Big Data is all around us, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. As a B2B business director you’ll be on a large number of different databases and that’s on top of those for whom you are a consumer. When you can’t beat them, there’s only one thing to do and that’s join them.
I don’t mean simply buy a list and bombard the hell out of it; that won’t win you any friends. What I mean is make use of the data you have available, either that you are already collecting or you can easily do with minimal impact. To that end here are my tips on what data to collect, analyse and make use of:
1. How are you being found?
John Wanamaker famously said he didn’t know which 50% of his advertising worked. Although his was a consumer business, the comment is just as valid for B2B businesses as well. This is the way to find out.
The answer to the question “How did you find us?” will give you all the information you need. You then simply add it to the pipeline records you keep, whether on a CRM or an Excel spreadsheet.
Now I hear some people saying “but they may have seen us on Twitter and seen our Adwords and our re-marketing ads; which do we record so we know it works?” To me the answer is simply: record the one the prospect tells you as that had the most effect and got them to get in touch.
The volume of inbound enquiries means it is usually easy to collect the data. The question can be asked on the phone, as part of a Callback Form and at any time before they are qualified, just as long as it is asked and recorded. For outbound marketing, you already know how they became aware of you!
2. Who’s looking at your website?
It would initially be more accurate to say, at least initially, what’s being looked at on your website, followed by who’s looking.
In a B2B environment website traffic will be generated from a combination of people interacting with your outbound comms and then finding you through various routes, be that Search, social media or even direct traffic.
Your outbound communication can easily be used to ensure you know exactly what your mailing list is looking at. Imagine emailing your perfect client, seeing they click through to your website and then knowing exactly what they looked at.
For those businesses who find you unprompted, the data attached to their fixed IP address will be really useful in helping you know who is looking at you.
At a B2B level, the data starts to flow a little earlier: Fixed IP addresses will give you company names – who’s the person mostly likely to be searching for your services within that company?
3. Who’s buying what from me?
A bird in the hand is worth much more than two in a bush. Depending on what you read, a current customer can be anything up to 10x cheaper to sell to than a new one, so make sure you (or more precisely, your account managers) know exactly what their customers have bought from the range of products and services you sell. They can then look for opportunities to sell more of the range into them.
4. Where are my customers?
Postcodes and SIC codes can be your best friends. Why? Because they tell you what your customers do and where they are.
Imagine sitting in front of the right person at a law firm in Liverpool. You’re doing well as the sales meeting progresses. They understand why they should use you and the numbers seem right. They then ask that question: what other law firms do you work with?
If you can then talk about your legal industry customers, particularly in the North West, you’re on solid ground and the sale could be just moments away. If however, you mostly specialise in manufacturing companies in the London area, you’ve still got a way to go to get that signature.
Know your strengths.
5. What’s the value of a new customer?
Our average customer has a value of £4,800 and it costs just under £300 to acquire one. The return on investment is clear. I know this could be better and the lifetime value will, hopefully, only increase as my business moves forward. My question is: do you know what your customers cost and what they generate?
Knowing the answer to just one part of this could sway your marketing activity in the wrong direction, particularly if you look at only the cost of acquisition. If my cost of acquisition as approaching £2,000 I’d have to think carefully about how I went about attracting more new clients, but if I knew they were all going to generate £32,000 it really wouldn’t be a problem.
If you don’t measure your marketing performance, how are you going to improve in the future? None of what I’m suggesting you measure is particularly difficult. You may need to collect, and record, a little more information but the biggest factor in making the most of the data you have available to you is to take the time to use it. I know you’re busy and that time is precious, but imagine a scenario where you KNEW:
Google Adwords is the No.1 driver of sales worth £30,000 a year to retailers in London and that, during that time, they will by 22% of the available products I have to sell and that you spend just £800 to acquire that new customer.
Just how much more effective do you think your marketing could be?