How #BigData Can Transform Your #Sales

Big data, cloud computing, AI and machine learning are all popular buzzwords these days. Nearly everyone is talking about these technologies and how they can be leveraged to provide benefits to a variety of companies.

In a general sense, big data can absolutely transform your business operations for the better. It feeds into a concept you should know well, called business intelligence. Through the technology, an endless supply of information is generated about your business, employees, customers, products and impact on the world at large.

This data, when used appropriately, is the end-all be-all for achieving ultimate success and improving sales. Before that can happen, however, raw data coming in must be analyzed, processed and converted into a more usable format.

How Big Data Becomes Actionable

There are two types of data that a business has at its disposal, one of which is less useful. The first type is raw data, which comes unstructured and in its original form. The second type is processed or organized data that is actionable and ready for use.

A major difference between raw data and usable data is that the latter provides a great deal of insight into whatever process, party or component you are studying. A huge swath of customer performance data, before being processed, might show something more generalized and simple — people like a certain product best, for example. However, diving in closer and analyzing the trends or patterns within datasets can reveal so much more.

Suddenly, you understand who it is that likes said product, why and what they’re using it for. Also, you can break your audience down into niche segments to better understand what they’re after. It’s even possible to see how they react after receiving your products or services, and how that affects their future relations with your company.

Closer to the real world. Companies or teams that use quotas and sales targets to measure performance can benefit greatly from data analytics. Target-setting is not the same as forecasting, so it’s vital you get the numbers right. By looking at existing data, you can more accurately choose these goals, honing the process over time to find the best marketers or salespeople.

Of course, these are just a few examples. There’s a lot more you can learn from the right data. The point is just that customer data and insights can help you understand your audience better, allowing for more accurate and informed decision-making. It also leads to a greater opportunity for success.

Some of the enhancements data analytics offers include:

  • Segmented and accurate audience targeting
  • Location-based analytics that relate to a particular place or region
  • Dynamic pricing opportunities that take local events into account
  • A reduction in customer churn, boosting retention and loyalty
  • Enhanced customer relations through better understanding
  • New business and upsell opportunities
  • Guaranteed or successful marketing trends

Using Data to Unlock Opportunities

Spending on big data technologies had surpassed $57 billion by the end of 2017. By 2020, it is estimated that every person on Earth will generate 1.7 megabytes of data per second. That’s an insane amount of digital information being generated on a consistent basis.

It’s becoming more and more common for companies — across all industries — to leverage the kind of big data, cloud computing and AI platforms that offer huge returns in business intelligence. Digital information is constantly flowing, with or without your express attention. As people tap into local networks, apps, online experiences and digital platforms, these systems continue to collect a multitude of user data. It’s a byproduct of the digital age, and you can put all of it to use, provided you know how to understand it.

Since that information is already flowing, it’s equal parts easy and convenient to access and extract more insights from it — this is the ultimate goal of business intelligence.

How You Leverage the Data Is Crucial

It’s not about how much customer information and data you’re collecting, because today it will essentially be coming from everywhere. It’s especially helpful that people carry a smartphone on their person at all times, resulting in even more intel-gathering opportunities.

Instead, it’s all about how you process and leverage the data you have. You could be collecting huge swarms, but it’s not lucrative in the least if you don’t know how to put it to use. You’re just going to be wasting a lot of time and resources.

It’s not a question of whether or not data can transform industries, specifically modern business. It’s more the question of how. Learn to process and understand it efficiently and you’ll be well on your way to improved revenue and better customer experiences. Big data can — and will — transform sales in many ways, providing better opportunities for your employees and improved experiences for your customers.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

How To Use Content To Work Smarter with Sales?

Content marketing will change the way you manage your business, and there are many people who will want to use content in a variety of ways to make their company look better. Someone who is using content marketing in the right way can continually use different methods to make their business look great. Content marketing creates exposure, makes brand into household names, and saves a company money.

Nine Steps For The Best Content Marketing That Converts Sales

  1. Start A Blog

A blog is a good way for people to market their company because they can release information to the public with no trouble. You could respond to the public in these situations and will notice that people come by your blog to interact with you more than they could in other places. Blogs are a freeform way of writing, and they make the company must easier to work with.

  1. Hit the pain point

Yes, it is necessary to find the main concerning points of your target audience and develop content accordingly. Suppose if your company provides life insurance then you can create an article on the how responsible dads can keep their family safe.

  1. Use Facebook

Facebook is its own animal when you start doing any form of content marketing. Facebook actually allows you to purchase ads, and you could write articles that are posted to Facebook throughout the day. You might share releases of your new products, or you could link to videos and other things that you want your customers to see. Facebook is one of the more popular places for people to look for information, and people could comment on your posts. The Facebook Messenger is a unique customer service tool that you might use to give instant feedback to your customers.

