Innovative ways to gather and analyze big data has been a driving force behind business technology in recent years. The phrase has gained some negative press when companies like Facebook collect and use data in an illegal or shady way, but when done right, knowing how to use big data can be a game changer for businesses. Not just big business either. You may not realize it, but your small business likely already has mountains of data waiting to be aggregated and analyzed.
What is “Big Data?”
The idea of “big data” is gathering a lot of information on your business and it’s target customers. Then, you can use this data to look for trends, find flaws, identify gaps in your services, and so much more to run your business better. For example, one popular way to use big data is with your CRM. If you collected all of the data on the path your leads take before they convert to customers, you could develop a stream-lined process that could greatly increase the likelihood of closing the sale. Maybe you find that customers that are reached out to within a week of an initial sales meeting convert at a much higher rate than those contacted two weeks after, or maybe you find that customers who see a sale person in-person spend 25% more than those contacted over the phone. Looking for and finding trends like this can be a game changer.
Where Do I Get this Data?
The good news is – you likely have already collected a lot of data you can begin to analyze. Your CRM, ordering platform (if that applies), Google Analytics account, email service, etc. already hold a lot of data waiting to be examined.
By diving deeper into the platforms your business already uses, you can pull reports and start identifying trends in no-time. Many of these services likely already have report features built in. If not, reaching out to the provider to request bulk exports of your data is another option. Once you decide on the KPIs you are looking for, use a program like Excel to help you analyze and display this data in a meaningful way.
With the help of big data, finding flaws in your sales process or on your website just got a whole lot easier. Look for things like common stages where leads tend to drop off and focus on fixing that stage of the process. On your website or in other marketing efforts, look for landing pages or ads that have worse success rates than others and stop sending traffic there until you can improve them. In a perfect world, customers would tell you “oh I liked your ad but then I got to the landing page and format was just unreadable, that’s why I left your website and didn’t convert.” That doesn’t happen though, so use big data to find those problems you likely never even realized existed.
Optimize Work Flows
A stream-lined work flow is essential to lead nurturing. You may not realize it, but even if you don’t have a formal plan in place, you likely already use a work flow. Even just having a normal way you follow up with inquiries from potential customers is a work flow.
Use your CRM of email marketing tool (if you use one) to find those points where leads tend to fall off. Use the data to also find those extra touch points that seem to increase the likelihood of a conversion. Seek out these trends and incorporate them into a standard workflow you can use every time!
Big Data for Small Businesses
You don’t have to be a huge company to be able to gather and leverage data. Understanding the behavior of your potential customers and taking advantage of the trends you see will put you head and shoulders above your competition. Your small business may not always stay small, so paying attention big data now will help you scale and run your business in a much more efficient way.