Big data is characterized by its velocity, its variety and its volume, meaning big data is a lot of data that comes in fast from many sources. While in the past large companies were the only ones with the resources and the money to maintain data infrastructures large enough to exploit the collection and use of this type of information, with today’s technologies, even small businesses can harness wealth and breadth of information with little expense and little effort. Big data isn’t just for big businesses anymore; educational opportunities, from big data certificates to PhD programs, have created more high value employees which makes it much more accessible within smaller firms. Let’s take a look at how your small company can capitalize on big data’s potential:
Use Social Media
Old school social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are great sources of information, but did you know that there are lots of other social media platforms that can connect you to consumers in unique ways? Kik and SoundCloud and Snapchat are just a few of the “newer” networking sites. They allow companies the chance to interface, track and collect information about the people they serve (or want to serve). When coupled with social listening tools (like HooteSuite and Google Analytics) that monitor key words and alert you to opportunities for additional consumer interaction, the value of social media is further compounded. Keeping abreast of the people talking about you, what they’re saying and why they’re saying it can give your small business the data it needs to drive engagement and assess, address and even forecast market behavior.
Track Your Sales Leads
Your sales team is another access point for big data. This is especially true when you provide them with a quality sales management system. With the right type of sales software, small businesses can easily track sales leads. Also, knowing who buys from you and the history of those relationships (including how each came to you) will enable you to generate more leads according to what works (and what doesn’t)! Basic software packages can quickly produce reports. These highlight lead origins so that you don’t have to manually keep track of each one yourself.
Find a Good CRM and/or Analytics Tool
Like a good sales management program, a good customer relationship management (CRM) tool can give you high-speed feedback about the touchpoints with your customers that are most significant. It’s a lot like having the answers to market research questions right on hand. And it doesn’t require you to spend a lot of money; there are many free CRM options. You do need to commit to keeping comprehensive and consistent records. This way, you can accurately pull the information you need when you need it later. But today’s software programs feature greater functionality, making good records management easier than ever.
The Bottom Line
Big data is often the catalyst for big change. This defines the meaningful facts and figures that lead businesses to actionable insight. This also increases sales, enhances customer experience, and generates an improved ROI. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a tool only the big boys use. Big data can help businesses of all sizes stay ahead of the competition.