Sales and Marketing teams all over the globe are very challenged in today’s world.
A 2012 CSO Insights survey found that nearly 82% of participating executives feel that their sales team is challenged by the amount of data available and the amount of time needed for researching before making contact with prospects.
And even more worrying are the 88% that are stating that they have missed opportunities due to not being able to leverage external, internal and social information available.
Defining Big Data
These vast amounts of data available from all sorts of different sources have been given the term ‘Big Data’. Adrian Simpson of SAP describes Big Data using the terminology ‘extreme data’ and explains it with three ‘v’s:
- Volume of data, the large amount of data being stored in data warehouses
- Velocity of data, where the data is coming from
- Variety of data, structured and unstructured data
- Timo Elliott adds a fourth ‘v’: Validity, which stands for data quality and integration connected to collaborate data governance which he says as equally important.
The survey discovered that 71% of businesses expect big data to have a significant impact on sales, while only 16% have big data strategies in place to improve their sales revenue stream. While around 80% stated to have implemented a CRM system, only 35% of the participants have implemented technology to support their sales teams with internal and external social information.
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Impact of Big Data for Sales
As you can read in a Lattice Engines press release, sales teams leverage information from as many as 15 external and internal data resources such as search engines, social media (mainly Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and CRM systems to collect valuable information about customers and prospects. This shows that big data possesses a great potential for sales and businesses to concentrate the effort to cope with the overload of information. Big data still seems to be a curse for many that are unable to manage and leverage it in a valuable manner. Examples of how sales could benefit from big data include gaining better insight into which customers to target and which offers are most suitable and interesting for them.
A McKinsey Global Institute study about big data confirmed the good news that large amounts of data are being “captured, stored, analyzed, and aggregated” explicitly to serve the sales revenue stream. However the CSO report proposes that 80% of sales employees feel that their CRM system is not effective in collecting external data and 40% say that about internal data sources. Overall, a staggering 90% trust in big data being the solution that brings time saving and a sales increase. Big data analytics provide real-time information that enables the sales rep to contact the right client at the exact time they are researching for new products.
Catch them at the right time when they are ready for it.
How to cope with Big Data
Traditional technology was not ready to cope with the social and data-intensive world that companies find themselves confronted with today. The common social integration with CRM systems provides a great opportunity to leverage social big data in sales to increase productivity and close more deals quicker. It is also essential for success to implement the right strategy for big data to create an effective ecosystem of people, processes and technology.
Outlook into the world of Big Data
The increasing use of mobile devices will certainly cause an exponential growth of data being available through shared multimedia content, the evolution of the Internet of Things. It is hard to say where big data is going and how it will impact us in the future but it will certainly present a steady growing challenge for businesses to keep up as technology is improving.