By Fergal Glynn
While data may seem cold and impersonal–it’s just a bunch of numbers after all–savvy sales teams and enterprises are utilizing sales analytics data to create more relevant customer experiences.
While we may be in the Age of Big Data, we also are in the Age of the Customer. And, today’s customers are demanding that companies meet their expectations for service and experience. The simple truth is that companies that capitalize on data win the customer experience game.
A Portrait of Today’s Consumer
Think about it: both individual consumers and business customers alike utilize websites to educate themselves about purchases before making buying decisions. According to Google Analytics Advocate Adam Singer, an average consumer does not make a purchase before consulting 10.4 sources, which typically cover in-store visits, search engines, and business websites.
The numbers are even more telling for B2B buyers, as the 2014 State of B2B Procurement Study by Acquity Group found. In fact, 94 percent of business buyers perform online research when making purchase decisions. In addition:
- 77 percent use Google search.
- 84.3 percent check business websites.
- 34 percent visit third party websites.
- 41 percent read user reviews.
This combination of data sources and touch points provides companies with ample opportunities to get to know their customers and predict their behavior. This eventually helps marketing teams deliver the right content at the right time to help convert more leads.
How to Capitalize on Data
So, how exactly are companies capitalizing on consumer data? Kurt Marko, Forbes contributor and independent technology analyst, explains: “Collecting, correlating and analyzing data from customer interactions across channels is the key to transforming the customer experience from nightmare to nirvana. The nexus of big data and machine learning in all its forms, including predictive analytics and even neural network deep learning, are the underpinnings of well informed, highly efficient and deeply satisfying interactions that benefit both customers and business.”
Collecting data at each touchpoint is key for companies seeking to create more relevant customer experiences.
Some companies utilize sales software to make the best use of the descriptive and predictive nature of their data. Sales teams especially need these types of insights because of sales process disruptions that result from the omnichannel customer experience created by the intersection of in-store, online, and mobile app environments. Data from each channel creates a picture of each individual consumer so that companies can tailor content at each touchpoint, thereby enhancing and eventually personalizing the customer experience.
A Total View of the Customer With Big Data
The challenge, of course, is for companies to manage all of their customer data and turn it into actionable insights. If all of your consumer data is stuck in silos or is scattered among sales teams, support teams, and marketing teams, your company won’t be able to capitalize on the data because no one will have a complete view of your customers–and that’s where Big Data comes in.
With Big Data, your company can combine all the insights about customers and prospects with other data sources like social media, location, and transaction data. The intersection of all of this data is where your true customer insights lie, and where you’ll be able to determine your next move with content to enhance and ultimately personalize your customers’ experiences with your company.
Strategies for Using Big Data to Create More Relevant Experiences
Strategies to improve the customer experience with Big Data include:
- Learning which data is most useful.
- Aligning Big Data with business, sales, and marketing goals.
- Focusing on the customer journey, rather than single interactions.
- Analyzing usage data to better understand the customer experience.
- Identifying inactive customers to reengage them.
- Analyzing acquisition data and monitoring progress.
- Leveraging all relevant data to fully understand customers.
- Capturing, analyzing, and acting on data quickly to create value.
- Blending data with content.
- Understanding the limitations of Big Data.
While there is no one hard-and-fast rule for creating more relevant experiences for your customers, capitalizing on data is a smart strategy. At the end of the day, you need to remember that all of your data represents people who have expectations, desires, and concerns. By treating your customers like people, rather than numbers, you more likely will meet their expectations and achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction through relevant experiences.