Data Is Marketing’s Most Powerful Weapon -If We Use It Correctly

With Tricia Willes Ruiz, Creative Content Manager, True Influence, powered by MeritB2B

If you are just turning over “qualified” leads to sales, then you’re doing only about 80 percent of what it takes to succeed.

Many B2B marketers focus entirely on demographic or response data – does the contact meet our persona, and did they download the whitepaper? But our job is not to just create leads. It’s to create leads that help grow the bottom line. Obviously, a lot more goes into that than just job title and annual revenue.

Fortunately, we have access to enormous volumes of data, not only about our prospects and existing customers, but also our own internal processes and activities. We can track every interaction with a buyer, and we know how much effort those interactions require on our part.

We have the data.

We just don’t make very good use of it much of the time.

Data as Marketing’s “Secret Weapon”

I recently spoke to self-described “data-vangelisit” Theresa Kushner about all the ways selling organizations don’t take full advantage of using the data they collect as a “secret weapon.” And candidly, there are a lot of them.

Kushner, a Data and Analytics Solutions Lead for NTT Data, says most people understand that their activities are measured, particularly in the wake of the pandemic. As a data professional who’s concerned about both the ethics and efficacy of data policies, Kushner says she sees a lot of positives and, unfortunately, negative uses of this massive data wave.

As a content marketer, one of the topics that really struck a chord with me was Kushner’s advice that workflow and productivity data need to be incorporated into opportunity and campaign success metrics.

“You need to know how many leads you made, but you also need to know if PM is on task to get the campaign out the door,” she said. “If you look at these data separately .. it breaks meaningful ROI because you really don’t know the full investment you’ve made to execute that campaign.”

Our team at True Influence is always working to improve our internal processes, so hearing how that can be recognized in revenue analysis is encouraging. In fact, most of my conversation with Kushner, part of the True Influence Accelerating Revenue Series, focused on the opportunities all these data presents.

But for any of this to work, as Kushner says, the data must be:

  • In the right place
  • Accurate
  • Accessible to the marketers

Other topics we covered include:

The Value a Customer Adds Can Take Many Forms

Understanding how much it actually costs to market to (as well as support) a customer can greatly impact the lifetime value of an account, a metric Kushner said has always been imperfect when based on booked revenue.

It takes about seven times as much money to win a new customer As to serve an existing customer, she says, and so losing a customer is far more serious than many companies realize. It’s a strong argument for breaking down data silos (like you need another one) and incorporating customer service reports alongside sales and marketing metrics.

This approach can help avoid the conflicts between sales and marketing when a customer really needs to be fired, she says. But she’s also quick to add that customers can bring value that goes beyond booked sales. Kushner once worked with an extremely demanding customer who didn’t spend a lot, but who used his clout as an industry insider to bring other lucrative contracts her way.

All of these factors can, and should, be measured as data is used to optimize the business.

You Have To Know Who (and What) Your Customer Is

Any big company probably has three or four representations of the same prospect: company email, personal email, side business email, and social account. Rationalizing all that data down to a single, agreed-upon entity that the whole company calls a “customer” can be a difficult problem, and one that CMOs are uniquely positioned to address.

“Sales will say “don’t go talk to my customer,” Kushner says, “but you can’t say your customer is ATT, no matter how big you are. … A ‘customer’ is just not the name on the side of the building.”

As a central hub of customer data, she adds, marketing is in a great position to step in and define how accounts, corporate divisions, buying group roles, and individual personas combine to create a “customer.”

Marketing Can Be The “Glue” For The Big Picture Puzzle

If Kushner were a CMO today, one of her top hires would be a team member who grasps the general concepts of data management and analytics, and can have a conversation with the CFO or the CIO – whoever has ultimate control over the company’s data.

These team members would be the “glue” between services, HR, sales, and all the other teams and marketing. They would be point on how the whole organization is communicating with and about data, which makes perfect sense, because marketing is usually where people come first for customer info.

Check Out The Episode!

Be sure to check out our full conversation with Theresa Kushner on your favorite platform.

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