Business Analytics

Wednesdays With Will: Analyzing Business Analytics

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
As a Business Owner, Director, or Manager, you know that having insight into your business allows you to make the right decisions for it. Not many people realize that the use of analytics has been a part of business for over 100 years. Henry Ford is probably one of the best known of the early adopters. Even though the concept of business analytics has been around in one form or another over the past century there have been some challenges with its use. The most common stumbling block has been gathering and maintaining the integrity of data. By definition, analytics is the information that you are able to pull from data. If you are trying to build a house (analytics) you must make sure the building blocks (data) are not of poor quality or you will not achieve the desired result. Typically the other challenges are pulling meaningful information from the analytics as well as sharing that inform between separate departments. This week we’ll discuss how to overcome some of these obstacles in your business.
Over the last couple of months, we discussed how you can effectively enhance the capabilities of your Sales, Marketing, and Services teams by leveraging a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. There are many CRM systems out there but my posts were mainly focused on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I have used a few other CRM systems over the years such as ACT!, SalesLogix, and of course SalesForce. In the past few years, my preference has leaned towards Dynamics CRM because of its improved ease of use, functionality, and cost. Its tight integration with Office 365 and other Microsoft products doesn’t hurt either. For the sake of this article and to tie everything back to my previous articles Dynamics CRM will be our point of reference once again.
Of the myriad types of widely used systems in businesses today, a CRM is probably the most common technology used to gather customer information for analytics. Yes, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can fall under this category as well but that is a different story for a different day. A CRM system such as Dynamics CRM gives you a place to input pertinent information about your customers and prospective clients. This information is then easily searchable and accessible by your Marketing, Sales, and Services teams. Each team will have a slightly different use of the information. Let’s touch on some basic scenarios for each.
From a marketing perspective, analytics provide insight to the effectiveness of different types of communications. There is huge value in understanding how campaigns perform so that budget and time can be best spent. Dynamics CRM powered by Power BI also provides you a visualization of how campaigns are reacting as well as sentiment from a geographical standpoint. Knowing and understanding where potential or existing clients are can help you when crafting your messaging. Being aware of when a prospect has reached a certain level of engagement is key as well. There is a certain level of timing involved when Marketing hands a lead over to Sales for contact. Too early can scare the prospect away and too late may mean the lead is cold again and has to be sent through the nurture process once more.
Once the Sales Team starts their engagement with the client it’s important to understand the journey the lead went through to reach them. The reason this is essential is because it allows you to have greater insight to their need and urgency. This in turn leads to a higher success rate of providing a solution and gaining a new client. The analytics produced by Marketing can provide the Sales Team this information. Throughout the sales process the Sales Team can leverage the analytics in Dynamics CRM to track touch point to conversation rates, pipeline and opportunity stages, and wins/loses over designated periods of time. It basically helps you become a smarter salesperson. Even better, management now has a better understanding of what is working and what is not so they can provide assistance in making you more successful.
The final example I would like to discuss is for the Services Team. With all the time, effort, and money required to gain a new client your number one priority should be to retain them. This is where a high level of customer service becomes crucial. By leveraging analytics through Dynamics CRM, you are able to recognize trends from similar support case instances. This allows you the opportunity to devise a resolution that will prevent similar cases from occurring. The goal is to increase customer satisfaction so they not only remain your client but become your advocate.
Trends are showing there will be a sharp increase in business intelligence usage over the next few years and a CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM is going to be a big part of that. As always, I encourage you to reach out to me to discuss these topics in deeper detail. I hope you enjoyed and found this week’s article informative. If you’re interested in some how-to related CRM material, check out blogs by my colleague Ben Ward here. Till next time…

About the author:

Will has over 16 years of experience in business development, team management, and project management. Will has worked at Managed Solution for over four years and is currently advising businesses on best CRM practices and implementations. Will’s focus is on process improvement and analytics specializing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Will is a Microsoft Certified Professional, with certifications in Presales Technical Specialist – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Sales Specialist- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Application, Sales Specialist- Office 365, Sales Specialist- SMB Infrastructure and Sales Specialist- Datacenter.
Other articles by Will Marchesano:
For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.
As written on
Microsoft takes the title this year from longtime defending champion Analysts gave the company high marks in company direction (4.5). Ragsdale notes that "Microsoft is heavily investing in [its] CRM platform, adding sophistication across sales, marketing, and service, and as a result is seeing increased adoption by large enterprises." Wettemann singles out as strengths the "Parature service capabilities and knowledge base" as well as "integration with Office 365 and PowerBI," and Ament lauded the company's improved suite of integrated customer engagement products. Its software enables companies to reach customers "via multiple touch points and to do so with enterprise-wide intelligence, supported by Microsoft's Business Analytics platform (PowerBI and Azure Data Services)," Ament said via email.

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