  1. Use Twitter

Twitter is a place where you can post small bits of information with links. You might use Twitter because you like to be a little bit wittier than your competition, or you could have interactions with other companies on Twitter. You could use Twitter to give vital information to a large group of people, and there are many who will share your tweets throughout the day. You might announce releases on Twitter, or you could post information that would be helpful to your customers.

  1. Use YouTube

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YouTube is a place where you can post information in video or commercial form. You might create something that offers tips to your customers, or you could create videos that read like commercials. You might do interviews with people who work in your industry, and you could have a video made that explains how to use an upcoming product. You want people to be intrigued by what your company does, and you could put a face to the name of your company.

  1. Make A Playlist

The playlist that you create for your company could be something that you build through a company like Pandora or Spotify. There are news stations using these companies to make playlists for morning traffic, and you will find radio shows making playlists for their listeners to use as inspiration. People who write or work in the entertainment industry will make their own playlist, and you could make a playlist that people will use while using your service. You might make a playlist for when your customers use the tools you sell, or you could make a workout playlist if your company is in the fitness industry.

  1. Publish Only Your Best Stuff

You must publish only your best content so that your readers grow accustomed to seeing something wonderful. You will confuse people if you release information that is hard to understand, and they might be turned off if you write in an inconsistent style. Only release something that you know will turn the heads of your customers, and remember that you could hire someone to do this for you. You probably do not have the time to do this all by yourself, but you can hire someone to help.

  1. Be Consistent

Your company must post often so that you have a chance to reach people every day. You never know who will run across your blog or website, and you must have something fresh for them to enjoy. You might continue adding items to a playlist, or you could make a new video every day. You must give the public a reason to patronize your business, and you must compel them to keep up with you because of the way that you write, talk, or think.

  1. Create A Voice

You must create a voice for your company that is shown through these many channels. You must give your company a personality, and the personality that people see if what they will remember when it is time for them to buy something. You might have a voice that is funny or snarky, and it might be the thing that your customers love about your company. You might show your customers that you are working hard at being serious, and you could have a voice that changes to solemn during tragedies. You can show the world that you care, and you might use that voice to ask for donations to charity.

  1. Honourable Mention: Hire A Marketer

You must hire a marketer who will help you make the choices that are best for your company, and they might direct much of this effort for you. They know how to help you when you need something written, and they can show you how to create content. Anyone who is using content marketing could pay a small fee to have a marketer do much of this work for them. You might take over some of these tasks once the marketer has shown you what to do.

Conclusion

You can change the course of your business with content marketing, and you must be certain that you have chosen all the right avenues for marketing. You can deploy content marketing tactics every day that make your business stronger, and you will find that you can easily bring in more customers because they are intrigued by what it is you have to say. Make a video, be funny on Twitter, and spread around as much content as you can with a blog that is directed at customers.

eCommerce Metrics You’re not Looking at but Should be

Nowadays, there are various ecommerce stores available to online consumers. What’s more, there are countless new ecommerce businesses being opened each day. With such a strong competition on the market, it’s difficult for businesses to truly stand out and ensure that their target audience will pick their store to do business with. That’s why many ecommerce stores are tracking their business performance, in order to determine if their store is managing to grow and develop further.

After all, the primary goal of every ecommerce business is an increase in sales and for that you need customers. However, when tracking business metrics, a lot of ecommerce stores tend to track metrics that don’t portray business performance the right way. That way, when profits start to decline, business owners are unable to understand the reason behind such a decline. Therefore, here are a few ecommerce metrics you’re not looking at but should be.

Conversion rate

Many ecommerce businesses neglect conversion rate as a primary metric that should be tracked. The goal of this metric is to show you just how many people are actually converting into customers. With that in mind, you should have a clear picture about whether or not your marketing campaigns and other efforts are actually efficient in driving business goals. As you already know, the purpose of marketing is to engage your audience in different ways and eventually encourage them to make a purchase at your store.

If your marketing efforts aren’t able to do that, then you’re simply wasting time and resources on an ineffective marketing campaign. That’s why conversion rate is such a valuable metric to look at. If your conversion rates aren’t as good as you need them to be, then it’s time to re-think your approach and improve your marketing efforts.

Cart abandonment

Cart abandonment rate is a metric that many ecommerce businesses forget to track. Still, this is one of the most important metrics you should be looking at. As a matter of fact, cart abandonment rate has reached 75.6% for ecommerce stores globally. That’s 75% of lost sales. The main reason you must track this metric is that it shows you if there’s an outstanding issue your customers have with your check out process, which makes them abandon the cart altogether.

