Friday, April 6, 2012

Using CRM Analytics to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Businesses rely on key decision makers to guide and lead them towards productivity and profitability. In this endeavor towards improving organizational capabilities and business processes, crucial customer data goes a long way to help management make informed decisions. This is critical to ensure efficient use of resources, prevent wastage, realize opportunities and bring about overall success for one’s business. CRM analytics are an essential tool used to help decision makers analyze, predict and impact business decisions.

Understanding CRM analytics
CRM analytics comprise of the applications and programs used to analyze a company’s customer data and present it in a way that is conducive to business decision making. It takes the process of data collection further by applying in-depth analysis of the data, extracting useful information from it and presenting it in a comprehensive manner offering cross-functional insights. CRM analytics can offer various benefits to a company. These include segmenting the market, understanding customer preferences, personalizing client communication, predicting future trends and opportunities, making product and/or service changes based on customer needs, discovering new or lost revenue opportunities, monitoring customer activity and much more. The benefit of such a system is increased productivity across all business spheres, especially sales, marketing and services.

How can businesses make better decisions through CRM analytics?
Businesses are increasingly using CRM software to facilitate informed decision making. The sector experienced a 6.2 percent year-on-year growth in 2010 and figures for 2011 estimated to be even higher at 7.6 percent, according to research firm Gartner. CRM analytics not only converts raw data into applicable information for decision making but also ensures that this information is easily accessible to the various functions across an organization. The key purpose is to make data available securely whenever and wherever required so that timely decisions may be taken.

One of the key essentials of implementing CRM analytics is to integrate it with the overall business strategy. These must be used in reference to the ultimate business objective to derive the right type and amount of information for decision making. Analytics can be the most useful when managers understand what the key business issues are. Once these are isolated, valuable information related to them can be easily retrieved and used for arriving at practical solutions. Managers are also often tied up in integrating data across various platforms as they are constantly fed information from different teams and departments. Bringing this data together and synchronizing it is another advantage of CRM analytics. In this way, one can ensure that no crucial information is missed out on while taking critical decisions.

CRM solutions offer a dynamic platform for organizations to answer to business challenges with multi dimensional CRM analytics. Interactive software ensures that users get well acquainted with their business data while at the same time have easy and quick answers to various business queries. Managers can get a real-time analysis of complex business problems from multiple perspectives. This helps them get a holistic understanding of the situation for improved decision making. One can get insights into the present state of the business, in terms of productivity, areas of efficiency and non-efficiency, individual team performances and more.

Increasing ROI through CRM analytics
Business Intelligence is changing the way companies are run. In many ways, business intelligence helps the top-hats better understand the intricacies of their business right to the lowest rung of operations. As top decision makers get insights on what makes their business tick and where their strengths and limitations lie, they are able to better use these to their advantage. As the business becomes more efficient and productive, this is automatically translated into increased ROI. A research study conducted by market intelligence and advisory firm IDC states that CRM solutions, if implemented correctly, can yield returns ranging from 16 to more than 1000 percent.

Customer insights are useful in improving products, delivery, service, marketing initiatives, sales processes and more. In a nutshell, when a company understands what its customers want, it can focus on simply making and delivering the required product to the targeted customers. All this becomes possible through CRM analytics.

Marketing teams can understand which campaigns are getting maximum ROI, while sales teams get to know what is selling and what is not. Data mining can help dig out potential customers leading to more sales or better cater to current customers to ensure retention or increase business from them. In either case, companies profit from sustained business which is the ultimate goal of any organization.

From pursuing hot leads to closing the final deal, CRM analytics help users make key decisions at the right time. Businesses are able to reduce the perception-performance gap by making products which better serve their customer base. In today’s competitive markets, quick thinking and actionable decisions act as the lifeline of a business. CRM analytics ensure that these possibilities are turned into realities.