Maximizing Impact with Minimal Resources: Big Data for SMBs

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Could your business use a 15% increase in sales? According to the Georgia Small Business Development Center, that’s what organizations who leverage big-data analytics tools generate compared to those who don’t.

If you’re worried your SMB doesn’t have enough data to justify investing in big-data technologies, think again. A single one of your customers produces an average 146,880 MBs of data a day.

When you consider all the individual pieces of data that get generated from email exchanges, social media interactions, and internet searches, it’s easier to feel overwhelmed than see scarcity. The problem then becomes how to make sense of it all.

Big-data tools act like a decoder for these seemingly unrelated data points. And unlike mega corporations, small businesses are uniquely positioned to be able to take immediate action based on those narratives.

Big Data’s Impact on SMBs

Whether you want to generate leads or retain them as customers, big data can help – all while helping you be more strategic about how you spend your limited resources.

Analytics technology is designed to help businesses illuminate hidden patterns, forecast consumer trends, or see their operations from a new angle.

Most SMBs find these three initiatives to be the most high-impact, low-hanging fruit:

  • Develop more qualified leads.

    You’ve probably heard the saying “if everyone is your customer then no one is”. Big-data tools can be a big help when prospecting for the right potential customers. The more qualified a lead, the more likely they are to eventually convert into a sale. Once you know who you’re speaking to, you can create detailed buyer personas that guide your marketing initiatives and sales scripts.

  • Increase customer loyalty and retention.

    Imagine if you could analyze the buying behaviors of your clients. Knowing not just what they purchased, but when, in how many steps, and on what platform they found you could help you better tailor your marketing strategies, loyalty programs, and sales ops. The right program could even help you see how much it would cost to expand your market reach and acquire customers within a particular demographic.

  • Automate and scale manual workflows.

    Automated tasks reduce labor costs and free up your team to engage in higher value work like delighting your customers, strategizing for future growth, and making connections with stakeholders. These automations can also help you scale more quickly as your business expands.

Building a Big Data Strategy That Fits Your Business’ Needs

Creating a strategy to analyze the big-data trends impacting your SMB doesn’t need to be intimidating.

Using these four steps as a guide, you can create an individualized roadmap that accomplishes your goals and addresses your particular needs.

1. Research your options.

Have your budget, objectives, and goals identified ahead of time. This will help you eliminate tools that aren’t a fit and point you in the direction of the 2-3 top contenders that are.

2. Take a security-first approach.

If you’re going to be analyzing customer data, be sure your cybersecurity posture is strong enough to keep it safe. Any big-data technologies you work with need to be proactive in keeping your company network and proprietary information airtight.

3. Don’t rely solely on existing data.

The more accurate, well-organized datasets your tool can analyze, the more useful those insights will be. Once you’ve given some attention to your data management practices, seek out new avenues for collecting and updating information about your potential buyers and customers to drive sales and conversions.

4. Pick the right platform.

Request all the product demos you want, but make sure to come to them with thoughtful questions to help you reach an informed decision. One to consider: What built-in functions could help as my business grows and its needs evolve?


Using the Cloud to Harness Data + Other Big-Data Trends

Again, it’s not just collecting but managing your data that’s going to help your SMB succeed – tool or not.

The cloud is an intuitive place to begin that process. “Small businesses are well equipped to use public cloud resources at even higher rates than large businesses,” explains BizTech Magazine. “A Flexera report from last year found that 69 percent of small business workloads and 67 percent of small business data are expected to be on cloud platforms within the next 12 months.”

Beyond cloud computing, your SMB should also be on the lookout for advances in artificial intelligence/machine learning, automated streaming analytics, edge computing, and data processing from IoT devices.

Most companies may eventually want to invest in DataOps personnel to ensure they remain compliant with changing privacy laws, security threats, and technology updates.

Still not sure where to start? Pick one place where you can take immediate action. Even a little forward momentum is better than letting this opportunity pass you by.