provide feedback at every stage of the process with more immediacy. This can streamline the approval and build processes, and
give the customer a greater overall sense of control or involvement
with the project.
This use of social in the workplace is also helping companies to
become more proactive in their customer relationships, especially
concerning snags in the supply chain. When a company has visibility into their supplier’s (and their supplier’s supplier’s) systems,
it can automatically notify customers at order fulfillment what
the wait time on a backordered item is going to be, eliminating a
follow up email after the order has been placed. This allows the
customer to react immediately, and saves the company an apology
email when the product is actually found to be out of stock.
Digging through the Data
All of the information collected about consumers from all the
different channels available piles up into one enormous reposito-
ry: big data. But what does a company do with it? Kurtzman from
Tour de Force CRM sums the conundrum up well when she says
“Big data doesn’t do a salesperson any good unless they have an
objective for what they want to accomplish with that data. They
need to have a clear cut set of actions that they can make from
that data.” Similarly, if a salesperson has all of this information
on their mobile device and doesn’t know how to use it, the data
is useless. A company needs to develop a strategy to deal with
the data and then train their salespeople to access, understand,
and use it.
Aside from successfully training employees to use it, Jay Henderson, Strategy Director, IBM Enterprise Marketing Management,
says that what he calls “the Big Data challenge” has three corners:
variety, volume, and velocity. The variety is that there are tons
of channels and they are creating a slew of data each (volume).
“The velocity [of this data] is incredible,” says Henderson, “and
the net result of these three dimensions is that the signal to noise
ratio has definitely gotten worse.” He notes that companies go
through a three part progression with the data: First, they want
to get just access to the data and store it somewhere. Then, they
have to decide how they are going to derive value from that data.
Finally, they have to act on it in a way that will be meaningful for
their company. Their reaction also needs to be timely and accurate,
because using old data is just as bad as not using the data at all.
Customers need to know that companies are listening, and that
they are listening in real time.
Putting it all Together
One of the advantages of big data, in conjunction with the
marketing automation of CRM technologies, is that companies
can create more targeted campaigns for their audiences. For
sales and marketing, this gives them the chance to use the new
data insights to more intelligently market to their segment,
understanding more fully what each individual customer needs
to hear in order to garner a better response from them. These
campaigns, paired with informed salespeople who have access to
customer histories and preferences through their mobile devices,
can become a formidable selling force to tackle budget goals and
Bowden from IBM points out that it is always the goal of a company to have a one-on-one relationship with their customer from
a marketing standpoint. Being able to speak to one customer at
a time with the exact message that they need to hear is the most
successful way to run a prospecting campaign. However, it is not
always a possibility. In the meantime, intentionally combining mobility, social engagement, and the use of big data will take every
company one step closer to that optimal one-to-one ratio.