3 ways successful SMBs use data to grow

Big data can be a game changer, if you play it right. Thousands of successful SMBs all around Europe are already dipping their toe in the big data waters, getting a feel of its power and realising its vast benefits. From increasing sales to improving customer experience, better understanding market behaviours, streamlining services and selecting better suppliers, it’s all already happening for them, at the click of a mouse. But how do they do it?

In a recent study we looked at how thousands of successful SMBs in 20 European countries are pulling it off. The research helped us identify three main behavioural traits displayed by successful companies, optimistic about their financial growth.

Here are the insiders’ secret to big (data) growth.

Winning new customers is cited as the single biggest challenge SMBs expect to face over the next 12 months. SMB employees with insights in their back pockets are ready, and our survey showed that 63% of SMBs surveyed that are harnessing their data are engaging with new customers and winning business, compared to just 37% among those that aren’t.

SMBs surveyed find having data at their fingertips makes their organizations more agile and confident in managing their business in more effective, scalable and new ways.  SMB decision makers report that their biggest internal challenge is ensuring their teams have the right skills which could make or break business growth. Of the data-equipped businesses we surveyed, 57% use technology to help boost sales team productivity, versus 23% who don’t have a handle on it. Data science will play a key role in training staff for today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world.


70% of those equipped to manage data believe that digital technology has improved their ability to innovate, compared to 50% of those who aren’t using it to their advantage. Among some successful SMBs, data-generated insights are leading to entirely new, digital business models.

“Putting your data to use can give you a leg up on your competition. You’ll have real-time insights that allow you to adjust and adapt your business plan”

David Smith, Vice President, Worldwide SMB at Microsoft.


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