How combining Business Intelligence with marketing automation can help convert visitors into customers, keep them coming back, and grow your business.

Business evolves rapidly due to modern technology and digital marketing. More customers are ordering goods and services over the Internet, and digital wallets and online payment providers are becoming common alternatives to using credit and debit cards. PayPal, which is owned by eBay, processed more than $14 billion in mobile payments in 2013, and worldwide eCommerce sales totaled more than $1.2 trillion U.S. dollars in 2013.[1] In the United States, eCommerce sales are predicted to reach $500 billion by 2018.[2] The business opportunities these trends generate for your business are substantial, but building and managing a sophisticated eCommerce business requires increased marketing automation because you can't respond to each sign of a buyer's interest manually.

Marketers, CIOs and CEOs need to work differently to manage their businesses with automatic tools and cross-channel marketing. The right eCommerce platform can substantially increase your share of Internet sales by tapping the digital information that's stored in your databases or accessible from third-party resources and even your competitors. Smart software can mine data about prospective buyers, read their digital behavior patterns and orchestrate sending the right content, messages and offers to nurture customers along the sales funnel to ultimate sales conversions. The better your software, the higher your rates of conversion will be.

Turn Your Customers into Loyal Advocates and Repeat Buyers

The right eCommerce platform and best business practices can turn your business into a sales juggernaut that finds sales leads and converts them into loyal, long-term repeat customers. The key to success is marketing automation that unlocks the valuable business intelligence that's already in your database and uses the information to gain actionable analytics and deliver personalized marketing campaigns. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that eCommerce sales totaled $261 billion in 2013, and a big percentage of this income comes from automation.[3] Gartner Research predicts that customers will manage 85 percent of their business relationships without talking to a person by 2020.[4]

1. Formulating a BI Strategy

No business strategy works without a plan or blueprint, so your marketing automation software should provide the tools and resources necessary to adopt third-party applications, handle broad business and marketing processes, convey information to stakeholders and enable making better decisions. You can't measure your results or adjust your strategy if you don't have a distinct plan. Gathering intelligence from Business Intelligence (BI) sources should enable you to adapt quickly to changing conditions, identify the needs of customers and stakeholders, deliver personalized content and work within the framework of your CMS and/or ERP software. Your BI strategy consists of the determining the benchmarks that trigger automatic marketing processes, the conditions for generating alerts and reports to staff and when to augment the sales process with staff assistance or customer service.

2. Making Proactive Business Decisions

Your business needs to respond to opportunities and threats before they occur, and BI-gathering and software capabilities are critical for reducing latency and optimizing faster decisions. Setting up proactive notifications and alerts helps to provide timely and fresh information to all key stakeholders and decision-makers throughout an organization. A robust software system can ensure that all users view only the latest, synchronized data. Project and department managers can identify potential problems before they affect your customers. Both proactive and reactive decision-making has often lagged behind in many industries due to poor integration of basic business intelligence that doesn't reach the right people. Faster reaction times can provide key business benefits by responding to these conditions:

  • Changes in customer behavior
  • Evolving customer preferences
  • Market trends and conditions
  • Changes in company capabilities
  • Identifying new spending patterns
  • Regulatory changes

3. Integrating Data and BI Continuously

Enterprise data includes information and resources that support operating systems and data from BI sources such as proprietary databases, websites and third-party applications and resources. Your system needs to update and integrate this data continuously to enable predictive modeling, content curation, alerts and notifications. Steps might include removing obsolete information, cleansing data and validating metadata to ensure that the information is reliable or that a policy change is authorized. Automation software interprets data from various sources and disseminates the information to the appropriate data marts that are focused on specific business needs. The information might trigger a particular marketing message for the customer or a staff alert. The information is also sent to the dashboard, relevant reports and analytics operations. The steps of updating and integrating BI include:

  • Acquiring the data from its source
  • Identifying the information's relevance
  • Integrating the data with the right applications and performing any necessary calculations
  • Propagating the information to the right users and BI applications

4. Providing Integrated Customer Service Options at Optimal Times

Customer service is often a problem with automated marketing software because people get frustrated when they're dealing with impersonal machines. Clarabridge reports that by 2020, prioritizing customer service will overtake price and product as the number one concern of customers.[5] Further insights gathered from surveys show that 54 percent of customers share their bad experiences with five or more people. Your eCommerce platform needs to monitor multiple contact channels, alert staff when personal assistance is needed and integrate with social media where many consumers now expect to find customer service options for reputable companies.

