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5 Big Data Techniques for Small Business Data

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Buried inside your small business data could be all kinds of patterns and trends that can help you grow your sales and improve productivity. But until now, most small businesses did not have the ability to properly analyze their data.

As technology improves, small businesses can now leverage the same big data techniques previously only used by major corporations. Here are five ideas worth considering, and how they can benefit your business.

1. Improve Your Website

Use analytics tools to track information about your website. Analytics tools can tell you which pages have the most hits, where visitors spend most of their time and what information leads to the most sales. You can also see how people end up finding your website — whether they discovered you via social media, paid web ads, links to other websites or another route. This way, you can find the most cost-effective ways to increase traffic.

2. Track Leads

If you're tracking prospects through a customer relationship management (CRM) program, analyze your results to figure out sales trends. Software tools can help you identify high-quality prospects who are most likely to buy as well as estimate your upcoming sales based on historical data.

These helpful programs can also identify strengths and weaknesses in your sales process — like discovering the best time to reach prospects and your top performers. Set up one platform for your entire sales team so you can all benefit from the shared data.

3. Analyze Existing Customers

After you've sold to a customer once, it should be easier to offer them products and services in the future. But how do you know what to offer, and when?

Analyze information about your existing customers to figure out whether they are likely to sign up again, whether they are looking at your email offers (or website) and how often you should recontact them about offers. There are analytics tools that can even estimate a customer's future purchases with your business. This function can help maximize revenue from your existing customer base.

4. Predict Busy Cycles

Analytics tools can also help you find patterns in your sales and customer data. For example, as Inc. describes, a zoo in the Pacific Northwest was able to analyze its historical attendance records along with past weather patterns, thanks to a partnership with IBM and analytics firm BrightStar Partners. With this information, IBM was able to give a much more accurate prediction of how many people would attend the zoo based on the weather, so the zoo could adjust staffing depending on the forecast.

5. Improve Operations and Lower Costs

Finally, you could use big data to make your operations more efficient. Certain tools can analyze information about your suppliers, inventory levels and employee scheduling methods to look for ways to lower your expenses — like telling you the right time to stock up on certain products or whether you're paying too much for a supplier. Some platforms can also analyze information about your customers, sales and marketing. It's always useful to test software via a free trial to see if it's worth it.

Who knows what kinds of opportunities are waiting to be discovered in your small business data? By taking advantage of various cutting-edge programs and software, you can benefit from the latest analytics.