Create, Manage and Make the Most of Customer Data - Part 1
This is the first, of a two-part series, where we go over how companies can use the customer data they’ve accumulated to improve their processes, workflows, customer relations, and more.
We supposedly live in the era of Big Data, yet businesses everywhere aren’t able to get the most out of the data they have to improve their customer relations or make better-informed marketing decisions. That could be because there is too much data which hasn’t been organized properly, irrelevant data that doesn’t translate into results, or the results take too long to formulate due to a lack of automation.
Preparing to Collect Data
Before a company starts collecting data, they must first establish a policy on how the data will be collected stored and managed. Companies need to make sure to communicate that to their contacts that their data is being collected in good faith, that their privacy is a priority, and their data is not to be shared or sold to a third party. It is also important to audit how the data is stored and safeguarded to make sure it’s protected properly.
Writing down such a policy will not only give customers the assurance they need to trust a company with their data, but also ensures that everyone in the company knows what is expected of them when using the data. For example, it could be mandated that all customer data must be stored in a protected software such as a CRM instead of written on a notepad that anyone can just take.
Once a policy is in place, companies need a way to organize their customer data, and a CRM is the tool they’ll need. First, to import all of the available customer data, while making sure that custom fields are configured for their business. And second, to devise methods of quickly and efficiently capturing the data of new contacts.
It’s crucial to map out the customer’s buying journey as well as the selling process, to define what data is important to the customer and to the sales team to help customers move forward in their decision-making process. It’s also vital to use a CRM which allows flexible configuration of custom fields, custom databases not only to capture the relevant data in an organized manner, but also to visualize it.
Common Mistake #1: Companies just try to grab all of their information they can without defining what they need. This leads to Data Noise, where they collect too much and don’t know what’s important.
Capturing the Data
Once the configuration of data is complete, the next step is creating ways to automatically capture the customer data from multiple channels.
The most basic ones are Web-to-Lead and Web-to-Opportunity forms, which allow customers to enter their own data and have it safely collected into a CRM.
Consumers expect to give a certain amount of data when researching or shopping online, so they will give required data when prompted but it’s important to remember not to ask for too much at one time. Use the mapped out buying journey and selling process to spread out the inquires. Companies can get some data when people sign up for a newsletter, more when they book a call with an agent or make an online purchase, and more detailed when asking for reviews or to fill out surveys.
Common Mistake #2: Long forms to capture data can discourage users from submitting, and they can just go to a competitor that isn’t requiring as much.
Companies can also create incentives to submit data such as filling out forms to get free resources, such as whitepapers, eBooks, downloadable content and more.
Next week we’ll discuss how to set up a CRM to sort through and automate the data to help customers move through their buying journey.