In most cases, these issues can be high shipment costs, additional fees customers weren’t aware of, lack of security measures on the check out and so on. All of these issues force your customers to abandon their purchases, which can have a significant negative impact on your sales and revenue. Tracking shopping cart abandonment metric allows you to identify the main issues your customers are having and fix those problems. That way, you can remind customers of abandoned shopping carts, as well as inform them that the issues have been resolved.

Website traffic

Another important metric that’s oftentimes neglected is the website traffic. Website traffic shows you how many visitors you have on your ecommerce store. It also shows how good your efforts are at driving leads to your website from various media channels. The more website traffic you have the more chances of you making a sale. However, the number of website visitors itself is not as important as the origin of the website traffic.

For instance, if you’re using services, such as a Shopify agency, to endorse your ecommerce store, you’d want to know how your website visitors are finding your store. Moreover, you want to know which sources the visitors are originating from. This will show you which marketing channels are best suited for your business. Understanding your website traffic will allow you to focus your efforts on strategies and channels that will yield more qualified leads for your ecommerce store.

Customer acquisition and lifetime value

For ecommerce stores, the one of the most important factors in business success is sales. However, there are expenses you must be aware of to ensure that you’re actually making a profit. For example, if a single customer made a purchase totaling of $200 at your store, it means you made a sale and revenue. But, if it cost a $300 on average to acquire a customer, then you haven’t really made any profits yet.

That’s why it’s important to track customer acquisition cost (CAC) and customer lifetime value (CLV) metrics. Customer acquisition cost shows how much it costs your company to acquire a single new customer, while customer lifetime value shows you how much revenue your ecommerce store generates from that customer during their entire lifetime as a customer. If your CAC is higher than CLV metric, you won’t be making many profits. That means you must work on customer retention strategies to ensure that customers are actually bringing in more value than it costs you to convince them to make a purchase.

There are plenty of metrics that businesses can track in order to assess the overall performance of their company. However, it’s difficult to decide which metric will actually show viable results. That being said, metrics that are most commonly overlooked by ecommerce stores often turn out to be the important ones. That’s why it’s important to understand which metric will actually bring value to your ecommerce store and track it regularly, in order to ensure business success.

Guest author, Raul Harman, is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com

Easy Business Growth Strategies to Follow Right Away

It is difficult to grow a business and requires considerable effort. You must begin by handling your own marketing, sales, corporate compliance, taxes and customer interactions. You can grow your business efficiently and quickly with the right perspective, hard work and a good growth strategy. The strategy you choose will impact your profits and the bottom line of your business. The value you build must be honest and help your customers. Your foundation should be based on genuine caring.

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The Sales Funnel

Building your sales funnel is the first step in growing your business. This will help your business become automated resulting in easy and fast growth. You will have to put in some work on the front end but once the process is established it leads to smooth sailing. You need to think about the different types of funnels such as high-ticket coaching and free shipping offers. To establish growth, you must have an automated selling machine for your business.

The Customer Management System

It is difficult to manually track your transactions and becomes harder as your business expands. The best solution is a customer management system. There are numerous types available depending on your business type. There is software based in the cloud, accounting software, sales and marketing software, etc. You need to figure out which software will best suit you needs and run with it.

The Competition

You must take the time to research your competition to assure your offer reaches your target audience. There are different platforms available but they all provide competitive intelligence. This is the way to see your competitor’s ad copy, landing pages and every stage of their funnel. You will reveal your competitor’s online strategy and their longest running ads. Emulating these ads will help scale your business. If the add was effective for your competitor, it will work for you as well.

The Loyalty Program

A good loyalty program will increase your sales. Acquiring a new customer is three times more expensive than selling an existing customer. It costs a lot of money to acquire new customers. You can retain customers with a customer loyalty program. You need to provide your customers with an attractive incentive. This can be anything from free shipping to buy one get the second product at fifty percent off to five-dollar coupons. You can also try to arrange different kinds of wellness programs like health tips seminars, informative session on ‘what is calisthenic’ and how to maintain health. These programs may increase their loyalty towards your brand as it shows that you care. When your loyalty program is accessible to your customers, your sales will soar.

The New Opportunities

When you analyze any new opportunities, it will help you understand the demographics for your business better. This includes your distribution channels, analyzing other industries with potential, foreign markets and your direct competitors. Your analysis will reveal dozens of opportunities with immediate potential.

