Customer Journey

How big data can be used to improve your online sales strategy

Written by Tony Loxton
Aug 5

Hop onto any marketing blog, Twitter feed or website and you’re likely to stumble across the phrase ‘big data’ within a matter of minutes. There’s a solid reason behind the fervent use of a term that up until a couple of years ago, didn’t exist: big data presents infinite possibilities for businesses everywhere.

That said, big data in its crudest form, so to speak, that consists of numbers and stats and pie charts and visual representations is only powerful when put to work. Big data may gift you with the kind of insights into your customers that was impossible pre-internet, but using this information to amplify your operations calls for some input on your part too. That’s all well and good, you may think, but how exactly do I use big data to improve my online sales strategy? The answer to this questions isn’t a simple one, but I’ll give it a shot: by collecting the right kind of information, and then using it to create a sales strategy that’s specifically targeted to the various segments of your target market, in the form of personas.

Defined by inbound marketing company HubSpot, “personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your real and potential customers.” In short, personas serve to help you better understand your customers – the first, and arguably most crucial step towards providing them with a relevant, valuable offering, and ultimately, garnering ROI. If you’re still of the opinion that personas are just another flash-in-the-pan marketing gimmick, consider this stat from Boardview: “71% of companies who exceed revenue and lead goals have documented personas.”

The reason buyer personas are so powerful is because they enable you to strategically target the customers who matter.

In a market that consists of ad-weary consumers, who’re short on time and have little patience for sales spiels, making use of personas allows you to essentially speak directly to the people you want to connect with. Why? Because if you know how someone is spending their time online, their interests, buying power and myriad other defining factors, you’re far better equipped to create a sales strategy that caters directly to their needs and interests. This, as opposed to the sales strategies of yesteryear, which used to work (albeit ineffectively), but now fall on proverbial deaf ears as consumers switch off when presented with anything that smells – even vaguely – of a sales pitch. On the flip side, sales strategies that are built on accurate data about your customers are far more effective because of the fact.

The good news is, you’re already sitting on the kind of data that can take your online sales strategy from meh to marvelous.

Getting the most out of big data requires an approach that favours quality over quantity. Think of the persona development phase as you would assembling a puzzle – but without the picture on the front. Begin by building the foundation: you know that the end product is in the shape of a square, so start with the basics. These consist of demographic data including the age, ethnicity, gender, vocation, buying power, and family and marital status. Using data gleaned from past purchases online, you may be able to determine that a large portion of your market consists of men, aged between 35 – 40, who are based in urban centres. Now to zoom in on the data that makes this persona unique. This is where you need to collect additional data that you may not yet be privy to. (An online survey in return for a discount, social media listening software and website activity tools can all come in handy here.)

Identifying trends about your target market (via your sales records, for example), will further help you to paint a crystal clear picture of the personas you need to target.

Once you’ve started to gather this type of defining data, you’ll start to uncover some trends, like the fact that this persona typically uses Twitter to get their news, tends to buy family-orientated products, follows surfing-related brands and companies on Facebook. This is the kind of big data that transforms a vague-ish idea of a persona into an in-depth representation. The majority of businesses have more than one persona: for example, if you’re a high-end jewellery retailer, your personas probably include an affluent, stressed-out husband who tends to buy his wife a gift to make up for the fact that he’s never at home, a high-earning young professional woman who celebrates her success with rewards of the sparkly variety, and tourists who tend to buy your products in large quantities as they’re considerably cheaper than in their native country. While each persona is important, they all have different requirements from your brand. The great thing is, you now know the best way to fulfill their unique needs.

As marketing becomes increasingly data-driven, and as a result, more targeted, you can’t afford to rely on vague guesstimates of who your customers are.

Instead, you need to equip yourself with the right kind of tools to put this big data to use. One of the best things about the rapid pace at which technology continues to evolve is that it’s easier than ever to collect and analyse big data. Blix Traffic enables you to pinpoint the number of website visitors who converted into leads, and then those who went on to become customers. This data is invaluable when building out personas, helping you to create a targeted sales strategy that’s based on accurate data, as opposed to guesswork.

Make sure you know exactly who your customers are. Find out more about Blix Traffic today.

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