5. Drilling into Reports for Actionable Insights

A robust eCommerce platform allows you to customize reports for actionable insights and market analyses. Forbes reports that 26 percent of CIOs and CFOs believe that big data and analytics are essential to growth, and 96 percent of companies admit that they could do more with data and analytics than they're currently doing.[6] If you want to do more with data, you need customizable reports and monitoring tools that you can adjust to identify opportunities and threats. You need to gather information from contact centers, help desks and multiple outside sources to develop insightful reports on trends, consumer behavior, market trends and internal efficiency. Real-time reports can provide statistics and performance indicators so that managers can schedule interactive voice responses, respond to changing business circumstances and monitor contact centers, affiliates, departments and branch offices.

6. Responding Quickly to Regulatory and Compliance Issues

Many of your business and marketing processes can function independently with the right automation tools, but regulatory requirements imposed by governmental authorities seriously disrupt the decision-making process. You need to get alerts when your BI identifies changes to restrictive conditions in your marketing triggers or any of hundreds of other situations where regulations come into play. This is particularly true for managing global marketing in foreign jurisdictions. Regulations might apply to some customers but not others, so you need a platform that can handle multiple conditions based on the customer’s country or state.

7. Designing Automated Email Campaigns

Automatic email campaigns can be triggered by events, behaviors or complex combinations of conditions, and intuitive marketing automation software can customize emails for thousands of scenarios. Email campaigns are cost-effective and productive. You can welcome new customers, thank clients for their orders, send a list of accessories for a product someone ordered or promote a sale, exclusive offer or social media campaign. Greet your best customers with a birthday greeting, or ask questions about new products. Versatile software provides everything you need to draft custom messages, track orders, analyze how each campaign is doing and prevent sending duplicate emails.

8. Developing a Lead-Management Process

Automation won't deliver the kind of results that you want unless you have a solid process for finding, qualifying, nurturing and managing leads. Your automation processes work with BI for lead routing, capturing leads at trigger points and supplying critical content at the right time. However, you'll never get from point A to points D, E, F and ultimate sales conversions without mapping the process. How are leads handled at each step, and when should your sales staff provide human assistance? Are leads channeled to multiple marketing campaigns, or should the highest quality leads be handled by senior staff? Mapping your lead process and delivering relevant data to the right channels can generate up to five times more revenue when you have a solid lead-management procedure in place. Capturing qualified leads effectively is one of the most challenging tasks of automation, and you need a strong eCommerce solution to provide the best leads. Your system should offer these features at a minimum:

  • Integrating your website, opt-in forms and newsletters to provide critical information
  • Giving customers an option to be contacted
  • Providing multiple, strong calls-to-action and routing them appropriately
  • Refining the lead-scoring process continuously based on feedback and analytics

9. Crafting and Customizing Your Messages and Content

Delivering personalized messages based on a prospect's behavior increases sales conversions dramatically. Intuitive software can respond to key signals such as website behavior, buying histories and what people do after they leave your website or landing pages. Employing an advanced eCommerce platform, you can customize messages, illustrations, graphics, offers, emails, newsletters and other curated content to find the best match based on parameters that you set. You can also trigger specific content based on analytics and what got the best results from similar prospects at a particular stage of the sales process. Software can edit the look and feel of opt-in forms, various types of content and illustration options. You can even customize the message for different media such as a landing page, newsletter, email or social media page. Advanced software can orchestrate all the details automatically and even identify each buyer's role in an organization for B2B sales.

10. Monitoring and Managing Production Flows

Regardless of whether you're selling manufactured products, services or SaaS applications, each sale could affect production, ordering, scheduling and other critical business decisions. Market changes could send your products into high demand or force major cutbacks in manufacturing, development or expansion plans. Using the right eCommerce platform helps you to adjust workflows and production schedules based on real-time orders or anticipated sales. Your platform needs to integrate seamlessly with third-party tools, SQL Scripts and multiple databases to mine the relevant information and deliver it to the appropriate decision-maker or departments. Actions might include anything from opening a help-desk ticket to changing production quotas.

How Clarity Can Help

Clarity understands the evolving nature of business and how important it is to keep up with the latest marketing trends and business practices. A suite of marketing automation tools delivers timely content to sales prospects and alerts your staff when human intervention is necessary. The platform is highly customizable for your business and is infinitely scalable for growth. You can integrate thousands of third-party resources and manage them from a centralized dashboard. Call or contact Clarity today for further information or a free quote or business consultation.



  • [1] Statista: Statistics and Market Data about E-commerce
  • [2] Internet Retailer: Charts & Data: Sales
  • [3] E-Stats 2013: Measuring the Electronic Economy
  • [4] The End of Sales as We Know It
  • [5] Clarabridge: 10 Powerful Customer Experience Stats for your 2015 Business Planning
  • [6] Forbes: KPMG Capital: Enterprises Struggling To Achieve Actionable Insights With Analytics


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