The Email List

An email list is an excellent way to grow your business quickly. Once you have a lead magnet, an email list and a sales funnel, your customer base will begin to increase. You must provide a good incentive for consumers to subscribe to your email list. The more creative and unique you make your emails, the better the results. There are also excellent online tools available to help you manage your list efficiently.

The Strategic Partnerships

Forming a strategic partnership with the right business will make a big difference. This will enable you to reach a wide variety of customers much faster. It can be difficult to identify the right companies. Find the businesses that compliment what you do, make contact with them and propose a business venture beneficial to both companies.

The Franchise Model

If you already have a successful business but are looking for fast growth, considering franchises. A franchise model is complicated and will require significant research, expenses and marketing knowledge. This being said, this is an excellent opportunity to procure growth extremely quickly.

The Diversification

Your offers should be diversified. Your business should include any complimentary services or products appropriate for your customers. This will help expand your business and achieve growth. Look for any new opportunities available in your niche. You need to figure out what you can sell your clients to add extra value to their purchases.

The Passive Income

Passive income streams are incredibly beneficial if your margins are razor thin. This will enable you to make errors without losing everything. The ample resources provided by a passive income will help your business market excel and achieve growth more quickly.

The Business Acquisition

One of the best ways to grow your business quickly is to acquire other businesses. You need to look for businesses or competitors in industries that will compliment your business. These acquisitions can be used as a launching platform to scale your business at an increased rate of growth. Do not limit yourself to just looking inside your industry, look outside of it as well. You will find the potential for numerous opportunities.

International Expansion

You may be able to use your existing offers for international expansion. Your offers may scale well for Europe, Mexico or Canada. International expansion is an excellent opportunity if you have an offer capable of converting. There will be costs involved but the potential for future profits is astronomical.

The Webinar

A webinar is a great way to promote your services or products. This is also a way to establish fast business growth. A webinar will help you reach a large audience extremely quickly and is an automated selling tool for everything your business has to offer. A webinar will help captivate your audience and make sales automatically.

Conclusion

Growing a business takes a lot of hard work but the results are well worth the effort. Following the above tips will help ensure your hard work pays off. Remember your goals and celebrate every milestone.

The Art Of Selling Your Business

There is only one thing as satisfying and complicated as starting your very own business and that is selling your very own business and that’s because more to it than just dotting I’s and crossing T’s. Girl, we’re talking about the financial and emotional considerations that crop up during a sale.

The reason for this is simple: no one starts a company with the intention of selling it. You start a company to solve a problem you came across, to make a difference, improve your lot and do something cool. The idea to sell is one that comes out of nowhere, possibly because the market makes for that environment or because an outside offer landed on your door.

Whatever it is, though, there is a lot of planning that needs to take place, and that’s what we’re here to help with.

  1. Patience Is Key During A Sale

While most companies are sold to key employees because these people a) have a passion for the industry and b) know exactly how the business works, there is still a need for patience on your part. The reason we say this is because the length of time a sale takes hinges on who the buyer is. That said, whether it’s an internal buyer, a competitor in your area of a massive corporation wanting to take you on, the process always takes longer than people expect.

  1. Preparation Is The Secret Of Perfection

If you want to get the perfect deal, you need to be prepared and that means knowing the real value of your business. The best way to do this is to arm yourself with a legal expert, someone like Dickson Frohlich Law Firm, and multiple valuations depending on who the buyer is, the nature of the business, and the deal being proposed. The other thing that you will want to do os have all your financials at the ready, dating as far back as four years if needs be.

  1. Haggle With Your Responsibilities

One of the things the new owners will ask for is you be there to help shepherd your old employees into the new system. This is not uncommon, but it is worth negotiating what this request entails. That means the length of the commitment, what expectations they have for you and how this might affect your future plans. It’s also worth knowing what the ramifications of any refusal to do so are, of which the big hit will be the money offered as part of the deal.

  1. Know What Happens Next

Life after you sell is another huge area you need to look at. You will want to have some idea of what you do with your time, how you will spend your money and how you want your life to look. The reason for this is as much for your own sanity, as well as understanding whether a non-compete clause is something you are happy to sign. After all, this is a change of careers in a way.. The point is: do some analysis into life after the sale. It will help you out both personally and professionally.

5 Key Areas That You Should Always Look To Outsource

In business, everyone will always have their own way of doing things. Some prefer to micromanage, others want to take a step back, and some will prefer to only keep their toes in what’s going on. And whatever works out for each business the best, is often the greatest solution for them. However, from here, there’s also the great debate of working out where you sit when it comes to the idea of hiring in-house or outsourcing. Both options come with their ups and downs, but when you look at outsourcing, it’s hard not to be impressed by the benefits. Because when you outsource a certain function or area of the business, you’re going to save yourself time and money. And the best part is that you’ve got experts working on it, so you know that it’s going to be done properly. So let’s take a look at the five key areas you should consider outsourcing.

