Lost value: 3 ways to unlock the hidden intelligence in CRM data

Andy McDonald, CEO, Cloudapps, reveals three strategies that will unlock the hidden insights in CRM data needed to transform sales activities and grow revenues.
Andy McDonald, CEO, Cloudapps, reveals three strategies that will unlock the hidden insights in CRM data needed to transform sales activities and grow revenues.

It has long been known that understanding – and adapting to – your customers’ behaviors and preferences are central to sales success. The right level of accurate and appropriate data is key to gaining valuable, precise customer insights, and organizations that do not have this are likely missing out on crucial sales intelligence. Having a CRM system is not enough. 

1. Get more from the data you have

Have you ever wondered what useful data could be sat, underutilized, within your CRM system? 

Often, the data we’re collecting has an additional layer of useful, hidden information within it that CRM systems just aren’t sophisticated enough to pick up on. Fortunately, complementary technologies are available that can help gather and make sense of this kind of intelligence for maximum effect.

For example, asking whether there is a relevance to when an activity happened, data was input, or a behavior was recorded could offer new insight into sales funnel activity. This is valuable information that a CRM would often discard.

Likewise, identifying how many times the close date was pushed out, whether a lead ‘converted’ within one day, or when in the process a competitor was identified, could all provide a fresh perspective on how and when customers are truly converting. 

2. Collect more data

When businesses are struggling with incomplete data or they simply don’t have enough, the two obvious solutions are to collect more internally or purchase it. 

Suppliers can add a level of data that supplements what businesses have already, helping to fill in the gaps and generate greater insight. Buying leads, in-depth company intelligence, or analytics will improve customer understanding and cut the time spent on lengthy sales research in-house. 

More challenging, however, is gathering the behavioral data that fuels the most valuable insights about your customers in relation to your business. Sales professionals are a competitive bunch, so using league tables, rewards, competitions and gamification techniques within your CRM can encourage them to input a wealth of useful data specific to the organization and therefore invaluable for sales acceleration.

3. Use deep-learning AI

Most machine learning AI-based software solutions that offer opportunities to gain greater insights into your CRM data require at least two years of good quality data and are typically underpinned by pre-programmed assumptions, which can restrict the level of insight gained. For many organizations, this level of data is not available, and a more sophisticated form of artificial intelligence is needed to open up a new lane of insight that can inform sales activities.

One of the greatest benefits of deep-learning AI is that it doesn’t need huge volumes of data to achieve meaningful results. There are no preconceived ideas about which factors might be influencing sales. Instead, a pre-analysis of the data highlights where gaps may exist or misleading information may lie (such as sales teams adding their close dates at the end of the quarter if unsure when their opportunities will close). 

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The technology uses its own judgement to pinpoint factors having the biggest influence on sales, bringing a level of intelligence that can reveal some surprising, yet fact-based, actionable insights. The more data that is supplied, the more it can learn – giving an even greater level of accuracy and identifying correlations that humans could simply never achieve. It’s the nirvana of true data comprehension, and the best way to unlock the hidden gems within CRM.

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Andy McDonald

Andy McDonald is the CEO of Cloudapps

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