When speaking with those inside sales and marketing circles, the one thing most are eager to talk about is big data. As it has for many different kinds of businesses in recent years, big data analytics is a revolutionary technology with the power to transform how people in sales and marketing operate. It is by no means an easy concept to grasp, which is why so many companies have had to experiment with big data technology in different ways. But one thing is clear: big data analytics represents the future of what sales and marketing can become, and it does this by unifying their unique talents and skills.
The buyer’s journey can be a long and complicated one. Many strategies reflect a more traditional approach that some view as tried and true. New ideas, such as big data, turn all of those methods on their heads, bringing a new perspective on how to get customers to buy a company’s products. The basic idea behind big data when used in this manner is to collect as much information about customers as an organization can. This data can include hard statistics such as age, location, marital status, salary, and other attributes that businesses can target. Softer information may include what colors individuals respond to more positively or what times of day they may be more receptive to a pitch. The total amount of information that may impact the buyer’s journey can be immense, which is why data analytics is so crucial for success.
As can be seen, the key to using big data effectively isn’t just collecting tons of information on current and prospective customers; it’s about identifying insights within the data collected and acting upon what is discovered. Businesses need to get a good idea about who their customers are, what they want from their experiences, when they want it, and how best to engage them. Data analytics makes this more precise than the methods used before, but recently, sales and marketing teams have taken this task on separately. This follows the more traditional business model, where everything is divided into its own department with only occasional interaction between different areas. Big data analytics has blurred these boundaries, tearing down the silos that have kept departments from working together. Sales and marketing teams have benefited the most from this revolution.
Think for a moment about how each team normally operates. Marketing departments find out as much as they can about their target audience and tailor their message to attract customers. Once customers respond, the sales team takes over, interacting with them throughout the whole customer journey until a product or service is purchased. The two operations are certainly linked, but the isolation within which both worked was inefficient. But with the rise of big data analytics, sales and marketing teams now understand how much easier their jobs can be when they willingly share data with each other.
For example, a report from Gartner indicated that the most effective way to close sales was through direct interactions, references, and events. This requires coordination between the sales and marketing teams. Only then can they get the results they want. The information gained by the marketing team to pull in customers can easily be transferred to the sales team, giving them an advantage when trying to sell them the right product or service. So much of the sales process requires precise timing or appealing to certain preferences, so data gathered by marketing can aid tremendously in this endeavor. At the same time, the data collected by sales can go toward better marketing campaigns as marketing teams get a better idea of what kind of people eventually buy what the company is selling. Marketing money can be spent precisely where it needs to be. With the advances in analytics platforms and hyperconvergence, all of this potential can be obtained relatively quickly.
There’s a lot riding on making sales and marketing teams becoming more successful. Businesses that are serious about seeing that success would be wise to adopt big data solutions. With so many big data vendors out there, companies have a wide variety of options to choose from, leaving no excuse for failing to integrate data analytics. When looking at sales and marketing, the time is now to use big data or risk getting left behind.