Big Data's Impact On Sales And Marketing

Luisa Ruppert

Big-Data-for-Sales-and-MarketingSales and Marketing teams all over the globe are very challenged in today’s world.

2012 CSO Insights survey found that nearly 82% of participating executives feel that their sales team is challenged by the amount of data available and the amount of time needed for researching before making contact with prospects.

And even more worrying are the 88% that are stating that they have missed opportunities due to not being able to leverage external, internal and social information available.

Defining Big Data

These vast amounts of data available from all sorts of different sources have been given the term ‘Big Data’. Adrian Simpson of SAP describes Big Data using the terminology ‘extreme data’ and explains it with three ‘v’s:

  • Volume of data, the large amount of data being stored in data warehouses
  • Velocity of data, where the data is coming from
  • Variety of data, structured and unstructured data
  • Timo Elliott adds a fourth ‘v’: Validity, which stands for data quality and integration connected to collaborate data governance which he says as equally important.

The survey discovered that 71% of businesses expect big data to have a significant impact on sales, while only 16% have big data strategies in place to improve their sales revenue stream. While around 80% stated to have implemented a CRM system, only 35% of the participants have implemented technology to support their sales teams with internal and external social information.

Impact of Big Data for Sales

As you can read in a Lattice Engines press release, sales teams leverage information from as many as 15 external and internal data resources such as search engines, social media (mainly Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and CRM systems to collect valuable information about customers and prospects. This shows that big data possesses a great potential for sales and businesses to concentrate the effort to cope with the overload of information. Big data still seems to be a curse for many that are unable to manage and leverage it in a valuable manner. Examples of how sales could benefit from big data include gaining better insight into which customers to target and which offers are most suitable and interesting for them.

McKinsey Global Institute study about big data confirmed the good news that large amounts of data are being “captured, stored, analyzed, and aggregated” explicitly to serve the sales revenue stream. However the CSO report proposes that 80% of sales employees feel that their CRM system is not effective in collecting external data and 40% say that about internal data sources. Overall, a staggering 90% trust in big data being the solution that brings time saving and a sales increase. Big data analytics provide real-time information that enables the sales rep to contact the right client at the exact time they are researching for new products.

 Catch them at the right time when they are ready for it.

How to cope with Big Data

Traditional technology was not ready to cope with the social and data-intensive world that companies find themselves confronted with today. The common social integration with CRM systems provides a great opportunity to leverage social big data in sales to increase productivity and close more deals quicker. It is also essential for success to implement the right strategy for big data to create an effective ecosystem of people, processes and technology.

Check out this case study about how the airline industry leverages big data through social CRM and you can find some more examples how companies cope with big data, here.

Outlook into the world of Big Data

The increasing use of mobile devices will certainly cause an exponential growth of data being available through shared multimedia content, the evolution of the Internet of Things. It is hard to say where big data is going and how it will impact us in the future but it will certainly present a steady growing challenge for businesses to keep up as technology is improving.


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The Law Of Trust

Ted Coine


No matter the resume of a leader, we humans take turns leading and following – it’s built into the fabric of our ultra social human brains. Think of the hotshot vice president who is still the youngest child when she’s home with her family for the Holidays, or the tenured professor who sits in the pew like everyone else on Sunday morning and gives his minister his due respect when it’s his turn to lead. Or the colonel who commands an entire army base, but defers to generals when in their company.

Like everyone else, I also follow as a matter of course. I may have a tip or two to share on leadership in this blog, my keynotes, and my books, but there are dozens of situations in a typical week when I’m following, not leading. But what I’ve learned is there’s following for an hour here and there, and then there’s following a leader for a more meaningful, deeper commitment. When it comes to the latter, I’ve found these five rules – which together I call The Law of Trust – are absolutely indispensable. I hope you’ll find them helpful, too.

1. Is she a good person? This one’s a little vague, so I added the next one for clarity:

2. Will she be loyal to me, her follower? I’m talking mama bear loyalty, Liam Neeson in “Taken” loyalty; “Psycho Dad” loyalty. Will she put it all on the line if I need her to and if I’ve earned it?

3. Does she know what she’s doing? There are a lot of good and loyal people out there who just don’t have the know-how to get where they’d like to go. I won’t follow them until they’ve gained those skills.

