There is no question that most b2b companies are sitting on an immense amount of underutilized customer data. This data is rich in its ability to help us understand our customers better and how they interact with us throughout their buying journey. Having this type of data is however not valuable until we are able to leverage it to create insights. Insights (not data) are what help us make smart and timely business decisions.
As DiscoverOrg so rightly shares in a recent article, there is a b2b “customer data tsunami” coming because of all the increased sales and marketing tech that companies are rapidly adopting. The true benefit of tech is not all the cool bells and whistles – it’s the data it provides. As these technologies help us to create a more seamless customer experience (CX), leaders must recognize the huge underlying opportunity that sits inside the massive amount of increased data points we will have about customers and their interactions with us. One major predictor of success for b2b companies moving forward will be their ability to leverage their customer sales and marketing data.
If we continue to look at data in silos we will continue to not allow ourselves to optimize the revenue generation process. Before investing in more sales or marketing data, we must first learn to leverage the immense amount of data we already have – together. Our ability to win business with the modern buyer is almost solely dependent on our customer data.
Let’s explore how sales and marketing leaders can begin the process of aligning their data to improve the revenue generation process.
Define a Single Source of Truth
Is not uncommon for companies to have data stored in different tools owned by different teams. This can cause sales and marketing to have a substantially different view of what is happening in the business. The differing views on data overtime erodes trust between sales and marketing leaders who may feel their counterparts are making the data look how they need it to so they look good. The only way to start building a high-performing Revenue Engine that has a complete view of the buyer’s end-to-end journey is to start looking at a uniform set a data that is consistently being pulled from the same data sources.
Creating this single source of truth is not as easy as unifying and cleansing the data. It really is about making sense of all the different data sources so you are able to develop insights about your customers. One factor about unifying the data that can get complex fairly quickly is establishing a stable identifier across different data sources. You may have several different tools that use unique identifiers for customer interactions, but without a stable identifier, you cannot match your data together. This is where having a strong sales and marketing operations team member can come in very handy.
Some high-level steps to think about as you start the journey to creating a single view of the customer are:
Be sure to connect all your sources of customer data (i.e. email, CRM, web leads, etc.)
Determine a way to create unique and stable identifiers for people and company leads
Cleanse and standardize data to ensure it is reliable
Focus on creating actionable insights for both sales and marketing from your customer data
By investing the time and energy required to create a single view of the customer, leaders will enable sales and marketing to be able to work together better, create more personalized customer experiences, and develop a more efficient revenue generation process.
Focus on Metrics That Matter
Not all data is created equal. As most marketing teams are starting to realize, vanity metrics like clicks and likes are not directly linked to business outcomes. Thus, we must all focus on the metrics that show the highest correlation with converting buyers to customers. The first metric that we should always be focused on is revenue attainment. As calculating marketing ROI becomes more attainable, marketing leaders must take on the responsibility of having a direct impact on building customer pipeline.
Other metrics that are influenced by both sales and marketing and have a strong impact on revenue growth include:
End-to-End conversion rates
Sales cycle length
Average deal size
MQLs to opportunity ratio
By focusing on the same metrics that have the most impact on closing business, leaders can ensure team incentives are aligned and that we are laser focused on doing the things that have the most impact on the business.
Provide Formal, Regular Feedback on Marketing Campaign Results to Sales
Regular feedback on marketing campaigns is a must to ensure we stay agile as a Revenue Engine and can adjust when we see that things are not hitting the milestones that we expected. Not only should sales be included in the early stages of creating marketing campaigns but there should be regular updates to let them know the progress that is being made on our stated goals and objectives. This helps keep both sales and marketing accountable for their contributions to building pipeline and closing new business.
The Journey to a Single Source of Truth
Wrangling all your customer data can be a daunting task – especially if you are a leader that is not an expert on data. It requires working with someone or a vendor that has a strong understanding of how data works and how to make it work for you. Of the 3 Pillars of Alignment Transformation (Data, Process, and Communication), data is the most important as it affects every aspect of how we interact with buyers as they consider choosing us to resolve their business challenges. By Investing in creating a single source of truth you will easily put yourself ahead of your competitors.