How BI Can Help with Your CRM Data Analysis and Grow Your Sales

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    Making tough business decisions isn’t always easy, but it helps to have the correct data to validate each move you make. Two valuable data sources are your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and BI (Business Intelligence).     

    By connecting your CRM data to your business intelligence platform, you will be able to:

    1. Analyze data to make more informed business decisions.
    2. Improve customer relationships.
    3. Increase your revenue.

    You can use these two tools independently, and many businesses do.

    A CRM provides you with data that helps you keep track of customer relationships but lacks insight into developing trends. BI helps you keep track of customer trends by analyzing data effectively and collecting data from several sources such as your marketing, invoicing, or customer service systems

    Using these two tools together will help you overcome those limitations. Combining your CRM and BI data can give you insights into customer portfolios and help you run more targeted marketing campaigns. The insights you get can lead to you developing strategies that boost sales and conversions. 

    However, integrating BI and CRM needs to be treated with careful consideration. You’ll learn how to do that in this article. You’ll also learn essential tips on how to get the best results out of their combined usage. 

    Impact of business intelligence on marketing and sales

    Business Intelligence tools crunch the numbers that Customer Relationship Management software pulls in. BI tools enhance your CRM software so you can turn raw data into something you can use to improve your business.  The use of BI tools has increased dramatically over the past few years. Between 2016 and 2018, the use of BI tools by businesses doubled. By 2018, 90% of marketing teams were using BI tools to carry out their work.

    One example of a company that used BI tools to its advantage is HelloFresh, a subscription-model meal service based in Germany. HelloFresh delivers fresh meal ingredients to customers’ homes.

    After realizing they had outgrown their existing model (due to the slowness of analyzing data), they decided to branch out into a centralized BI solution to improve efficiency and ultimately boost conversion rates. The first thing they noticed was how much time they saved on data analysis. Just take a look at this quote from Nuno Simaria, HelloFresh Chief Technology Officer:

    “The biggest advantage of our BI tool is how quickly we can process data compared to before. It used to take nine hours to process two weeks of data. Now it takes 20 minutes… With BI, we get results quickly and can assess and iterate in minutes. We get more valuable business insights and can act on them quickly.”

    HelloFresh was also able to create specific buyer personas to boost their marketing performance. These buyer personas gave them access to real-time data that they could track and act upon, ultimately leading to a more significant customer retention rate and increased conversions. 

    The example shows just how powerful BI tools can be to your business. They are critical to sales enablement because they help sales and marketing teams build stronger relationships with both potential and existing customers. Stronger relationships, in turn, will help these prospects move seamlessly from one step of the marketing funnel to the next.

    5 Tips for a Smarter Customer Strategy Using CRM and BI

    Now that you have a clearer understanding of BI’s impact on your business, let’s look at how to integrate it with your CRM software solution.

    We’ll start by laying the groundwork. 

    1. Understand Customers and their Experience

    In business, understanding customers is the key to success. When you understand your customers, you can craft strategies tailored to their interests and needs that generate results. Those strategies include your CRM strategy.

    Let me give you an example. If a significant portion of your customer base is millennials, you should know they’re typically active on social media. To be more effective, then, you should have a social CRM strategy in place.

    Your social CRM strategy should help you understand who your customers are and how they find your company. You need to understand how they interact with your company as well. That involves tracking interactions across different marketing channels. It also involves analyzing the sales process.

    For example:

    • Do higher value customers get a different experience than those who give lower value?
    • Are there roadblocks to interactions with customers? If there are, what are these?
    • How do you do your tag reporting?

    You can use the data you gather from your CRM to answer these questions. You can then determine how your BI tools can help you fill in the information gaps.

    2. Select the best BI tool

    Once you’ve reviewed how your current system works, you need to choose the best BI tool.

    Here are several criteria for selecting a BI tool you should consider. The main thing is to ensure that the tool you select is compatible and integrates with your current CRM system. 

