Are you looking for new leads? Do you know what the average cost per lead is based on the prospect lifecycle? Are you hearing terms like MQL (Marketing Qualified Leads) and SQL (Sales Qualified Leads)? Are you aligning data sources, such as google analytics and your CRM, to map out your prospect to customer journey? Are you scratching your head at the sheer scope?
We live in a sea of data. And as printers, you are in a very rare and (dare I say) enviable position in the ability to develop and deliver customer services and solutions that are driven by these data points.
Face it: If you want to succeed today, it’s important to embrace the role that data now plays in the prospect to customer journey. Understanding and maximizing that data is a critical success factor.
Whether it’s home grown or an industry leader, your business likely has some sort of CRM (customer relationship management) solution to capture customer and prospect information. Your CRM is where you have the opportunity to record your customer’s prospect journey, and where marketing gleams the majority of the data necessary for successful campaign development. But no matter how simple or robust the CRM solution, it’s only as good as the data it contains. The more you can manage the flow of information, and the more you can learn from the data, the more it can be leveraged to impact your bottom line.
What are your sources of data?
Many companies leverage their website as a primary source of lead generation. It’s where orders are placed, content is downloaded, and visitor information is captured. The journey typically begins with high-level, “short-form” sources of data (name, company name, email, etc.). As the prospect spends more time on your site, their journey from prospect to customer evolves.
But there are other areas within an organization where data is captured, often in disparate databases not tied to your CRM. For example, data captured by your finance department, like contracts, SLA’s, current mailing address, etc., may be stored in your accounting system. And if you think about the entire customer journey, and the various touchpoints along the way, you uncover other areas within your company where relevant customer and prospect insights are being gathered…and underutilized.
- Telemarketing/Inside Sales – Often referred to as “the front lines”
- Sales/Business Development – Helping take the prospect over the finish line
- Customer Support – They get to really know the customer post-purchase
- Finance – The corporate gatekeepers (see example above)
- Marketing – Helping along every step of the way.
Where are you storing the data?
How many potential record sources exist for each prospect/customer? Think beyond CRM and finance. How many databases are you maintaining? Where and how is information being tracked? Is it in spreadsheets? How about Outlook? Do you record customer birthdays? Contract signing anniversary dates?
How are you using the data?
What are your objectives? Are you looking to run a targeted marketing campaign to a key vertical market segment? Are you trying to determine the lifecycle of a lead? Or are you looking to manage sales targets?
Whether your data comes from external sources – like Google Analytics or a purchased, 3rd-party list – or from various internal databases as described above, the sheer volume of information available can be daunting.
Once you know where the data is coming from, where it’s being kept, and how you want to use it, you can establish the pivot points identified by the data. From there, you can maximize the value of your database and best impact your prospect to customer journey.
Joanne Gore is the Director of Marketing for Avanti and a monthly contributor to Print Media Centr’s News From The Printerverse. She has nearly three decades of B2B marketing and communications experience, including corporate and small office environments. Joanne develops lead generation and conversion programs, re-brands product lines, implements social media strategies, manages PR and media relations campaigns, overhauls websites, develops highly targeted marketing campaigns, and delivers results. Joanne is an industry presenter, currently sits on the board of Xplor International, is the President of Xplor Canada, and is a returning mentor for the Ontario Summer Company, a Government initiative for youth entrepreneurship and employment. She graduated as a Graphic Designer and, prior to joining the corporate world, worked in the print industry as an art director, typesetter, and printing consultant. Joanne is a marketing geekette by day, a fitness instructor by night, and a mom 24-7.
Contact Joanne at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter: @JoanneGore121