Taming the big data beast: the importance of CRM

Making the most out of data

Today, businesses have had yet another function added to their portfolio – they are managers of a large amount of data and information.

Big data has become a massive phenomenon created from the sheer amount of information captured from online and offline resources. The organic growth in data that is generated by a business is seen as essential for improved organisational efficiency as it delivers the intelligence businesses need to make better decisions from top-line strategy down to customer-facing employees.

However, for businesses it can be viewed as an unwieldy beast, which requires lots of investment and maintenance. The overwhelming volume of data that businesses collect is not necessarily practical to use or understand. In addition, in order to get value out of data, algorithms and predictive models need to be applied to solve specific business problems.

This conversation has turned into a debate about the data's actual relevance and its capacity to provide answers.

How to tame the beast?

Businesses need to find a way to analyse data to gain useful information that can help them realise their commercial goals. In order to do this, businesses need to break down their big data into bite-sized chunks. This will make data easier to analyse and in turn create useful insights to help improve business strategy, leading to an overall increased efficiency.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are a good example to showcase how data collection, discovery and visualisation work in practice, and have a real impact on the most critical part of the business process – customers.

The most important relationship any business has is with its customers. CRM provides the analytical tools that can synthesise customer information gathered across channels and platforms, turning it into insights that can be translated into business actions, practices and processes. Armed with the proper information, all customer-facing employees can ensure quality customer service, driving tangible and measurable business results.

The tailored approach

By making CRM tools available to all customer-facing employees, businesses can better understand their customer base and provide personalised customer service. Therefore, they can make data work for them instead of the other way round. This is important for customer retention as businesses can track and have access to a single view of the customer including previous interactions with the company.

Personalisation in all conversations with customers improves loyalty as people buy from people. Individualisation and the personal touch differentiate companies from their competitors. 71% of consumers who experience a quick and effective brand response on social media are more likely to recommend that brand to others, compared to just 19% of customers who do not receive a response.

At the same time, personalisation is also important for new business prospects. By having the right information at hand, the sales team can identify and turn leads into actual sales.

Having quick and easy access to the necessary information is therefore critical, especially as sales teams are becoming more and more mobile. With the BYOD trend set to grow even further, an increasing number of employees need tools that work across devices and are true enablers. Modern CRM solutions make personalised data available at the employees' fingertips wherever they are, from all mobile devices.

Turn data into power

Information is powerful when it is meaningful and insightful. CRM is recognised as a technology that can provide real-time analytics and personalisation of the customer base. It allows data to be 'big enough' to provide important insights but at the same time 'small enough' to be manageable, accessible and meaningful.

Businesses that are proactive and forward-thinking will make the most of the potential that CRM solutions offer and will use personalised data to gain competitive advantage.

  • Henning Ogberg is Executive Vice President Worldwide Sales at SugarCRM