4. Does she have the sense to adapt as needed? Leadership is all about changing course midstream, adjusting to a changing situation and finding – or making – a new way forward. Smart isn’t enough. Wise is also required to succeed as a leader. Or the two, I’ll take wisdom every time.

5. Is this worthy of my time and energy? Maybe you’re thinking I should have put this one first, but here’s why I didn’t: we humans are supremely apt at talking ourselves into some bad decisions if we want something badly enough. By looking at the worthiness of an endeavor only after checking the first four rules off, you’ll be more certain to give those first four rules all the weight they deserve.

Taken together, those five rules add up to one law: The Law of Trust. I use this law whenever I’m judging a leader to see if I should follow. But it’s entirely possible I’ve missed something – maybe something important. Will you let me know in the comments if I am? I don’t just write to teach. Much more importantly, blogging helps me learn from other leaders in the Switch and Shift community. Leaders like you!


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Content Marketing And E-Commerce Tops Digital Marketers Priority List For 2013

Steve Olenski

It would appear the content marketing bandwagon is still taking on fans as when asked to identify their biggest digital related priorities are for 2013, marketers selected content marketing – as well as conversion rate optimization (turning more web visitors into more web customers) – as their most pressing of needs.

The results are from a survey conducted by Econsultancy and in addition to the above results, also reveal some other telling figures.

Content Marketing And E Commerce Tops Digital Marketers Priority List For 2013 image Econsultancy Digital Marketers Top Priorities for 2013 Jan201315

You can see how content marketing and conversion rate optimization are at the head of the class. We all know that content marketing of course has become the new darling catchphrase of many marketers and rightly so. And mix in the fact that eCommerce sales in the U.S. are expected to reach $327 billion by 2016 according to Forrester and you can see why the need to convert so many website visitors to customers is so paramount.

But there are some other findings that as I mentioned, are telling.

First off, the fact that mobile optimization actually went down, albeit slightly, in terms of priorities. To be honest I find it more than disconcerting that the percentage is not significantly higher for mobile optimization or quite frankly, anything to do with mobile. Perhaps, as I wrote not long ago, mobile marketing  is indeed The Elephant In The Room For Marketers.

My colleague at ResponsysMichael Della Penna wrote in a recent piece for ClickZ that “There is little doubt that mobile marketing has become the dream channel for marketers.” Well perhaps for other marketers it’s more of a nightmare than a dream.

The next finding that caught my eye was the fact that brand building has decreased year-over-year from 2012 to 2013. Could this tie into my recent query Is Brand Loyalty Dying A Slow And Painful Death? Perhaps marketers realize that more and more consumers are mostly interested in cost and are forgoing brand loyalty?

The last of the findings from the above chart I want to make mention of is the low number associated with video marketing. Down nearly 50% from last year, I do not understand the apparent loss of interest or priority when it comes to video marketing. In fact the findings of the Econsultancy survey fly in the face of those I wrote about in When It Comes To Content Marketing, Seeing Is Believing where I made reference to another survey which revealed 95 percent of marketers believe visual content is very important for online marketing.

Actually I lied, there is one more finding that caught my eye and that is the what I consider to be dramatic decrease regarding social media analytics. Do you get the feeling that more and more marketers are throwing their collective hands up as if to say ‘We give up. We have no idea how to measure social media?’

What’s It All Mean?

Well not knowing exactly whom was surveyed – according the Econsultancy site it was “around 700 business respondents, mainly from Europe and North America” it’s hard to draw a definitive conclusion.

Were the 700 respondents from B2C, B2B, or both?

I don’t know but even without that knowledge I think you can still glean some high level conclusions, at least I think you can based on the findings of surveys I have seen and that is that a) content marketing remains very high on marketers’ lists and b) mobile marketing – despite the fact that’s a “dream channel” continues to confound and confuse many marketers.

Source: MarketingCharts.comEconsultancyContent Marketing And E Commerce Tops Digital Marketers Priority List For 2013 image


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Social Business And The Next Generation

Michael Brenner

Social Business and Gen YSo your company now has accounts on all the major social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Maybe you’re even posting to a Google+, Pinterest, Slideshare or YouTube.

These practices, however, are quickly becoming old school as we move beyond the age of social media and fully into the age of the Social Business.

This means using your social networking channels to meet the needs of a new breed of customer – the Net Generation.

What defines a Social Business?

