How to unlock the power of customer data

By Martin Craze

One of the most important  goals for any company is to relate to its audience and to retain loyal customers. Without storing customer data, understanding your niche audience can be extremely tricky. Many B2B companies struggle in their marketing techniques because they don’t invest in any software that records customer data. This is especially critical in this era of digitalisation because focusing innovation around sales and customer experiences is where the potential for real growth resides. With this in mind, here are the best ways of unlocking the power of customer data and its importance in  company development.

Use customer data to customise special offers

By recording customer data your sales team can make personalised recommendations to individual customers. For an example, let’s say you are a coffee shop owner who promotes new coffees by email. Without storing customer data on your customers, you won’t know which customers enjoy coffee and which come in to purchase food. With a ERP/CRM system, your business can unlock the power of the customer data you already hold, making those promotional emails more personalised and tailored to each customer: without it there is a risk of missed opportunities to sell related items. 

ERP and CRM integration for increased mobility

According to research conducted by Applied Business, 67% of businesses do not use a form of CRM to record valuable consumer data and this results in a lack of personalisation for each customer.

When your sales team are in the middle of a crucial touchpoint in a customer’s journey, having an ERP system, such as Pegasus Opera gives instant access to customer inventories and orders, alongside pricing and product information, will help close deals quicker and more efficiently. Knowing the current situation regarding such data during customer interaction, not afterwards provides a powerful support tool for the sales team.

Data accuracy

Many marketing departments within businesses struggle to reach their customers by using outdated data, which is often stored in different formats and systems which can make gathering all the relevant data into a usable format time-consuming. By having on integrated ERP/CRM system all the relevant departments can access the data needed in an easy to read format. This will both increase efficiency and enhance productivity.

It might be worth considering a data refresh, particularly with old and irrelevant data that can no longer provide useful customer information for your business.  After a year has passed, if your customer data has not been regularly updated, the information becomes useless. There are many reasons for this, e.g. a consumer moving location. One option is to update your customer data by asking customers to update information, this can be done by sending a “We’ve Missed You” email campaign, informing your customer they haven’t been active in a while and to update their information.

Another alternative cost-effective solution would be to work alongside third parties. Third parties collate their data from a variety of places such as, surveys, online tracking, cookie based tracking, public records, and offline transactions like loyalty cards. Third parties provide marketers external customer profiles, they tend to charge per thousand profiles used. Depending on the amount of customer profiles needed, this can be a very cost-effective solution.

Empowering the sales and marketing team

Surprisingly, a great many companies, both B2B and B2C, have not yet upgraded to the digital facilities available that record customer data. A small percentage of B2B businesses understand the customer journey, compared with the consumer knowledge of B2C businesses. It is important for sales growth that businesses advance into the digital age and utilise their ability to track consumer data. Modern tracking software allow users to look into advanced analytics on promotional emails opened, and log all the actions subsequently taken both by the customer and by the business. All this consumer data should be recorded to help empower the sales team: from this data they can pinpoint what is working and what isn’t. The marketing department will find such data invaluable as they can discover which campaigns were successful and determine any patterns among loyal and new customers. This data can then provide vital information to create highly targeted future campaigns that can create meaningful relationships between the business and the consumer.

For instance, marketing teams can start attaching customer activities to each individual customer profile; this kind of activity can provide insights into the behaviour when purchasing and determine the different types of customer journeys.

Customer profiles

Businesses are all at different stages in their uptake of data gathering and usage sophistication. For businesses just starting out, you should be asking yourself ‘what kind of external data can we acquire?’ and ‘are there any third parties that we could collaborate with to gather customer data?’. Customer profiling aims to describe stereotypical personas, customer data provides a window into lifestyle and habits. By customer profiling, it will help your business provide customer satisfaction due to a deeper understanding into their lifestyles.

Regardless of how developed a company is, every type of business should recognise how important customer data is for future growth and development. Enrich your customer data, know the journey, preferences, target audience, transactions and profiles of your customers. To boost productivity, ensure that your consumer data shareable and accessible to the relevant departments.

Martin Craze is founder and managing director of Applied Business