Marketing performance is the practice of measuring, managing and analyzing performance to maximize its effectiveness and optimize return on investment. Other end, the data provides better insights about your customers, products and the performance. The truth is that it is not valuable unless you can trust the data.
Better Data = Better Decisions.
The following guidelines provide the improvement in marketing/sales performance through effective data management processes.
The Benefits of understanding your customers:
Understanding your customers helps you to sell more. The more you know about them and their needs, the easier it is to identify opportunities to sell them new products and target them with appropriate offers. Profiling existing customers also makes it easier to find new ones. You can look for similar prospects, and sell to them in a similar way.
However, you must make sure that you comply with data protection regulations for any personal information on existing and potential customers that you collect persist and use. You can use the information that you gathered about customers to improve production efficiency. Keeping a central record of customer details will reduce data errors and speed up accurate transactions. Better access to customer information helps you deal with issues more quickly. You can tailor product offerings and provide personalized content. The right information makes it easier to identify and resolve any business problems.
Finally, understanding your customers helps your business planning as well. You can predict what they will buy, and estimate how much stock you need. Linking customer management to purchasing can dramatically improve profitability.
Learn about your customers:
Your customers are a valuable source of information, so you should aim to collect data that lets you identify your customers and how they behave. This will vary depending on your customer profile. If you sell to individual consumers, you might want to know about their age, gender, income and so on. For businesses, you might want to know what industry they operate in and their size.
You should also try to find out what they think about you and your products and services. For example, learn what they like and dislike and why they choose one over the other. If you have just a few important customers, it’s worth getting detailed feedback from them. Companies that sell to individual consumers sometimes use customer surveys. Of course you need to store it in a central database.
Make customer information available:
Making the qualified customer information available across enterprises and systems is paramount. For example, you could give sales executives access to CRM systems so that they can check customer information. But at the same time, you should share the customer behavior, geo, purchase history and other information around customers with sales and market team to take decisions effectively.
While exposing the data available, it is also important to maintain the accuracy of the data. There should be proper governance processes to ensure who owns data, who is responsible for changes and how we manage the changes, history etc.
Analyze your customers:
The right information will let you build up a useful profile of your customers. This typically includes the following:
- Who they are – the age and gender of individual consumers, or industry and business size for corporate customers.
- What they think and believe, what interests them and their opinion of you and your product
- Their purchasing behavior – which products they buy, where they buy them, when, and how they pay
Profiling your customers helps you group them into different segments, each of which can be approached separately. For example, you might produce customized products or services for different segments. You can also focus the way you market to different groups of customers.
What makes your customers valuable?
Analyzing your customers allows you to identify those who best fit your business priorities. These will depend on your strategy – for example, if you are launching a new product your aim might be to build sales as quickly as possible, whereas if you have cash flow problems you might value customers who pay quickly. However, most businesses want profitable customers as soon as possible.
By analyzing your records you can assess how profitable each customer is. In some businesses, just a few customers are responsible for almost all the profits. Some of your largest customers might be among your least profitable. You may even find that there are some customers you would be better off without.
You should also try to look ahead. For example, a business customer who is expanding might become more profitable for you in the future. It’s important to anticipate changes and how they might affect different customers.
Enhance the customer experience:
Looking after your customers helps build customer loyalty. Selling more to existing customers can be far more cost-effective and profitable than finding new ones. However, you will still need to divide your time between finding new customers and selling more to existing ones depending on your business.
Focus on your most valuable customers. The more you know about your customers, the more effectively you can market to them. Understanding your customers lets you tailor your marketing to different segments. You can ensure that each customer gets the right marketing messages, at the right time. Advertising and other promotions can be more effective if they are targeted. You can also sell more effectively. Understanding your customers helps you see which of their needs your product can satisfy. You may, for example, be able to up-sell, explaining why a higher priced product would suit them better. You may also find opportunities to cross-sell other products that fit their profile. For example, if you know why they are buying a particular product, you can tell which other products they may also need.
Customer 360-degree as a Solution
Now the question is about achieving the above best practices. The answer is not about just one technology and database efforts, it is all about processes and combination of tools to build the customer master.
By utilizing data integration technology across all channels, you should capture information about customers. But by processing the quality and analytical process, it would help build 360-degree view of all about your customers. These interaction points about customers will drive better understanding about customers which helps better marketing and sales planning. You can generate various reports to predict what they will buy, and estimate how much stock, where they buy, mode of buying, preferred payment model, insurance plans, products and many more. Linking customer management to purchasing can dramatically improve profitability.
Master Data management can help automate these processes to continuously cleanse data, and prevent bad data from entering the enterprise and clog business processes. To do this, we create a real-time data quality firewall around the critical information systems.
The bottom line is you can use the information that you have about your customers, to improve sales efficiency. Keeping a data quality and MDM based data management best practices will reduces errors and speeds up growth.
Note: The above article is authored by Mr.Suresh Chintala from Enterprise Integration & Information Management Practice @ Aspire Systems.
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