When working in a consultancy organisation like Avarea which focuses on customer intelligence and (big) data analytics it rather quickly starts to feel that everything is about analytics and big data – is it even possible to run business successfully without these? During the last years I´ve learned about numerous state of the art solutions implemented and/or invented by the early adapters – important fact is, that these have not only been fancy solutions but solutions with a great business value. Listening such success stories makes me feel that this must be a topic of interest for each and every company. Then on the other hand I meet lot of organisations where people are not keen to put “any” focus on analytics and they are still running a blooming business.
So, it is clearly not all about analytics and big data. Next question in mind is; where are we today, are companies taking actions in this domain or are we so called professionals just having our heads in the clouds?
We in Avarea decided to take some distance and find out how mid-sized Finnish B2C companies find big data analytics and are they taking the advantage out of it. Our approach to this was a phone research with a focus on customer analytics. Short-listed organisations were mid-sized companies operating in B2C business in Finland. Below you can find out how 68 sales and marketing directors responded to the first two high level questions.
Question 1. Do you utilize (big) data analytics in your sales process?
In my personal opinion surprisingly high share, 24 out of 68, answered YES. In many cases the comments revealed that the usage was still very limited and focused on one or two specific areas. It was also asked if analytics were used for other business development purposes in the organisation but there were only few who did. This tells us that the first steps in the big data analytics are usually taken in the sales and/or marketing department (or that the sales and marketing directors simply do not have any clue what is going on in the other parts of the organisation…J). Free comments included everything from positive, open-minded approaches to strict “no” combined with a statement for the power of intuition.
Question 2. Are you able to utilize your customer data for x-sell and upsell purposes?
Eleven respondents saw that they are able to do this efficiently or even very efficiently. Another 11 answered that they have limited possibilities for utilisation in place. The remaining 46 out of 68 stated that they do not take the advantage of existing customer data and data analytics for these purposes! Taken into the account that the short-listed companies for the survey are all operating on the B2C sector and are of a decent size I find this difficult to understand. To my understanding more or less all these companies should have plenty of data and information about their existing customers. This makes me wonder why to gather all the data into advanced business systems (CRM, e-commerce, ERP, etc.) if you take no actions for using it….
As I mentioned in the beginning I have had a ring side place to follow big data analytics cases from different industries and I´m convinced and half that the famous “low hanging fruits” really do exist. There might be me more fruits available for some businesses than others, but believe me that big data analytics will be an integrated part of the B2C sales in the near future. I strongly recommend everybody to start exploring the possibilities and finding the business cases, not only because your competitors have already started but also because it is a great journey!