for their customers and establish timely and relevant communication with them
Customer interests and purchasing capabilities can be used to achieve effective customer segmentation. This in turn helps businesses deliver targeted advertising and offer customized products for niche markets
Data from customer surveys and social media can give direction to new product development or improve the existing products
Customer sentiments can be used to assess market interest in new products or services. It could help businesses design customer-oriented campaigns and arrive at the best time and channel to release those campaigns (when the customers are expected to be most receptive to them)
Customer location and purchasing behavior can be used to issue targeted location-based advertising
Big Data via CRM can help you identify your loyal customers and draft loyalty programs aimed at rewarding them
3. Increase sales
Big data shows you patterns in purchasing behavior based on the demographics, locality, technical know-how etc. of customers
This can aid immensely in cross-selling and up-selling of products
Big Data analysis can identify and project sales opportunities to sales and customer service personnel
It can help sales personnel arrive at an optimized pricing and deliver smarter quotes based on market conditions and willingness to pay
4. Improve customer service
Big Data analysis gives insight into where a company’s customer service efforts may be lacking
Customer service personnel can deliver personalized on-demand service
Having relevant information on hand can cut down customer service calls
Providing intuitive customer service based on past customer requirements is easier
5. Measure and Track ROI
Big Data can help set benchmarks on prime factors like revenue vs. cost per call, customer satisfaction index and customer retention rates
Tracking and measuring these vital factors can help in identifying areas that need improvement
Over time, these improvements are reflected in more effective sales calls and well-executed marketing campaigns, leading to overall higher operational efficiency. All these serve to increase the ROI of the business
6. Predictive modeling and strategic decisions
Big data can be used in predictive analysis to forecast probabilities and trends
Businesses can shape their product development, marketing and sales strategies based on current market trends
They can arrive at crucial operational decisions like where to open stores, what items can be offered on discount etc.
Analysis can result in strategies that are relevant, accurate and actionable
An effective sales and marketing strategy can give businesses huge competitive advantage to dominate the market
7. Improving Brand Image
Big Data from social media can help businesses understand how consumers perceive their brand
Tracking and responding to customer issues over social media can help portray a positive brand image
Identifying and cultivating brand advocates can help businesses reap the many benefits of Word of Mouth Marketing
In spite of the above benefits, companies find it difficult to collect and assimilate big data. Some of the key challenges that companies face in this area are:
Lack of expertise in terms of technology
An inflexible management that is not convinced with the merits of big data analysis
Siloed data sources either due to internal management hurdles or due to privacy concerns