6 Tips for Integrating Business Intelligence Solutions with Your CRM

May 12, 2016
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In the age of Big Data, companies are pushing to collect and analyze as many data sources as possible so they can enrich the customer experience and drive sales. One way to gather rich data is by integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools with business intelligence (BI) platforms.

In the age of Big Data, companies are pushing to collect and analyze as many data sources as possible so they can enrich the customer experience and drive sales. One way to gather rich data is by integrating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools with business intelligence (BI) platforms. CRM provides companies with customer-centric data that directly relates to satisfaction, engagement, and experience metrics – while BI can add an additional layer to present this data in a meaningful and actionable way.

 

How are CRM and BI Different?

CRM and BI were built for different purposes. Your CRM is essentially a customer database to store information on interactions and sales history. They typically include communication and analytics tools that help companies address customer needs and keep them informed.

As companies have discovered the importance of the overall customer experience, especially within the context of omnichannl environments, business intelligence integration with CRM has come into play in order to gather increasingly targeted data from both structured and unstructured sources, and then relate and display it in easily digestible formats. BI is more of a strategic solution, where companies saw the need analytics and deeper insights in order to stay competitive. BI handles large amounts of data and provides views into how the overall business is functioning, not just customer sales and actions. BI tools are essential for customer retention and acquisition efforts.

 

Integrating CRM into BI Platforms

Moving data from CRM into a BI platform should be undertaken with care in order to develop truly actionable insights. Here are six best practices to ensure a smooth integration between these two powerful tools.

  1. Understanding what you are looking for. Before the integration, map out what answers you are trying to discover about the customer experience and the business as a whole. There will be some surprising insights that are uncovered after integration, but you should have an initial “wish list” of questions that you want to see answered. Tackle customer-centric problems first before moving onto areas of the business.
  1. Only populate CRM with good data. The data moved into the CRM system can influence strategic decision making when it is a part of the BI platform. Various departments in the company should follow quality data practices, such as uniform and complete customer data collection. The cleaner the data, the better and more relevant the resulting BI-produced insights.
  1. Create a real-time transfer of data. BI provides companies with benefits when the underlying data is current. Companies should establish real-time connections between CRM data and the BI dashboard, so trends can be identified and acted upon. Is there a spike in customer service calls or chats? BI analytics can spot the root problem and get the company back to normal operations.
  1. Refine customer segmentations. Merging CRM and BI solutions results in a deeper picture of every single customer. It goes beyond knowing when the customer performed actions, but also their preferences. If social CRM data is included, then segment the customer even further so that marketing and sales can offer targeted and personalized messaging and offers.
  1. Leverage the data for testing. With integration of all the unstructured and structured data from CRM and other sources, the BI tool can give management insight into various metrics. This allows experimentation and testing of ideas to definitively see how they impact real-world numbers.
  1. Ask for help. Creating a strategy that outlines clear goals and measurable KPIs is key the success and adoption of any systems integration undertaking. It’s important to partner with an experienced technology consulting firm like TechBlocks in order to create a CRM/BI integration roadmap so you can gain the most tangible benefits for your organization.