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October 30, 2015

Combining CRM and BI for better results

Customer relationship management is managing your company’s approach and interaction with current and future customers. It often involves use of technology to organize, synchronize and automate marketing, sales, after sales support and technical support. On the other hand, Business Intelligence refers to using diverse software applications to analyze organization’s raw data. Business Intelligence spans many related activities such as online analytical processing, querying, data mining, and reporting. If you look closely at Customer Relationship Management and business intelligence they help businesses to achieve same ultimate goal that is informing customer relationships and business decisions using comprehensive data.

If your business has invested in both technologies and finding it hard to manage systems independently, you can try integrating them to get better results. Here are 9 integration steps to combine Customer Relationship Management and Business Intelligence.

Understand your CRM operations

You cannot start using business intelligence to get customer insights until you have clear picture of how to improve customer representation side. Before you delve into specifics of using the BI tool ask yourself few questions like

  • Are your employees using all CRM tools available for interactions?
  • Are they following best practices while using the CRM tools?
  • Is the customer support team properly staffed?
  • Are there any roadblocks or unnecessary steps in the customer exchange?
  • Do higher value customers receive a different experience?

When you find positive answer to all these questions, you will get a better understanding of complete customer relationship management process and you will be able to optimize them to provide your customers with best experience. Only after better understanding of the customer experience, you can think of layering business intelligence on top.

Understand your customers

To give good customer care, you must deliver promise made by your company. However, to deliver the best customer care, you need to understand customers so well, that you can anticipate their needs and exceed their expectations. To understand your customers well, you need to be attentive when they contact you or vice versa. Business intelligence can be put to best use when you know what information your business is looking for. You should know what information the CRM provides and up to what extent. You should also know what information and key metrics your BI tool will help you find. Today’s millennial generation offers wide range of information on social media platforms. You need to devise a good social media strategy to find more about your customer base.

Plan intelligently

BI is all about the using the information gathered intelligently. Having right data is important but you also need to know how you are going to use this information. You need to use the data to improve customer experience which is the main objective of combining CRM and BI. Don’t jump to integrate BI and CRM before you know how it fits in the existing setup including company’s infrastructure and other services. You need to ask yourself question such as Will the integration allows you to pull data from asset management or project management software to cross reference with customer data? Companies need to have clear roadmap on how BI insights will impact the business in terms of productivity and financial terms. You need to also determine how BI insights will affect the way the business runs.

Selecting the right BI tool

It is one of the important aspects that need to be considered. You need to compare between different BI tool versions, platforms and select the one that fits right into your business setup. You should go for BI tool that offers in-personal training and unlimited data sets and many more functionalities. Also ensure the BI tool integrates well with your CRM software either by application programming interface or by front end integration.

Perform some data triage.

A BI tool brings in flood of information. Before bringing in the BI tool, you need to examine existing operations and customers and then intelligently plan around using the data effectively to fulfill business objectives. One you implement Business intelligence you will be required to reduce Big Data into smaller lot that can be exported in the form of metrics that can be used for charting and data visualization purposes. Initially a lot of data will be unstructured. To reduce data redundancy you need to test the data source and ensure only accurate and consolidated data reaches the data warehouse.

Make some hard choices

Once the BI tool is deployed and it starts processing CRM data related to how your business works and how it interacts with customers, you need to make hard choices based on the BI tool output. A BI tool recognizes strengths and weaknesses in every type of customer interaction and presents the information in graphical format (in form of chart) or report. Business manager need to decide what to do with the data presented by BI tool. They will be required to reallocate resources, reorganize workflows, or completely overhaul the customer interaction procedure. You need to understand BI will only work for you if you listen to it.

Become data scientist

When you integrate BI tool and CRM, you will have every customer interaction and business information informed by Big Data and analyzed by BI tool. With data and analysis report in your hand, it’s time to test and make positive changes to the process. You can either make major or minor changes to your customer interaction or other aspects of the business. BI tool also allows businesses to track productivity, customer satisfaction, profits and other viable metrics like you are conducting a controlled experiment. The same strategy can be adopted during new product or service launch allowing you to measure success and profitability with BI data at each phase.

Streamline customer interactions

Integrating BI and CRM will give you richer profile of your customer. It will tell you what combination or platform your customer prefers such as inter-store interaction or online interactions. The social CRM data collected and the valuable insights can be used for customer base segmentation. The more well defined customer base your business has, the more effective marketing strategy can be developed to maintain, convert and monetize customer relationships.

Make your business smarter

Once you have successfully integrated CRM and BI tool, there is no limit on the innovative uses of data and how interlocking services can facilitate by integration of these tools. Customer support team can personalize interactions by using data provided by BI tool. Real time BI data can help improvise CRM response time. Customer service department can leverage BI data for predictive modeling and analysis and anticipate customer problems even before they occur.

If a business plan intelligent integration of CRM and BI tool, it can lead to dramatic improvement in customer interactions and experiences that are profitable and long-lasting.