CRM and business intelligence integration

CRM and business intelligence integration

Business intelligence (abbreviated as BI) related to relationships with customers helps to clearly view relevant company data, understand business processes and context. It is a so called management information system which mainly serves as a support tool for making right decisions.

How do BI systems work in practice?

Business intelligence data provide efficient history description, accurate explanation of current market position and long term future development models and forecasts. BI outputs are presented as charts or tables with complex overview of key performance indicators (KPI). Business intelligence dashboards usually consist of contingency tables and graphs.

How can business intelligence be utilized in Customer Relationship Management (CRM)? All evaluations depend on data collection. Necessary data are collected not only from CRM system itself but also from enterprise systems (ERP) and other systems which support key processes. That means integration between CRM systems and business intelligence consists of two parts. The first part is data unification between CRM and other systems within business intelligence, the second part is CRM data evaluation.

Key data from each system are identified and connected inside a data warehouse. Data warehouse enables data real time processing by different analytical tools and methods which support tactical and strategic decision making.

How to evaluate data from CRM system?

CRM system control panels are designed for operational management, occasionally for tactical. Microsoft Dynamics CRM itself evaluates and transforms thousands of records into charts in order to provide management with a complex, but easy-to-read overview.

Evaluating large amounts of data by different criteria (dimensions) like supply points, marketing campaigns, sales teams or their members, customer segments, portfolio parts, offers and more is very demanding on computing power and data sources. Therefore, their evaluation requires special business intelligence technologies.

What did you wish to know about business?

CRM system supported by business intelligence reports can really help to regularly provide answers which even long business meetings cannot. 

  1. What are typical KPIs monitored in CRM systems from sales director’s point of view?
  2. Number of business cases and their corresponding amounts per customer interaction, customer value
  3. Number of customer interactions by time period (week, month, year)
  4. Time between first contact with potential customer and his addressing
  5. Duration of different sales cycle stages (divisible by products, different business processes, different markets and customer segments)
  6. Sales cycle duration (filtered by products, segments and other dimensions)
  7. Conversion ratios (between business process phases, by salesmen or other dimensions)
  8. Number of won business cases and their corresponding amounts compared to lost ones (can be filtered by salesmen, products, customer segments)
  9. Number of business cases and their corresponding amounts lost to the biggest competitors
  10. Total sales volume compared to former periods and business plan fulfillment
  11. Monitoring of repeated customer addressing, workflow, sending promised documents and other tasks

Clearly presented information for marketing

Which CRM dashboard information can help marketers?

  1. Planning and tracking marketing costs for separate campaigns
  2. Marketing plan fulfillment based on number of new leads, contacts and opportunities
  3. E-mail campaign quality feedback based on statistics of separate marketing process phases can provide information like newsletter unsubscription and other conversion ratios or conversely number of new registrations, seminar applications or other forms of expressed interest
  4. Time between addressing customer and his first reaction, number of interactions before passing customer to sales department
  5. Comparison between product cycle parameters across whole portfolio
  6. Tracking trends and marketing campaign impacts on social networks
  7. Cross-selling success per customer solvency or his measured satisfaction index

How to evaluate services?

Customer service evaluation also requires easy-to-understand information extracted from CRM data. Typically, users track number of complaints, questions and improvement tips needed for customer satisfaction index improvement. CRM can also offer evaluation of number and volume of reclamations or service worker’s time spent per customer. CRM also offers service worker efficiency evaluation per solved case count, average resolve time or number of cases solved within expected time limit. All presented reports can be filtered by dimensions – segments, products, salesmen, marketing channel sources, source campaigns or priority.

…more systems offer more

Business intelligence and CRM systems can also be used for evaluating efficiency of other systems which are used as data sources or third party systems integrated with CRM, for example web shops, B2B portals, websites, social networks, DMS and more. Using such integration users can track business processes, their key outputs and therefore conversion ratios throughout whole company. This provides much wider possibilities than CRM system data alone. However, it is always necessary to consider which information user really needs to see in order to make right decisions.