Clarity on Customer AnalyticsAs modern marketers, we’ve all heard the promises of analytics technologies – goodbye guesswork, hello data-driven decision making – but how do we actually get there? In the realm of customer analytics, in particular, where the allure of deep, thorough, and relevant insights on customers makes the business case almost irresistible, what do you really need to know to be successful?

To give you a little more clarity on customer analytics for marketing, and for the business at large, we connected with Lynn Tsoflias, vice president of customer success at Insightly, for a quick Q&A session.

CMO Essentials: Aberdeen research shows that companies using customer engagement analytics grow their revenue year-over-year at a rate 184% higher than companies without customer analytics (10.5% vs. 3.7%). Clearly, there are empirical business benefits, but what do marketers need to do to ensure that they get such value from this technology?

Lynn Tsoflias: Obviously, just collecting customer analytics has no value if you don’t use the data. Understanding how your customers engage, which channels perform best, what content and campaigns are succeeding, and even the specific solutions/benefits/messages that resonate with your prospects is all valuable information that marketers can use to optimize and scale their acquisition and experience activities. Customer analytics data also informs user segmentation and personas, enabling marketers to optimize their marketing campaigns and products. For example, search engine marketing may bring in users who convert, but are they small businesses? Are they active users? Is the churn rate higher when compared to other prospects?

When considering the customer experience, it’s important to understand usage behavior to identify potential problem areas where more education or customer support is needed, and opportunities for other touch points throughout the customer journey. Similarly, marketers should assess what their power users do, which features they use most and where and how they might expand their use of a product or service. This information supports best practices for all users, which leads to more satisfied customers.

CMO Essentials: In your own marketing efforts, how has using customer analytics benefited your own organization, and were there any interesting or unexpected insights that you uncovered?

Lynn Tsoflias: At Insightly, we’re fortunate to have a data scientist on staff and several data analytics tools in place. We employ these resources to improve everything from customer acquisition to product development, all with the goal to enhance customer experience. Customer analytics data has a big impact on how we approach customer success. For instance, in a given week, we get about 5,000 new users, but to keep them, we need to understand how they’re using the product in those first weeks. This insight helps us identify the optimal time to reach out and provide an offer to help users apply the product in a way that gives them the most value. We’ve found that those customers are ultimately happier with the product, pay more and use the product longer.

CMO Essentials: Customer experience management research has shown that 53% of Best-in-Class firms have already achieved seamless integrations of customer data across enterprise systems. In your opinion, how important is sharing customer data across the enterprise, and how much to you think it will change businesses overall moving forward?

Lynn Tsoflias: Sharing info across the organization is important in order to create a customer experience that stands out from competitors. Most have experienced this scenario: you fill out a survey for a company, then you get a call from the same company asking for the same information. It’s maddening, right? Customers want to know that they are working with a company who knows their background and challenges so it can provide a service and solution that meets those needs. This is why it’s important to have a 360 degree view of your customer in order to provide the best experience. The companies that do this well will win more customers and nurture tremendous customer loyalty. The ones that don’t will likely not survive.

CMO Essentials: To end on a lighter note, if the values and elements inherent to customer analytics technology could be personified into a fictional character (from cartoons to classic novels, anything goes), who would that character be and why?

Lynn Tsoflias: Sherlock Holmes is a “consulting detective” and is known for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to adopt almost any disguise and his use of forensic science to solve difficult cases. Many customer analytical tools provide great info, and show trends and insights that help marketers develop a story of what customers are doing.

LynnTsoflias_InsightlyAbout Lynn: Lynn Tsoflias is the vice president of customer success at Insightly, a San Francisco-based company that provides a customer relationship management (CRM) and project management solution for small businesses. She serves as the voice of the customer and is responsible for managing the onboarding process for new customers and delivering the highest level of customer service and experience. Prior to Insightly, Tsoflias worked at ClearEdge Marketing, ArrowStream and Microsoft.