The Role of Advanced Analytics in CRM

March 28, 2012
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LouJ 150x150 photo (customer relationship management business analytics big data advanced analytics )The following post is syndicated from Lou Jordano’s (@LouJordano) recent

LouJ 150x150 photo (customer relationship management business analytics big data advanced analytics )The following post is syndicated from Lou Jordano’s (@LouJordano) recent guest post on the Sage SalesLogix Journal (@SageSalesLogix):

In a recent interview with Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, founder and editor of the KDNuggets knowledge discovery community, we learned that while analytics is much easier when we predict the behaviors of inanimate objects such as asteroids and viruses, it’s also quite relevant for predicting and responding to customer behavior.

And with the recent courtship of advanced analytics and CRM (customer relationship management), companies are now more poised than ever to sense their customers’ needs and respond in real-time. In this post, we’ll explore the role of advanced analytics and its relationship to CRM.

Moving Beyond Gut Feelings & Canned Reports

With the explosion of sales and marketing channels, it takes much more time and effort to find out which activities are working and which activities are not.

Yes, you have reporting, but that’s an after-the-fact exercise. Today’s competitive landscape requires us to equip our marketing and sales teams with real-time information and allow them to analyze customer and sales data without restrictions – and without IT’s help. Asking questions of the flood of data available allows us to innovate and activate.

A Practical Example – Marketing Manager to Marketing Maven

Take this example – a marketing manager is segmenting lists for an email campaign about an upcoming major product release. To show the campaign’s effectiveness and to create her action plan for lead flow, she needs to know some key stats about the customers and prospects on her lists.

Armed with questions and a powerful analytics dashboard, our marketing manager can ask a question like:  what is the projected profitability for each former customer we’re emailing?

That single question could mean the difference in the offer, as well as which lists of customers to email and even the testing involved in the campaign.

She is also able to access data from across the organization in a single application (e.g. recent conversations with the support team or account manager; recent events the customer attended; and even visits to the resource center on the company website). Using this data, she can create a data mashup and get the whole story regarding what the company knows about this prospective customer or group of customers.

More than likely, she’ll have more questions as she digs into the data. And that’s when she’ll really understand the benefits of integrating the CRM system with an advanced analytics solution. She can paint a complete picture of the known facts and work through the unknowns in a deductive manner. She can run if/then scenarios and present them to her team of decision makers and potentially define her next step up with the company.

Empowering your CRM users with an analytics solution allows them to make discoveries not found in spreadsheets and canned reports.

The Customer Service Difference

CRM’s original purpose was to help us manage customer data – to document customers’ buying habits; to store their contact info; to create a better service experience; and to grow that valuable long-term relationship. Without this system in today’s competitive, global marketplace, most companies would be dead in the water.

However, managing and storing that data is just not enough to keep us a step ahead of the competition. We need to sense and respond to our customers’ support calls and answer their questions as quickly as possible. After all, that’s what they expect.

Armed with analytics and an empowered service staff, you can create a sense-and-respond organization.

Let’s look at another scenario.

Relationship Revival & Revenue Protection

Mr. Brown calls in and angrily tells you of his billing issue. He also lets you know he’s been a loyal customer for 12 years. “What are you going to do about it?” he asks, or rather demands. With your CRM system, you can access his record, but it may take some digging – not to mention more angry words from Mr. Brown.

If your CRM solution is equipped with an analytics dashboard, your CSR can access the answers to common customer scenarios in a predetermined dashboard. With this one resource, your customer service rep is empowered with data – almost instantly.

If, indeed, Mr. Brown is a 12-year supporter of your product, the CSR can take an immediate step toward retaining his business – offering a significant discount or extended service, for example. If the facts show he’s a more recent acquisition and he’s called support 10 times in 12 weeks, the rep could simple relay his support options and offer a sincere apology.

The Bottom Line

The key to being a sense-and-respond organization is to query, understand and act on relevant data quickly – without IT intervention. The advantages are shorter decision cycles and the ability to take action in real-time, which result in better margins, better productivity and happier customers.