Customer Data Management, Part 2: Best Practices to Gain Insight
In this brief three-part series, we share easy steps you can take to create a quality customer data management process that can provide comprehensive visibility into and across your business prospects and customers. You’ll discover how to convert data clutter and chaos into customer clarity to help you better understand and pinpoint opportunities and risks so you can securely, efficiently and effectively grow your business.
While the first installment offered best practices for improving and expanding upon your customer data management, this second article explores ways to gain actionable insights from your data.
Customer data management is critical to acquiring and retaining customers. Beyond gathering data on your customers and prospects, and ensuring its completeness and currentness, you can also use the data to better understand the characteristics and behaviors of your business customers and prospects.
Consider the supermarket loyalty card: By presenting this card when you check out at the supermarket, you are granted discounts on certain items. Also, get printed coupons that are relevant to what you buy, and the supermarket gets detailed information on your shopping habits. They know what you buy, when you shop and how much you spend. They know if you are brand-sensitive or simply buy whatever products are on sale.
Collecting and using this kind of information on consumers has historically been relatively straightforward. However, it becomes a little more challenging in the B2B marketplace. The B2B sales cycle is often longer and more complex, and decision makers change jobs and positions, making them harder to track. But B2B marketers can take a page out of the B2C marketing playbook with these best practices.
Know what data you need
Before you even start to arrange the data, determine what questions you want answered. This will indicate what data points need evaluation. Think about what you want to know about your customers and prospects, then decide what information needs to be collected.
Determine what data is most important
When looking at data for existing customers, you may find, for example, that 60 percent of the decision makers you sell to are Chief Financial Officers (CFO) or Controllers. Also, you may find that 76 percent of them are between the ages of 45 and 52. The importance of these data points depends on what you are selling. If selling financial accounting software, the prospect’s title may be more important; however, if selling golf clubs, the prospect’s age may be more important.
Let the data tell you about your customer. Don’t assume there are correlations between data points unless the data indicates such. If the data shows you that your best customers are CFOs of companies with 50–100 employees, don’t assume that CFOs of companies with 10,000 employees will be good candidates for the same product or solution.
Expand your customer and prospect base one metric at a time
Once you have arranged your data so that you have a current and complete overview of your best customer, consider what to do to expand your prospect pool. It may be best to focus on only one variable at a time. For instance, if you have found that the CFO of a 50 to 100-person company is your best customer, ask yourself what you need to do to sell to the CFO of a 10,000-person company. Perhaps you only need to consider a new marketing program, or perhaps you need to enhance your product or solution.
Customer data management provides key insights that can help expand your customer base, increase sales and grow your share of wallet. Collecting, arranging and linking the relevant data will help you get the most out of this process.
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