The wave of popularity of Big Data has coerced you into collecting all sorts of information about your business clients. These days, even before you identify prospects and pursue leads, you have miles of data — like names of decision-makers, three types of contact information and enquiries and responses.
What’s more, you have metric tons of information on your competitors, perhaps including financial data, employee lists and equipment inventories. When it comes to data, you are drowning in it.
Data should help your business float, not sink it. Many businesses expend energy capturing overwhelming amounts of data but lack the knowledge or resources to leverage it effectively. If you are afraid you aren’t using your data optimally — or if you know you aren’t using it at all — you need this guide to applying your data to benefit your business.
Make Better Decisions
Better decisions should be the first and most impactful effect of collecting client data. When you are faced with a decision, you should be able to turn to relevant data to inform the process and guide your assessments and conclusions.
However, turning to your data when you need to make a decision can be a hard habit to develop. First, you need to understand variation; data isn’t always going to be straightforward, so it might be worthwhile to take a crash course on statistical significance. Additionally, you will likely need to combine data from different sources to obtain the right combination of information for individual decisions. The sooner you start practicing decision-making with the aid of data, the sooner your decisions will start to move your business forward at an accelerated rate.
Data doesn’t just tell you who customers are and where they live; it also tells you what customers want and why. This information will help you develop the exact products and services that your clients are clamoring for.
Even better, data collected on internal processes can help you innovate new ways to do things within your organization. Likely, your processes are far from peak-efficiency. By paying attention to the steps in a process, the time taken to complete each step, the workers involved and the resources consumed, you should be able to identify elements you can eliminate or new focuses that improve productivity — or else you might build an entirely new process that replaces an old, outdated one. Without innovation, your business will founder, so this is a critical application of your data.
You exist to serve your clients, so there is no better way to use your data than to improve their experience. There are dozens of ways you can collect and analyze data to help customers; you might look into how they use your website, how they communicate with your sales staff, how they respond to sales and discount events and more. Any improvement you can make in the sales process is an increase in the sales you are likely to close.
You should certainly research their buying cycles and journeys to develop intent data, which will tell you when they are poised to make a purchase. Once you understand how to best leverage B2B intent data, you will be able to expend less energy selling and more energy making sales.
This might seem obvious — isn’t every application of data meant to make your business better? However, specifically, you can use your data to improve your products or services in various ways. For example, you might examine the quality of your products and collect data on costs, material effects, customer enjoyment, etc. Making changes to the manufacturing process might dramatically improve the functionality of your products, increasing customer satisfaction and pushing sales. As a business leader, you might send this sort of data to your engineering teams to parse and exploit.
Even for B2Bs, content marketing is huge. Your data can help you better understand what sorts of content your clients are looking for, so you can tailor your content generation to suit those demands. For example, you might learn that your clients most often engage with industry journals as opposed to social media. If that’s the case, you should put more effort into developing white papers, essays and similar long-form content that might fit in more formal, established publications.
Additionally, you should learn what subjects your clients find most interesting: product reviews and testimonials, how-to guides, industry trends and topics, etc. Doing this will make your marketing more effective, helping your sales team close with ease.