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For many, it’s been hammered home that Big Data and modern analytics technologies will revolutionize the marketing and sales industry. While many of us now accept this claim, we also take it for granted.

Yes, Big Data can deliver significant results for marketing and sales professionals. But that doesn’t really matter. What truly matters is how and why. You see, if you don’t understand why the technology is so useful, or why it makes such an impact, then you can never truly take advantage of its full potential, can you?

If you want to leverage Big Data to help your sales team, you must understand how such platforms define prices, customer trends, propagate strategies and predict various outcomes. You must comprehend why sales needs Big Data. Armed with these insights, you can then strive for success in the current market.

Greater Responsiveness and Customer Insights

Intrinsically, Big Data provides the kind of information and insights about your audience that you need to provide better service and functionality. Sixty-six percent of enterprises will deploy insight centers of excellence to deal with common organizational misalignment. In other words, they will learn to better utilize data collection to deliver more efficient customer experiences.

Let’s say you’re haemorrhaging customers, so you deploy a Big Data system to get to the bottom of the issue. Over time, you’ll eventually see how your customers interact with your business, including their use of your products and services. You can collect opinions and insights about customer sentiment using a number of sources, both public or private. This can then directly influence your future actions. Maybe your customers didn’t like a recent software update which caused common frustration? Maybe a production issue you weren’t aware of popped up? Or, perhaps your customer service system is cumbersome, ineffective and damaging?

Through the use of collective data and group insights, you can highlight and identify trends that affect your business. In turn, this allows you to respond appropriately and with greater haste. And the more responsive you are to problems or customer complaints, the happier they will be, provided you take actions to fix the issue(s).

Predictive Analytics and More Informed Strategies

The market is in a state of flux, and, suffice it to say, it will never stand still. New players constantly enter the playing field. New products and services crop up. Innovative technologies are developed and introduced. The customers and clients you serve continually grow. Their desires and needs may shift completely over the course of time.

If you want continued success, you’ll need to adapt and adjust to the many changes happening around you. Predictive analytics and Big Data are the platforms that will enable such a thing.

Before making a decision or taking action, you can use data collected from your audience and the current market to see what the results will show. What services are customers looking for right now? What emerging technologies will help your business the most? These are all answers that Big Data and predictive analytics can find the answer too.

It’s better to make more informed decisions with practical and measurable data than to dive into the water blindly. In the event you do make a mistake, you can more accurately discern what went wrong and use this information to do better in the future. That’s the concept of Big Data at work — you’re always collecting and amassing potential information that you can use to improve processes, business strategies and products.

It’s no secret C-Suite executives and decision makers like to stretch company sales targets. They do this by establishing quotas and estimated levels for sales teams to achieve. Most of the time, a quota is higher than necessary because this helps reduce the risk of failure. Unfortunately, that also makes it easy for executives to set the bar too high, which can give the impression they are out of touch with the current state of the market and their business.

Luckily, Big Data and intensive data analytics can be used to discern the ideal quota or target. This is one clear-cut example of predictive platforms being used to make more informed decisions in the sales industry.

Contextual, Personalized Marketing Efforts and Experiences

Contextual and performance data can be used, in real-time, to take action and provide better experiences for your customers and clients. Consider how Amazon and similar retailers handle their “recommended products” or “related products” sections. They use personal data collected about their customer’s usage and browsing habits to suggest products of interest to their users. This delivers a personalized, relevant experience for everyone. It also makes customers more likely to return to your site or business later, to see subsequent products and recommendations.

All of this works to establish trust and a solid relationship with your audience. The more you know about people, the better you can serve them.

Building Strong Customer and Client Relationships

To build on the previous point, generally, the better you know someone, the stronger your relationship is. You can use Big Data to meet the needs of your clients, customers, and partners before they even realize what they are.

The following example is a few years old but no less amazing. Target predicted a young girl’s pregnancy and knew about it before her closest family members did. They started sending her coupons and promotions about her little bundle of joy. This kind of thing builds a strong relationship with potential customers.

You can use the information gleaned from your audience to make an impact in their lives. The better you serve them, and the more reliable your brand becomes, the more trust they will place in you.

Better and More Efficient Communication

Email marketing, traditional messaging and mobile channels are great ways to communicate with customers. But when coupled with many of the modern platforms available today, including social, they also produce a lot of noise. This makes it difficult to get down to the bottom of various communications and interactions, especially regarding cross-platform services.

A company rep might talk to a customer on the phone, for instance, and forget to note various problems discussed. Later, that same customer reaches out via email or instant messaging, only to find the new rep has no knowledge or information about the previous interaction. The solution — use a Big Data system to collect and organize the necessary customer information. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a technology that allows for aggregation of customer data throughout the buying cycle. CRMs make it easy for employees across departments to stay up to date on all customer relationships and interactions.

This stands true outside of a customer service environment, too. You can see things like customer sentiment shared on social networks, public review scores and aggregated opinions. This makes you more informed in the long run, and better suited to communicate with various parties about things happening in regards to your business and products.

We can all agree that better and more efficient communications, as a whole, are something every business should strive for.

Increased Competition and Stopping Power

Since Big Data offers predictive and practical business solutions and enables personal customer relationships, it isn’t hard to see why more entrepreneurs have decided to use the advancement of the technology to their advantage. Meaning that more people are entering business industries creating more competition. While it might have increased the number of competitors your business faces, Big Data is also what enables you to take on rivals and other brands directly by coming up with competing strategies. Imagine being in conflict and knowing all the right moves to dominate your opponents. Big Data makes that a possibility.

If you were to learn, for instance, that your competitor is launching a new product likely to steal attention for the foreseeable future, with predicted results you could better plan for that outcome. In addition, you can plan and develop combative strategies that will work to bring the market back in your favour. The beauty of this scenario — you don’t need to know what your rivals do or what they develop. The nature of predictive analytics means you can run simulations and find results using historical and current data. Essentially, it’s the use of past or present trends to discern how a situation or event will play out in the future.

Your Sales Team Needs Access to Big Data Platforms

In the end, it becomes rather obvious why sales teams and businesses need support from Big Data platforms to make an impact in the current landscape. Outside of changes in the market and industry, customers have also evolved over time. They now expect personalized, relevant experiences that are both efficient and responsive. The only possible way to deliver the kind of support people want —especially via mobile platforms — is by leveraging modern Big Data solutions and analytics tools.

Case in point, your sales team definitely needs access to a Big Data platform or toolset, if they don’t already have it.

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Nathan SykesNathan Sykes"Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, where he writes about the latest in technology and its effects on enterprise and society.
View all posts by Nathan Sykes