B2B Marketing Principles 5: Customer data

There are two statistically proven rules in business. 1/ 80 % of your business comes from 20 % of your customers. 2/ It is far easier and more profitable to keep an existing customer happy than to try and replace them with a new one.

I think many businesses fail to keep these rules in mind, often seduced by the glamour and thrill of business development. More importantly, they fail to have an adequate control over and fail to best use the customer data they have on record.

Look at the chronology of data management. It is reasonable to argue that most companies start using paper based systems which lack finesse. In time they migrate to Excel or another simple data capture program. At some point they are convinced of the need for an expensive and complicated system like Salesforce.com or Project Sales Achiever of which they use about five percent of the functionality. Every additional tool becomes a chargeable bolt on.

Some companies operate all of the above and end up with no centralised system for capturing customer, former customer, prospect, supplier and partner contact details and contact history.

The benefits of database marketing are undeniably clear – accurate, relevant, timed, personifiable communications with responses tracked and evaluated. But it takes time and costs money.

In the niche B2B arena where the universe containing your target universe is probably small, a database becomes ever more critical. Lists relevant to your business are increasingly harder to purchase so you really have to look after every single lead you ever receive. Even those that are not financially viable for you to convert may still be a useful contact if you consider potential access to their contact pool.

Planning and logging communications and tailoring them with known enquiry and/or transactional data gives you an incredibly powerful profile of each customer and provides insight into what interests them and what potential future requirements might be, meaning you can constantly pre-empt them and keep them satisfied.

Apply a little Tesco magic. Their Clubcard is the main driver in them owning £2 in every £5 of high street grocery spend.

Use cost effective database and CRM packages like DotMailer, Constant Contact or MailAgent, supported by communication platforms like Basecamp which keep all project correspondence in one place.

Why? You look professional. You are engaging. You are in control. You are trusted. You are a partner and therefore more difficult to replace.

Image from http://www.tyson-consulting.com (David Waddington)

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3 responses to “B2B Marketing Principles 5: Customer data

  1. Some good stuff as always in this post. It’s scary how many businesses entrust their database to a mishmash of legacy systems for years and then suddenly make an expensive and ill-advised upgrade …. or how little employees understand of the importance of this work, even putting up resistance to logging information because they ‘can’t see the point.’

  2. Interesting points raised here and are typical of my clients frustrations. Ingenium used to use systems such as Dotmailer but found their reporting to be a little sketchy at best particularly around our target audience of the UK public sector. That said we developed our own email broadcast solution in conjuction with a number of Government organisations and the private sector to ensure we built a ‘best of breed’ system that understood the public sector gateways and provided trustworthy reporting. Our system is the only fully secure SaaS based system currently being used by a large number of both public and private sector firms. As with all systems its only as good as the data its going out to and we work with clients to ensure they have a clear data strategy and appropriate mechanisms to track communications to ensure they achieve maximum results.

    Similarly I believe its worth mentioning the other means of electronic communication such as e-bulletins, dynamic questioning surveys and webinars all of which produce focused and intelligent reporting models for business development.

    I look forward to further contributions on here.

    Thanks

    Brandon Davis
    0161 482 7862
    http://www.ingenium-ids.org

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