To say that data is important is a vast understatement. Effective marketing hinges on data and “garbage in” really does result in “garbage out.”
All companies need data to do business, but most will readily admit their marketing and sales data is in less than stellar shape, either existing in disparate places or not at all up-to-date. And let’s be honest, working with data is just not fun. Collecting leads is easy, but how good are the leads?
Chances are, if you’re disappointed with the leads you’re getting, it means you didn’t do enough work on the frontend of the campaign to ensure your data is spot-on accurate and current.
Putting a qualification plan into place ahead of doing marketing and then having a process in place as to what to do with them when you get them is crucial to your marketing ROI. Without it, you’re leaving marketing wide open to educated guesses, and not the measurable program that it really should be.
I started noticing across the board that clients weren’t making efficient use of their data, so I decided to jump right in and help get it into good shape again. If you don’t have a partner to help you take the work and tedium out of this and enable you to focus on reaping the rewards of organized and targeted data, this blog may help!
First thing’s first. Before you can do anything with your data, you need to organize it and this means establishing target prospect criteria. The sales team and the marketing team must work together to identify, very precisely, who your primary and secondary decision-makers are in the various markets you serve. Against this backdrop, data is reviewed, scrubbed and augmented, and entered into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. The CRM then quantifies the data and makes it available for the marketing and sales teams to work with.
On the backend of this process, sales and marketing must also define what constitutes a qualified lead for your organization. And this varies company to company. Consider questions such as: What is the timing of the purchase? Is there a budget? Is the client speaking with the decision maker? Are client pain points identified? Answers to these and other pre-determined and situation-specific questions classify leads.
It is also important to ensure that a data management service is not only comprehensive, but also connected. This means working in real-time to feed leads to the sales team. We regularly work with Marketing Automation technology tied to data management and personalized outreach. Respondents receive a message that is relevant to them and directs them to provide an online response. The minute someone responds, data is imported/updated in the CRM and a trigger is sent to provide an automatic follow-up email. This also allows the sales team to react immediately to qualified leads, and eliminate cold calling. All online activities are tracked, which means that marketing efforts can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the person you’re targeting.
OK, so you’re probably thinking it sounds like a good idea, but what are the real benefits?
- Without good data, you’re wasting more money than you care to admit. When you invest in the frontend of the process, you’ll get better results on the backend.
- You’ll see better qualification of the leads that you generate from more targeted, accurate data.
- You can track and measure campaign results against better targets – and you can do it in real-time.
- Your sales team can take their attention away from administration and put it where it needs to be – on selling!
Marketing and sales need to work closely together and data bridges this in a way that makes both teams synergistic. Sales is able to provide marketing with education on what qualifies as a successful lead, which means that marketing is able to take that information and provide more targeted campaigns for sales.
When these two functions are working in lock-step, that’s when your results will really start to rock!