According to a recent paper by the Tapscott Group that we sponsored here at SAP, a social business need to:

  • Align employee social networking with business objectives
  • Use social media as a platform for co-creation and collaboration
  • Treat transparency as a top priority
  • Enable real-time collaboration both within the enterprise and outside with customers and partners
  • Listen to customers and take action based on their opinions and needs

I think the last point is clearly the most important. As the next generation of business leaders, buyers and customers evolve, a social business will be mostly defined by its ability to be responsive to customer demands.

Today’s “digital natives” are well-informed consumers who can cut through the noise that plagues us all in this age of data explosion.

They subject products to intense scrutiny and research, deftly scouring customer reviews and ratings. They’re not afraid to share their opinions, and they expect to be taken seriously when they have a grievance.

Pithy, informative Facebook posts about your latest and greatest product won’t cut it in this kind of climate. Only businesses that can respond quickly and accurately to this “next generation” can expect to reap the rewards of social media.

Social networking in a corporate environment should now be a listening exercise rather than a post-a-day marathon. Gather information about what your customers are saying so you can accurately gauge sentiment and make the necessary interventions. This generation expects a dialogue, not a lecture.

Simply put, what you have to say to this emerging generation is less important than what their peers have to say. Your customers don’t care what a press release says about a product – they only care what other customers say about your product.

What’s more, marketers can respond to customers in real time and use social media as an advantage – to converse, respond and iterate.

The possibilities for success as a Social Business are endless – as long as you listen to what your customer are saying. This is creating a Social Business Imperative. What are you waiting for?

Let me know what you think in the comments below. And please follow along on TwitterLinkedInFacebook and Google+.

Photo Source


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Connect Emotionally, Decide Rationally [Video]

Daniel Newman

Connect Emotionally, Decide RationallyDo you know what your business has in common with every other business on the planet?

Here is a hint. It is you.

No, I’m not saying that you are part of every business on the planet, but what I am saying is that you and every other person in an organization are all human.

Simple enough right?

Ironically it is this commonality that makes our organizations so complex rather than so simple. Mostly because while we are all human, we are all very different. However, I am yet to meet a person that doesn’t seek emotional connection. To their family, friends, significant others AND their organizations. It is this emotional connection that drives us in our lives and careers.

So to succeed in leadership, we MUST connect emotionally. But we must also continue to make decisions rationally. To do both of these things is an art and a science that can make all the difference for your business.

Connect Emotionally

I think there has been a long standing “unwritten” rule that management needs to keep its distance from the people and its focus on the metrics. Well guess what? KPIs, Performance Reviews and Staff Meetings do not drive results; People do. All of those metrics and events are merely mediums to monitor, analyze or discuss the process. And since execution is up to the people, we as leaders better figure out how to connect emotionally and here is why.

The emotional connection is how the members of an organization are able to internalize the vision and mission of the organization; those higher level objectives that drive the day-to-day. Employees, whether part of management or the “Rank-in-file” will give more to an organization where they feel connected. Most simply put, this is exactly the same as a persons contribution to any relationship. Think about what you are willing to give when you are emotionally connected vs. when you are not.

The challenge is when you connect emotionally, it becomes more difficult to see clearly when making business decisions. Especially decisions about those peoples in which you are connected. But this is key to successful leadership.

Decide Rationally

To make rational decisions it forces us as leaders to take all information into consideration. With the overload of information that we often face today it has become harder and harder to make even simple decisions. This “Analysis by Paralysis” is especially troublesome because organizations need to be decisive. You as the leader are no different. You have to decide and it cannot be driven by emotion.

This may seem counterintuitive to what I said above about connecting emotionally. Leading to questions like why wouldn’t I take my emotions into decision making. The bottom line is no matter how rational you think you are being, you will allow a certain amount of emotion to enter into your decision. That is what I call the “Emotional Threshold,” or the exact amount that should be used in making a call. The rest should be made using all of that data and analysis that you are doing to measure company results.

Balancing Emotional/Rational Leadership

To connect is human. Can we all agree with that? We need to accept the fact that people within organizations will aspire to connect and be inspired by that connection. Can we also agree that the emotional connection that we feel toward others blurs our vision? If we can agree on that then we can draw a soft line in the sand there and say that the rational leadership has to come into play when making important business decisions.

While the emotional and rational parts of our brain rarely work together in parallel, it is the ability to be human that will drive the best results from your people and the ability to be rational that will drive the best results for the organization.

In this short video we look into the link between emotional intelligence and rational decision making.


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