How to Leverage CRM Data without the Help of IT


Share on LinkedIn

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is incredible at collecting and organizing data. The main purpose of CRMs, after all, is to track every interaction you have with customers.

All the tracking and data entry that goes into your CRM creates a treasure trove of information and insight waiting to be mined and visualized. If you started viewing that CRM data in aggregated, visual form you’d likely be able to find patterns and relationships that weren’t previously apparent.

A common reason companies don’t take fully advantage of CRM data though is the assumption that such analysis requires a full business intelligence (BI) solution and data science team. Fortunately, many CRM systems have built-in self-service analytics tools, designed to be easy enough for an average business user to operate.

For example:

  • SalesForce provides a number of analytics features. Front and center are the drag-and-drop report and visualization tools. With these, users can easily customize the real-time dashboards to get a quick glimpse of company progress, based on the metrics they selected. If you’re willing to dig into the open reporting API, you can further customized the dashboards without any restriction.
  • Base CRM includes pre-made sales reports for employees and managers. Automatic sales forecasting reports predict revenue and lead conversion based on past and present data. These forecasting tools can even alert you to anticipated increases or decreases in revenue, so you have the foresight to adjust your lead generation accordingly.
  • The unique power of Base CRM arises when you use Base Voice for your calls. Base Voice records data about your calls, such as whether it was a successful pitch, which can be used to determine the times of day and techniques with the highest rates of conversion. Such analytics help you pin down the most successful methods, so you aren’t wasting your or your customers’ time.
  • Zoho CRM data can be analyzed by Zoho Reports as an add-on. Zoho Reports has full BI functionality and is designed for visual analysis and drag-and-drop reporting. Additionally, the dashboards, visualizations, and reports you create can all be embedded into websites, or blogs, for easy sharing. Zoho Reports will automatically incorporate data from other Zoho products your company uses, or can accept manually uploaded data sets from outside sources.
  • Even if your current CRM doesn’t have analytics capabilities like the ones listed above, you don’t have to switch. This may be a good opportunity for you to look into incorporating CRM data with other sources of information collected in your business, with the help of data visualization software. Much of the value of business intelligence arises from integrating disparate data sources to find correlations.

    Plenty of solutions encompass the wider scheme of your business yet maintain a good nod to CRM, like the following:

  • Oracle’s CRM On Demand solution addresses many aspects of CRM use, such as sales, marketing, service management, and call centers. This usage data from CRM On Demand is then fed into the analytics, where real-time, actionable trends are identified. The software is completely self-service (no IT required), meaning companies of any size can use it to determine the best business strategies.
  • IBM’s Cognos is the most versatile of the listed data analysis solutions and is widely used for business intelligence purposes. The software can combine data from SalesForce or other CRMs with data from your company’s ERP and databases to uncover broad insights. Cognos Insight is a subset of Cognos that maintains its powerful capabilities while letting you work without the help of an IT department (in other words, you don’t have to know SQL or any other query languages to use it). Cognos is typically used by large corporations, with a substantial user base.
  • CRM data is prime for analyzation and you don’t need an IT team to help you do it. Most CRMs are capable of basic reporting, but tools like the ones above provide a better shot at discerning the quality and success of specific interactions with customers.


    Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here