"I want to take my business to the 'Next Level.' How do I turn all this data I have into actionable insights?" We often hear this question from our clients.
The ability to turn data into actionable insights is a business success requirement, and it is getting increasingly difficult.
Previously, in Know Your Customer - Analytics as a Competitive Advantage, we mentioned that change breeds uncertainty and having a trusted set of systems and processes that can also provide analytics is a strong competitive advantage.
There are new sources of data available through social networks, industry analysts, customer surveys, mobile devices and so forth that needs to be integrated with the business relationship knowledge found in your CRM - customer relationship and management systems.
Analytics can deliver a significant payoff (5X) as noted in this research report: http://bit.ly/1110tp-pdf. The report indicates that analytical leaders adhere to four principles that are effective in starting or enhancing customer analytics initiatives:
1. Analyze what is useful and actionable, not just what is at hand.
Are you taking the easy route and only reviewing the data that is already assembled? Determine what has real value to your business and this normally means considering new perspectives. How are you helping the customer buy your products and services- is that experience a positive memorable experience? Simply ask them in a way that makes it easy for them and is valuable to your business needs.
Now put that knowledge into actionable programs such as a new product or service offering and improved offerings specific to the ideal target market.
2. But don't ignore existing databases that can be minded with fresh eyes.
Operational data - such as service complaints, service renewal rates, product sales trends - need to be reassessed and acted upon. Is there a product line with increasing quality issues that reflect back on production or delivery practices? Being able to quickly access these issues can save big bucks in lost sales and reduced service costs.
3. Restructure processes and personnel to take full advantage of the new insights.
Change will progress when you facilitate the decision process with stakeholder buy-in and many successful 'baby steps.' Analytics must be integrated with everyday business decisions and processes. Because we don't all have those skills and systems in place, you may need to hire people with more of a quantitative focus and re-design your CRM system using a knowledgeable CRM consultant.
Link a passion for excellence with the rigor and discipline to bring successful solutions to key issues.
Use this customer knowledge to answer questions such as:
How do we equip our sales force with the tools and information they need?
How can customer service become more proactive?
How can we improve the customers' positive experience so they will recommend us?
What product lines need to be revamped?
4. Embrace a rapid "test-and-learn" approach.
When a market is evolving, speed is more important than completeness. Have a "Sense of Urgency" mindset tied with a continuous learning business philosophy.
An iterative, test-and-learn approach to developing segment profiles / buyer persona profiles makes the most of the existing data.
If you need to define another characteristic or interest of your customer database, select a CRM system that can be easily modified to implement this change.
Customers value offerings that precisely address their needs and desires. All else being equal, they seek out providers whose offerings fit like a glove.
When you're implementing a strategy such as an email marketing campaign, do split mailings using different subject lines and header sections. What different results did you notice? What can now be reapplied and made even more actionable?
Apply a similar strategy in other marketing efforts such as blogging for business success. What are the topics that receive the most views and the most comments?
One obvious benefit of a rapid approach is the ability to quickly focus on key issues at minimal cost!
Companies that want to keep in step with - or even get a step ahead of - the changing customer landscape must actively embrace analytics and adhere to these 4 principles.
Use these principles as a framework for taking your business to the "Next Level"!
What strategies and practices are you using to better understand and address these preferences for the segments you target?