    The best BI tool should present your data in a format that is easy to understand. Providing data in a form that is easy to understand will help your team with data analysis.

    Using relevant data to underpin your business decisions will help you grow faster. Studies have shown several benefits that data can have on your business. These include:

    • Data-driven businesses are 23 times more likely to attract new customers
    • Data-driven businesses are six times more likely to retain customers

    Essentially, you’re looking to improve the inner workings of your business based on your new data insights. If the data guides you, you should make informed decisions that lead to higher sales and excellent conversion rates.

    You don’t need to commit to the first tool you encounter. Most online software options offer a free trial. Make use of that opportunity to test your software. Don’t be afraid to try several tools out first before committing to one. 

    3. Perform a data triage

    A BI tool will inundate your business with a load of data at first. Once you have an accurate vision of your business objectives, you can focus on the most valuable data areas.

    You can do this by exporting a smaller volume of metrics to your BI tool’s charting and data visualization features. The example below clearly sets out the metrics that this particular business values the most. These metrics will entirely depend on each business, so you need to discover what’s most important.

    You’ll first need to give each data source a proper test due to its initial unstructured status. Once you have thoroughly tested the metrics you need, the result should be accurate and relevant data that works harmoniously with your CRM data analysis.

    As many as 63% of businesses do not have a system to triage their data effectively, leading to wasted time, effort, and money. Only through an efficient triage system can you filter out the useless data and be left with something that will bring value to your business and ultimately lead to a growth in sales. 

    4. Design a business plan based on your insights 

    Once you’re comfortable with how your BI tool operates and all the necessary testing has been completed, you should be ready to move forward with a business plan based on what you learned.

    For instance, you might want to reorganize workflows after you find out customers don’t get quick responses from your brand. Or you might want to overhaul an entire customer interaction procedure because it just doesn’t generate the results you want.

    Using BI to enhance your CRM data analysis with custom metrics and interactive dashboards should allow your business to collaborate more effectively. They should also help you make decisions more quickly, thanks to the weight of real-time metrics and purposeful data. Your customer experience should be far better than before, directly leading to more significant sales.

    5. Undertake periodic strategy audits

    Even if you already have a data-driven strategy in place, you still have to be on the lookout for issues that may arise. 

    By undertaking period strategy audits, you can measure how close you are to your CRM goals and identify issues that need resolving. That will allow you to make the necessary adjustments to your CRM strategy.

    Your audit should cover the following:

    • Data assessment: Check the data quality. Also, does it support compliance with regulatory requirements? For example, under the General Data Protection Regulation, organizations need to ensure that data is gathered legally and under strict conditions. Organizations that collect the data should also protect the data from misuse. The GDPR applies to companies based in all European Union member-states and to those that offer products and services to customers in the EU.   
    • Gaps: What doesn’t the integrated system do? 
    • Employee satisfaction: Are employees happy with the new system? Interview your employees to gain a better understanding of how they feel. Surveys can also reinforce your interviews and can help you get honest opinions. Shadowing employees, meanwhile, can give you an idea of whether or not they know how to use the new system.
    • Results: What’s the impact of the new system on customer churn, for example? What’s the average time to close a lead?

    The data that your business now has access to, combining your BI tools and CRM data analysis, puts you in a strong position. The insights gained from your new integration process will help you make more informed business decisions. 


    Now that you have learned the benefits of how BI tools can help with your CRM data analysis, you can put your plan into action and look forward to seeing growth in sales. 

    Having a clearer picture of your figures makes life easier for everyone involved in your business. Digesting your CRM data and transforming it into actionable insights signifies a significant step forward in the lifecycle of your business.    

    We wish you luck with the future of growing your business.

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    About the author

    David Campbell is a digital marketing specialist at Ramp Ventures. He helps manage the content marketing team at Right Inbox. When he’s not working, he enjoys traveling and trying to learn Spanish.