Data is the new oil. It’s cheaper, more plentiful, and just as valuable. However, it’s also one of the most challenging aspects of business. As customer data becomes increasingly important to your success, you need to manage it well.
As a business, your most valuable asset is customer data. Data can be used to identify trends, generate leads, and increase the bottom line. However, when data is poorly managed, it can lead to frustrations in the form of inaccurate reports or false conclusions.
Knowledge is power, and customer data is the fuel for the engine. But how do you manage this knowledge? Best B2B practices for better customer data management will help you answer that question.
The first step is to get your data under control. What data can you collect on your customers? From who they interact with, to what they purchase, to where they’re located, it all matters in different ways. Once you’ve identified the information you need to collect and organize, you’ll need a system to store and access it all easily. A good system will help you prioritize and measure the success of your efforts. With these ten best B2B practices for better customer data management in place.
Defining Data Management
The first step to improving your customer data management is to define what it is you need to manage. Do you need access to purchasing data? Or revenue numbers? Whether you’re focused on improving sales or improving operations, you need to know where your focus lies to create successful efforts to improve your customer data management efforts.
If you’re looking to improve your customer data management efforts, consider the following best practices:
Get Your Data Under Control
Do you track and retain consent for your product or service, and are you gathering information to support future activities? Are you collecting customer contact data that’s valuable for follow-up campaigns? Is this information being shared within your company or with other businesses to build loyalty? Are you tracking relevant social media posts to gauge customer sentiment? If you can answer yes to some of these questions, you’re probably tracking your customers’ most intimate details. But in order to keep them and manage your interactions with them, you must know what you have and what you’re collecting.
Where to start?
Depending on the type of product or service you sell, the more intensive the data collection process, the better.
Organize Your Customer Data
The most important first step for getting control of your customer data is to get it organized.
Look for any data inconsistencies that aren’t consistent from transaction to transaction. If you can’t find it, ask a team member to help you audit it. Use structured and unstructured data sets to track your customers’ habits and preferences.
For example, if you’re focused on finding the location of your customers on eWorldTrade, then you can use the analytics provided by the platform to your advantage and organize your data accordingly.
Automate Tasks with A CRM System
By the time your data is organized, you’ll have become a prodigious data collector. That means there are likely hundreds of tasks you’ll want to automate. Adding automated workflows to a CRM system makes it easy to do this.
Your CRM system should have a huge repository of customer data, but it’s often spread across multiple tables in different databases. Using a CRM with automation will allow you to dump everything onto a single database and, perhaps more importantly, determine the most important tables and data, and focus on just that.
These automated workflows will save you time and help you manage the data you collect.
By eliminating the need for different jobs, you’ll be able to save money by utilizing fewer resources.
Set Customer Expectations to Increase Retention
Customers are fickle creatures. You can’t count on them to be loyal or even consistent year after year. If you’re struggling to maintain customer engagement, you can help them look to the future with some effective content marketing.
The benefits of content marketing aren’t just that you’re getting in front of your customer and creating loyalty. Content marketing makes it easier for customers to connect with you and feel a stronger connection. You’ll also be able to set them up for success with content on the individual terms they expect.
Expectations vary from business to business. If you want your customers to buy more, you need to engage with them and earn their business. Engage customers in your content, and they’ll be more likely to engage with you in return.
Establish A Plan for Continuous Improvement
CX will improve as you collect more data, and improve upon what you have. Whether you’re a B2C or B2B organization, you can implement similar strategies for continuous improvement.
For example, check your Wins, Losses, and Failure rates across all aspects of customer service and digital engagement. How does this compare to industry averages? How can you improve these metrics to bring about positive customer experiences?
Only in a highly engaged and loyal customer base will you see this change. In a thriving customer base, the customer loyalty you’re seeing now will be just the tip of the iceberg. Now is the time to be part of that snowball!
Stay connected to your customers.
Take advantage of social media by listening to your customers and their comments.
Leverage Analytics for Better Decision-Making
You should have a knowledge base of everything you’ve learned so far. Use it to quickly surface relevant insights that can help you more quickly make decisions. For example, if your customers are clicking on your call-to-action links, but they’re not converting, can you determine why they aren’t making the purchase? You can then analyze that data to improve your campaigns or the way you’re responding to website traffic.
Another good question to ask yourself: Are there any potential gaps in the customer data you have so you can create a gap analysis and create a team to help you address them? Even small gaps could make or break your sales.
Measure The ROI Of Customer Intelligence Projects
The first thing to know when trying to increase your customer intelligence is to ask yourself, “What’s the ROI?” The return on investment (ROI) will determine how much you invest in learning about your customers. For example, if you have a product in a very specific market, you can invest in a customer intelligence team, hire someone to build the tools and train you, and hire someone to do all of the analysis. There is a huge ROI on this, though, so you don’t want to waste time, effort and resources. You need to measure the ROI, and it’s important that you measure several things simultaneously.
Segment Customers by Need and Behavior
Behavioral insights can be the most powerful. It’s worth noting, however, that you have to be careful about how you segment your customers. Sometimes, people segment themselves unintentionally — people who spend more time watching video might be less likely to buy advertising. How do you identify those segments?
Identify a specific action that your customers are taking and view this as an indicator of what they need and want. Look for patterns and trends in the data that you collect from them. People who use Facebook ads are probably more likely to be interested in your company’s services. That means that your initial marketing should have a strong focus on advertising.
Separate Customers by Geography. Geography can be one of the most powerful customer segments.
Segment By Need
Measure the success of your efforts to reduce your customer retention, acquisition and adoption barriers by determining the business need your customers have for each individual product or service. For instance, if one product has customers who just want to stream music, another product has customers who want to download music and listen to it offline. A great way to measure the success of your product is to figure out the numbers of conversions for each service. For this, you can look at the conversion rate by a product or service, as well as the number of sales per person who has access to a product or service.
Segment By Behavior
Most organizations have databases that contain all kinds of customer information—this includes demographics, shopping histories, preferences, and more. But an IT organization doesn’t always have access to all of this data. If you don’t know where to find it, you can’t use it. And even if your data is easy to find, you may not have the technology in place to make good use of it.
To address this challenge, start segmenting your customers and your data into categories by behavior. Once you understand a customer’s habits, you’ll have a much better picture of the opportunities to engage with them. And if you do this correctly, you’ll probably be able to shift the vast majority of your IT spend away from maintaining systems to focusing on collecting and exploiting this information.
Create A Culture of Collaboration
A large part of the B2B success equation is knowing how to share information. A company’s data is a company’s power. If your employees don’t collaborate effectively, your data is nothing more than a bunch of unstructured bits of data to be interpreted by whomever is in charge of the data science team.
Developing a culture of collaboration takes time, but it’s worth the effort. A number of studies have revealed that collaboration among colleagues on project teams is the greatest predictor of a project’s success. Collaboration also helps reduce a company’s stress levels, which is one of the biggest obstacles to success. As a result, you’ll be able to focus your team on the most important things instead of managing the minutiae that bog down the process.