Reaching customers is all about appealing to their specific interests and needs. No one is disputing that fact nor the way to accomplish it.
Data about customer demographics and behaviors provides the insight companies require for better marketing and sales.
Using the data available to companies ensures customers are being effectively interpreted and served.
However, data is growing to such vast amounts, it has been classified as its own category of technology. Big Data, defined as the large volume of structured and unstructured data, greatly enhances corporate strategy.
The real trick is understanding how it plays a role in each individual’s responsibilities to the company. As industry comes to comprehend Big Data more fully, it becomes more crucial to integrate data into every aspect of business.
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Before establishing the exact function of data in each department, you must evaluate the types of data you are collecting or purchasing and settle on a solid foundation of alignment. The experts suggest completing the following to get your data strategy on track:
- Outline your key performance indicators to measure success against objectives.
- Centralize all data for easy segmentation and delivery.
- Design effective collaboration models.
- Determine the technology needed for assisting your efforts.
- Prioritize skill sets required for handling and implementing data resources.
- Document the governance for each use of data and what each role is responsible for.
These practices set your company up for successfully using data to improve personalization and clearly defining your employees’ duties.
A survey of marketers in 2015 revealed how marketers currently use and hope to use data in their efforts. Unsurprisingly, 73 percent hope to use it to better identify and target specific customers while 71 percent have achieved this metric. The most popular goal for data is to grow revenue, with 75 percent of marketers saying this is top priority. Despite this three-quarters majority, just over one third have actually done it.
The more marketers really pay attention to the types of data they are using, the more that number will grow. In a study about where marketers find their most essential data, physical stores were most important, with call center and face-to-face interactions coming in second and third respectively.
The company website was nearly at the bottom of the list with just 21 percent of data collected from the website contributing to success. The gap in collecting data, understanding it and putting it to use exists because of confusion surrounding what is substantially helpful and what is meaningless.
For marketing, demographics are incredibly important as are reactions to content. If a marketer knows that the target audience is C-suite executives with all the purchasing power and they enjoy reading whitepapers, that greatly influences the types of content to be produced.
On the other hand, if the ideal customer is a busy administrative professional who responds well to email campaigns, marketers should focus on appealing to lower level employees with engaging email subject lines.
The data that comes into play to make these determinations is often submitted by prospects voluntarily in registration forms and contact fields. However, you might also purchase third-party data analyzing common customers of your industry. Wherever it comes from, make sure to exercise it wisely and creatively.
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Sales is one of the departments that greatly benefits from using data, and often this data is right in front of them. The customer relationship management (CRM) platform aggregates and generates thousands of data points salespeople can implement appropriately into their pitches, quoting and contracting. With all this data, there are only three points essential to a sales team: the average sale price of a product or service, conversion rate of certain initiatives, and the average time it takes to close the deal.
With that in mind, sales people can look to the data from CRM to determine how to streamline their processes and put into action the tactics that will improve how prospects respond to specific sales collateral.
From there, both marketing and sales can work together to make sense of all the data a company is bringing in and putting out. For effective collaboration between marketing and sales, communication and sharing of ideas, value and insights vastly improves the way a company operates and, in turn, expands revenue.
After aligning your sales and marketing team’s understanding of data, you must get your IT department on board. Even if this is an external firm or an internal team, IT is critical to the intake, interpretation and implementation of data. IT professionals are the ones who help find and learn the technology that is collecting, storing and defining a company’s data.
Their expertise of an organization’s network and bandwidth informs any decisions of what is needed and can be managed in terms of data enablement tools, such as CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and mobile optimization services.
To ensure your IT department fully understands your needs as a marketer, align all your goals and establish a fluid line of communication. Just as a mutual understanding between you and sales is sure to regulate all efforts, so too will a productive partnership with IT.
Then IT can pinpoint the data that is important to marketing (customer insights), to sales (sales statistics), and for their purposes (customer privacy and network protections).
Data is slowly shaping every modern industry with its comprehensive view of every aspect from customer demographics to points of sale to online activity. Regardless of where data is coming from, physical stores, mobile apps, websites, social media or in-person interactions, etc., it is important to recognize the power of integrating data into how we think about the modern business.
Marketing is better informed by data insight, sales can shorten their process and increase growth, and IT can influence the rest of the company with its input and knowledge.
Understanding the data points necessary for a marketer, salesperson and IT professional to accomplish corporate goals on micro and macro levels only contributes to companywide collaboration and success.