Many small businesses pay a fortune in research, marketing and advertising costs, totally unaware that they have a gold mine of data just waiting to be plundered. Generating new leads, exploring new markets and targeting specific groups of consumers can all be vital to the growth and success of small businesses.
Most businesses however, go ahead and pay marketing companies a fortune to achieve these goals. However, mining your own data is the way of the future and can not only help small businesses to save money on outsourcing, but can also help to drive customer acquisitions, boost growth and identify gaps and opportunities in the market.
Collecting your data
If you haven’t already jumped on-board with CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) then it’s time that you explored the cloud based options. This type of software automatically captures and organises a wealth of information, including all of your customer’s contact details, lists of their purchases, dates of all communications, and any feedback that they have provided.
Most CRMs are accessed via the cloud and offer a free trial period. This gives you plenty of time to determine if a particular CRM suits your needs and integrates well with your other software products. Examples of popular CRMs include the following:
- Salesforce.com: Suitable for small, medium and large organisations with a focus on sales and support. You can manage customer accounts, track sales leads, and monitor marketing campaigns, as well as synchronise contacts, calendars, emails and tasks.
- Hubspot.com: With a real-time dashboard you can get up to the minute data on your entire sales funnel, log sales data automatically and see everything in one place. Easy to use for both sales and marketing teams.
- Zoho.com: With multi-channel support, you can reach customers on the phone, email, via live chat or through social media. Get real-time data on your customer’s activity, track their movements and find opportunities for engagement.
Another tip is that you want to select a CRM that integrates flawlessly with your other systems and that can be used easily by both your sales and marketing teams. This gives you a massive data base covering a huge amount of information that is ideal for helping your business grow and expand.
Once you have installed your CRM and mastered how to actually collect all of this data – what do you do with it? Well, one of the key steps is to explore your data, segmenting it into meaningful categories, so you can dig deep for leads and opportunities.
Data mining and implementing new strategies based on your data acquisition gives many small businesses a competitive edge, particularly in today’s highly competitive market place.
Protect again cyber attacks
With the new data breach legislation coming into force in February 2018, organisations and business will need to notify the Australian Information Commissioner of any cyber attacks. Without a doubt, adding new cloud based software is always a risk, which can be mitigated by a sound cyber security strategy.
With the clock ticking, and whether you utilise a CRM or not, it is a seriously good strategy to have a mature cyber security plan in place for your business. Without a rock solid cyber security strategy, the damage to your reputation if your customer’s private information is exposed, will likely be irreversible.
General Advice Warning
The information provided is to be regarded as general advice. Whilst we may have collected risk information, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this information. We recommend that you consider the suitability of this general advice, in respect of your objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should obtain and consider the relevant product disclosure statement before making any decision to purchase this financial product.