December 15th, 2013 by Chance Coble

This blog isn’t for everyone. This is for businesses that regularly interact with customers and record those interactions in a CRM. This is for companies that have good pipeline management, disciplined sales team that document their activities and manage all of that between both marketing and sales in a CRM or other data tool. If you don’t have a solid database of your customers yet, get that before reading on. The first step to everything I write below is to have a solid data set on your customers that is clean, accurate and accessible. Plenty of tools like Salesforce, Zoho and SugarCRM all exist in the cloud and are easy to get started with.

If you have the data, a great way to increase your competitiveness is to have a superior understanding of your customers. To operate as a team with an optimized view of interacting with your customers based on the evidence of their past choices. Here are three things you can do to operate as an efficient team.

1. Statistically correlate traits of your prospects with expected revenue. Doing this will not only allow you to use a common evidence-based rank of your prospects, it will also reveal associations that may be unknown to your competition. That can accelerate your customer acquisition rate considerably.

Do people who hit your website with an apple device tend to spend more money? Does a certain level of management rarely get past the qualification stage? What about customer lifecycle and these traits? Answering these questions with the data, rather than intuition enables a collaborative and predictive approach to prospect and pipeline management.

This Christmas, your competition will be asking Santa for your customers' loyalty.

This Christmas, your competition will be asking Santa for your customers’ loyalty.

2. Target cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Use historical purchase information to identify associated purchases. Doing market basket analysis will identify products people tend to purchase together, and provide you with some basic idea’s for cross selling. In addition, more general association rule mining can give you deep insight into a customer or prospects affinity for additional engagements and what they would look like.

3. Use statistics to determine what products to sell them. This is classic sales targeting with a new technique. In this case you are using traits of the customer or prospect (just like in the first item in the list) to optimize what you are selling them. Obviously this tends to work better with organizations that have a large product catalog. Completing this will also allow you to do what-if scenario’s with the analysis performed in #1.

There are firms that help with this kind of management analysis through consulting and often tools. The prices are often prohibitive for small to medium sized businesses because of the tools selected, and the length of the consulting engagements. Blacklight Solutions focuses on the small to medium business market, and offers an elastic engagement solution for its software stack. The stack includes both business intelligence software for self-service report development, collaboration and mobile integration. It also includes data virtualization software that will make querying and reporting on your cloud based CRM simple for many report development tools. Your own internal databases can also be mixed into the stack and queried live using the virtualization technology.

Finally, Blacklight brings consultation and implementation expertise to analytics projects to efficiently execute and deliver value without waste.