Customer Service

First of all, you have your customer service. And this is always the first thing to think about outsourcing. But we’re not just talking about sending it off to some company that can just take it off of your hands. Instead, you need a dedicated company that is going to be able to do a much better job than you can. Because keeping your customers happy should be at the core of everything that you do. So you need a service that will be able to talk to your customers from all angles and really ensure that their needs are met and queries are taken care of.

HR

When it comes to HR, there’s often a lot that you need to cover off. And it can be overwhelming. There are a lot of rules and regulations that you need to, and making mistakes is not something that any of us wants to do. But when you outsource to a specialist company, you don’t have to worry about it. You know that the team will be taking care of everything, keeping you legal, and ensure that your staff are looked after.

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IT

When you’re busy, you do not want to be dealing with computer issues. So this is where IT support comes in. By hiring the right support company, you don’t have to worry about downtime or having to deal with issues yourself. It will all be taken care of for you.

Finance

Next, you’ve got finance. And this one can be debatable, but unless you want to bring a full team in to take care of things, outsourcing your finance department could be what you need. After all, you need to keep your eye on the prize, so things need to be taken care of expertly.

Sales

And finally, you’ve also got your sales department too. If you know that you’re not great at making sales, and you really don’t have the time to take this on, then bringing in a specialist sales or business development company will not only save you time, but it will be in the best interest of your business.

Tips for a Successful Startup: The Importance of Market Analysis

Let’s be perfectly honest with each other. Market analysis is essential for any startup and while some newcomers to the world of startups may be skeptical of this claim, more experienced entrepreneurs testify to the significance of market analysis.

Research the competition

Once you step into the arena of entrepreneurs, you have to know who you’re dealing with. You are more likely to anticipate your competitors’ next move if you learn how to keep track of their actions. This gives you the leverage to go one step further. Digging deeper than just their web pages is always a good thing. Luckily, there are so many tracking tools which will reveal who, when, and where mentions your competition. In addition to this, some of them will simply pinpoint the trends in social media regarding your specific niche.

Customer insights

Obtaining valuable information straight from the horse’s mouth is crucial in this business. Tapping into your customer base will yield results because you will find out about their preferences and needs. Although you may think that your idea is likely to meet their demands, the analysis will show if you’re right or wrong.

You can see if your idea resonates with their needs by conducting paid surveys on specialized sites or simply creating questionnaires on social media. People tend to be rather honest in these surveys because they are usually done anonymously. And if you decide on conducting a survey, try to be concise and insightful with the questions because it is the only way to obtain relevant answers.

Is there a market for your idea?

This is possibly the biggest question. But how and where do you get the answer? Analyzing the numbers which indicate the revenues in the local, regional, and national market can help determine if people spend money on similar services. What’s more, you can see if the market is already saturated or it is growing at a fast pace. This is also a great moment to perform primary market research which comprises data that is exploratory or specific.  Exploratory research involves revealing previously unknown problems. As such, it procures general information to be used in more specific research.

Identifying lead users

Demand validation is likely to happen if you know how to generate the leads for your new product or service. The main reason all startups need to validate their idea before launching it is its relative instability. You may have a brilliant idea but it only exists as an educated guess in your mind. The reality is that it may flunk with customers before you even know it.

After you have identified your focus group, you have to turn them into your leads. This can be done through a unique selling proposition. The customers have a problem and through this value statement, you are offering a solution. At this stage of your market analysis, you can even try and offer your product free of charge.

The components of market analysis

To sum it up, a market analysis has to contain first and foremost a niche description. The industry you are starting in has to be thoroughly outlined. This includes metrics which will show the trends, scope, life cycle, and volatility of your target industry. This point is extremely important if you’re not a sole proprietor but looking for the ways of finding investors or taking bank loans. It shows that take your business idea seriously. Next comes your target market. Just because your product or service is used by almost anyone doesn’t have to mean everyone will buy it from you. This is why narrowing down your target market will show you where to direct your marketing efforts.

Then we come to direct vs. indirect competition. You have to learn and leverage the difference between those businesses that offer almost identical services as you and those who simply offer alternate solutions. And finally, forecasting. The projections of future trends in the industry are essential in order to determine how market share and pricing will evolve during a certain period and what trends they might assume in the future.

Whatever your idea is, never skip market analysis. Not only will it indicate the viability of your business but it will also help you prioritize some aspects of your business you deemed irrelevant.

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Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”