12 Jul Data is King
Leads are the lifeblood of sales and therefore the lifeblood of your business’s revenue flow. The provision of leads – specifically ‘warm’, valuable leads – has always been the core of the relationship between the sales and marketing departments.
The rise and rise of inbound marketing and digital media have fuelled the ability of marketing departments to nourish leads effectively and personally. By the time they engage directly with your business, it’s now far more likely that leads will have followed you on social media, read a blog or white paper or two, seen you in the media or otherwise learned a little about your offering. Indeed, it’s been suggested that the average B2B customer is 57% of the way through the buying process before engaging a sales representative.
Nevertheless, some things haven’t altered. The numbers still matter. If marketing fails to ‘feed’ sales with an adequate volume of workable leads, no matter how ‘warm’ those existing leads are, you’re not only going to have revenue problems, you’re also likely to have some dodgy internal dynamics to deal with. Lead generation – identifying and seeking out those individuals or businesses who could potentially become your customers – is still an absolutely core function of your marketing department. So how is it done in the new digital era? What does your business need to prioritise?
The answer, we think, can be distilled down to one phrase. Data is king.
In some ways, it’s now easier than ever before to reach a huge audience. It may take a bit of time or money, but almost any business can build up a hefty social media presence, launch a PPC campaign that will achieve thousands of clicks through to their website, or simply purchase a database of contact details for telemarketing.
So the key to effective lead generation is finding out everything you can about that huge audience, filtering and distilling it down so that the individuals or businesses targeted are genuine, bona fide potential buyers, and the marketing used to target them is tailored to fit.
What kind of data? Here are some vital elements:
- Accurate, up-to-date contact details. Sounds too obvious? Too many companies still waste marketing effort on unused email addresses and defunct phone numbers. Cleansed contact details are at the core of effective lead data.
- Detailed profile information. On a B2C basis, everything from age and gender to hobbies and interests can be used to tailor marketing activity to fit. On the B2B side, elements like the sectors your target operates in, their geographical locations and the size of their workforce can all help inform a bespoke marketing campaign. Such information can not only tell you what products or services they might be interested in, but also the communication channels that will be most effective, and even the times that they should be targeted.
- Buying histories are all too often neglected, even when the lead in question has bought from you before! Such histories are the foundation for effective cross and up-selling. What product or service can they enhance with an additional purchase?
It is clear that the fundamental aim of gathering data on your sales leads is to inform bespoke, highly relevant marketing and sales activities. A one-size-fits-all approach rarely works anymore. Marketing now is driven by an in-depth understanding of your customers – past, existing and potential.
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