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3 Tips to Make Big Data & CRMs Work Together

Posted on 6.01.2014

Big data – albeit an overused term – refers to large amounts of data that businesses are often unable to process with standard methods or tools. 

Many customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, however, can not only process that data, but also make it useful to increase conversion, engagement and more. Here are three tips to make big data and CRMs work together.

Use One Solution 

When you’re talking about processing “big data” the last thing that should come to mind is a spreadsheet. Similarly, disparate systems – a CRM with this company, an analytics dashboard with that one, an e-commerce platform with yet another – can make complex data even more complex or, worse, useless. Since a solution like NetSuite, for example, offers ERP, CRM and e-commerce software in one solution, it allows its users to record all interactions with customers (the e-commerce side) and then leverage it with the CRM. 

NetSuite GM of Commerce Products Andy Lloyd provided an interesting example of this. Awhile back he mentioned to his team they needed to build ratings and reviews into the e-commerce platform, it was suggested to him that they’d just integrate with Bazaarvoice. This particular ratings and reviews software is a popular (and good choice) but by giving the NetSuite e-commerce platform this native capability instead, it allows for deeper integration between the platform and the CRM. For example, a retailer could say they want to offer 50 percent off on a product that’s margin is X percent and to people who rated a product a one star last time. 

By using an integrated solution – whether it’s NetSuite or others – brands can get a single view of the customer and have one customer record for their companies and all of its channels. 

Hire a Data Scientist

As companies leverage big data in the context of customer relationship management, Lloyd of NetSuite anticipates the industry will see more data scientists exist within retail and business-to-business companies. For SMBs it may be unfeasible to hire someone specifically dedicated to the integration of big data and CRM but every company should be looking for analytic-type experience and characteristics in their employees – in customer service, development, marketing and more. The way of the digital future is to take everything we know about customers/clients and leverage it to increase conversion, provide a more personalized experience, etc. Employees need to not only feel comfortable doing that, but also need to be methodical enough to ask for the data they need to do their jobs better and improve operations. 

Don’t Be Scared

The thought of vast amounts of structured and unstructured data can turn the stomachs of even the most seasoned professionals. As long as a company’s privacy policy is up to date and easy to read, Web workers shouldn’t be scared of leveraging what they know as well as getting what they want to know and what they think they can know and using it as part of short- and long-term customer relationship management strategies.

Even so, today’s consumers present the ultimate contradiction. They want to keep their private information private, but they also expect brands to know their digital likes and dislikes. The longer a brand waits to leverage big data insights and their valuable CRM systems, the longer it will take to essentially provide consumers a place where everybody knows their name (at least those who can make their experiences better).  



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