You’ve likely heard some version of the phrase big data is big business quite a lot recently. Despite all the buzz around it, Gartner reports that 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies will be incapable of gaining a competitive advantage through the use of big data this year. So, exactly what good is big data if even the blue chips haven’t got it figured out yet?

We’re going to try to answer that question today by looking into some of the specific ways big data can serve you, your customers, and your business.

Understand and refine the customer journey. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM it’s easy to design complex, multichannel campaigns that help personalize the buying process for your customers. By tracking and reporting on each customer’s journey from prospect to purchase, big data can help you see which stages of your campaign could use a bit of refinement. Maybe your email campaign conversion rates are declining. Maybe it’s been too long since your last webinar. Wherever the disconnect is, your data will help you find it.

Sense social sentiment to broaden your perspective. By the middle of next year, more than half of the world’s 7 billion inhabitants are expected to be online and 2 billion active social media accounts already exist, an increase of 222 million over last year. Each of those folks is sharing an opinion—many of them right now.

To gain any real insight into sentiment from a community that size, you need big data’s help. That’s why Microsoft Social Engagement was developed. Now you can visualize online sentiment by location, topic, author, and network.

Go beyond customer segmentation to create truly personal experiences. Customer segmentation is a great way to start every customer relationship out on the right foot. But as your relationships with your customers deepen, it’s important to let them know that you’ve been paying attention.

By tracking individual habits (like what, when, and how each customer likes to buy) and adding this information to the customer’s profile, Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help you use your data to further personalize the buying process. Product recommendations, for example, will no longer be based solely on demographics. Instead, each individual’s personality and purchase history help predict what a customer might like to purchase next

Merge market data and forecasts to create intelligent processes. The uses of big data aren’t limited to helping you better understand the customers and businesses of today. By detecting market trends and keeping abreast of what the experts believe the future holds, you can design processes to predict possible future problems, recommend preemptive solutions, and help you address issues when they crop up. By allowing you to shift your automated processes from making rule-based decisions to reactive, data driven ones, Microsoft Dynamics and the Microsoft Cloud can help keep you out of harm’s way.

These are just a few examples of how big data can help you refine the way you do business. To read more about how Microsoft Dynamics CRM and big data can empower your social media presence, check out our e-book: Social is for Closers

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