It’s tempting to think that a Big Data strategy is just for big businesses. However, the reality is data can provide significant value to any company of any size or type, including small professional services firms. With the right data, a company can understand customers on a deeper level, improve business operations, and drive more sales.
To enjoy these benefits, it’s important to adopt a data strategy organized around the specific kind of data needed to support an individual business’s goals. A fleshed-out data strategy should also determine where the data will come from, where it will be stored, and which tools will be used to analyze it. A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform can be a valuable tool in creating a data strategy, as CRM software tracks interactions and other data points and offers easy access to editing, tracking, and viewing data in a centralized hub. When using a CRM to gather and organize data, businesses can unlock the following five benefits by developing a data strategy:
1. Move a business from reactive to proactive management
A good data strategy can help professional services businesses of all sizes analyze real-time, existing data, allowing them to move from a reactive management model to a more proactive one. A proactive management style powered by a well-thought-out data strategy allows a business to anticipate the needs of customers, suppliers, partners, and of course, the business itself. Ultimately, a proactive approach can reduce costs, nurture existing customer relationships, build brand awareness, measure performance, and increase profitability.
2. Create a more strategic and data-driven online business presence
Creating an effective online strategy requires an effective data strategy. All too often, smaller businesses treat their social media pages like they do their personal pages, with posts that are more random than planned and are not aligned with a larger vision for messaging or campaigns.
To build an effective online strategy through a website and social pages such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, businesses must utilize data captured through those sites. This data will help businesses understand who is visiting pages and where they spend the most time. Businesses can also identify the most frequently viewed or downloaded content as well as the search engine optimization (SEO) keywords that drive the most traffic. All of these insights will make it easy to create content that engages a business’s desired audience and boosts conversion rates.
3. Improve product and service offerings
Even if a business has a wildly successful portfolio of products and services today, it’s important to always plan for the future. Businesses should continually be asking themselves how they will learn what customers want, what they like, what could be better, and which new offerings will help them be competitive down the road.
This is where a good data strategy is indispensable. Data analytics can help improve the quality of existing products with an eye on where the market is heading. Businesses can look to various sources of data for this information, such as sales and inventory data, competitor offerings, customer service logs, and even customer reviews on social media pages and review sites such as Yelp and Google. Improving products and services, enhancing customer service, and increasing customer retention rates are some of the best ways professional services businesses can benefit from big data analytics.
4. Drive productivity with easily accessible data
There’s no end to the productivity benefits a professional services business can gain when team members have access to the right data at the right time. Using CRM and a sound data management strategy ensures every employee has access to real-time customer data, thereby making it easy for them to quickly and fully engage with customers while alleviating the need to spend time with the previous account owner to learn the customer’s history. This saves employee time and improves customer service by ensuring every interaction is seamless and well-informed.
5. Continuously develop, refine, and meet your marketing goals
With the right CRM platform storing their data, employees at professional services businesses can optimize and inform marketing goals and strategies. For instance, CRM data analytics can deliver ongoing insights that help business leaders make better decisions around product or service offerings, content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, product pricing, sales promotions, customer relationships, loyalty programs, and much more. As a result, businesses can make strong, data-driven decisions that improve their bottom line.
In our increasingly digitized economy, data is king. No matter how big a business is, or what it does, creating a sound data strategy and having tools like CRM to manage data, play a crucial role in long-term success. The good news is, there are many CRM and data analytics tools that fit the needs and budgets of smaller professional services businesses. That means professional services entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes are now more empowered more than ever to seize control of their data destiny and unlock the added value that a comprehensive data strategy brings to their business.