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Leveraging Data for Your Small Business

Leveraging Data.

Analytics—it's the hot button word of the 21st century.

In this day and age, you can’t even discuss business without someone throwing “big data” into the mix. And that’s not a bad thing. Today, businesses have more data than ever in their grasp, but it’s not the knowledge that’s important. It’s converting your data into action.

But how can you quantify your business if you don’t have the right tools?

Great question! And Bill.com is here to help. But first, in order to utilize data, you must understand it...

Big Data 101

Just because you’re a small business doesn’t mean you can’t utilize big data to track your success. As Business News Daily states:

“Big Data isn't just for big businesses with big budgets. Today, small business, too, can reap the benefits of the massive amounts of online and offline information to make wise, data-driven decisions to grow their businesses.”

Quantifying your business success will increasingly count on collecting, analyzing, and acting on data. The key is to look for high-impact data and use predictive analytics to make better decisions. Data comes in many forms, including purchase histories, social data, mobile usage, and customer demographics. Predictive analytics helps you use all data to make informed decisions about potential future trends.

But where do I start with collecting this data? That’s easy, utilize a free, user-friendly tool like Google Analytics or Mixpanel. Google Analytics is an effective way to monitor your website traffic. Giving insights into a myriad of marketing opportunities for your business. Mixpanel is a similar solution but offers even more robust learning, including engagement and customer retention.

Big Data and Automation

Automation is moving into every aspect of business, from client management to customer success. And those pesky back-office tasks? They’re automated too. Digitization is the future, and these cloud-based solutions are now getting in the analytics game. It’s not enough to provide a basic service anymore, they need to provide quantifiable insight.

But where should we start? There are tons of platforms out there. We get it, and that’s why we’ve compiled our top “big data”-friendly automated solutions.

Marketing

As we stated above, be sure to utilize an analytics tool to track your website efforts. For other areas of marketing, we suggest implementing a digital tool like Marketo. This type of tool will make it easy to segment your target market, automate email promotions, and track customers as they move through the marketing funnel. Looking for a social media solution? Sprout Social is a publishing platform that collects and reports quantitative data from your key social channels.

Customer Success

While customer relationship management (CRM) tools have been around since the mid-1990s, they still require lots of manual entry and record keeping. Analytics are helping to modernize client management so that customer support representatives can spend time actually  “supporting customers.” Our recommendation? Zendesk. A robust CRM platform which provides analytics that measures and understands the entire customer experience.

Human Resources

Today’s automation is also applicable in the HR sect. Implementing an applicant tracking system (ATS), like Jobvite, allows you to streamline recruiting and track analytics to improve the quality of your hires. Internally you can utilize an organizational development platform to keep your employees productive and satisfied. Check out Glint, a program that collects data to help improve the health of your organization.

Finance

Besides the benefit of automating time-consuming tasks, a digital finance solution can help provide great insight into your businesses’ profitability. For example, Bill.com has implemented a cash forecasting tool that provides data to help you get a clear overview of the total amount of money that’s being transferred in and out of your company. Making it simple for you to quantify your future finances.

Big data is not limited to big enterprise. With the rise of cloud computing, SMBs can now benefit from automation and most importantly—analytics.

March 13, 2017
Kris Irizawa
Sr. Manager Marketing Analytics, Bill.com
Kris has been working with data for 14 years. His experience includes data and web related projects in financial securities, consumer electronics, marketing agencies, and tech industries. Kris started his career as a BI analyst in Japan and is currently the Sr. Manager of Marketing Analytics at Bill.com.