Sales and marketing campaigns can fail for a variety of reasons, but the most common culprit is poor data. This is why it's essential to make an up-front investment in your data foundation—and that means gathering and validating all relevant customer data across a mix of platforms and repositories and maintaining that information stockpile on an ongoing basis. It's also critical to make the data easily available for sharing with key stakeholders and for integration with technology platforms that drive sales and marketing processes.
It's no secret that data-driven strategies and predictive analytics help companies significantly increase the effectiveness of their sales and marketing campaigns. Predictive analysis has been credited with yielding a median ROI of 145 percent, nearly double the ROI when nonpredictive analysis is used.
For campaigns directed at an installed base of customers, the use of rich analysis and statistical modeling allows marketers to uncover a host of buyer trends and behaviors, all of which represent proactive sales opportunities. These tools predict customer needs and purchasing probabilities—allowing you to target the right customer with the right offer at a time when he or she is ready to make a specific purchase.
For email marketing, "open" rates of 19.9 percent are standard. However, with more effective data mining, aggregation, cleansing, and enrichment, higher rates can be achieved. And as open rates improve, the ability to better target customers increases, and the cost of sale decreases. In this way, data accuracy and analytics can lead to a more effective way to achieve your sales goals—with fewer resources and less effort for sales teams.
Building the Data Essentials for Campaign Success
Those marketers who have decided to jump on the email marketing bandwagon need to look beyond the creative appeal of their campaigns and use data-driven marketing as a way to stand out from the crowd and generate the results they want.
Understanding the power of installed base data is easy. The challenge for many companies is tapping into its potential as a driver for sales and marketing campaigns. This data likely resides in various forms and across multiple systems. It may even reside within your channel partners' data repositories. The process of collecting and consolidating all that data can be daunting. There is often missing or inaccurate information, which means that just as important as collecting data are the processes of validating its accuracy and completeness and committing to its continual maintenance.
The following tips should serve useful when building and optimizing your sales and marketing data:
Collect: Capture all end-customer data, which may reside locally or with channel partners' ordering and purchasing, CRM, and/or enterprise resource planning systems.
Validate and cleanse: Review and polish the overall data pool to ensure it is historically accurate and all-inclusive, and to identify any gaps or missing information. By healing the data, or establishing procedures for self-healing, you can drive a better overall sales and marketing opportunity. And the more details you can gather about customer transactions, the better your business will be positioned to capitalize on opportunities in a timely and efficient manner.
Update and maintain: Once you gather all the data that comprises your customer universe, you should define and create processes for keeping that "knowledge bank" up to date at each and every point of entry.
Explore: Have your data team sort through and analyze the data to identify buying trends that may lead to opportunities for further sales. Offer them regular guidance on buying patterns to look out for and new products or services that can be tied into those patterns as part of a campaign to incentivize your customers to buy again, or to reinforce the purchase decisions they've already made as you seek to drive brand loyalty.
Organize and share: Find an easy way to organize and present the analyzed data so that it can be easily exported to sales and marketing automation systems. Give your key sales and marketing leaders more than an Excel spreadsheet—give them powerful and dynamic data-driven tools that they can refer to on an ongoing basis as they strive to understand customer needs, quickly seize market opportunities, and best serve their customers and key accounts.
Kelly Crothers is vice president of marketing for MaintenanceNet, a provider of service annuity solutions.