Is your customer’s ability to buy outpacing your ability to sell? Take these 3 steps to stay ahead of customer buying behavior.
Having a single, accurate view of your most valuable customers, their buying patterns, history, and more is not just empowering—it’s essential. Research shows that 57 percent of a typical purchase decision is made by the time a supplier is engaged.1 Once customers make their first contact with you, they’ve already scoped their needs, set priorities, defined requirements, compared solutions, and initially assessed prices, according to The Corporate Executive Board.
If your customer data is out of date or inaccurate, you’ve lost the ability to drive the sale, much less up-sell or cross-sell them. The solution? Take these three actions to ensure that your sales and marketing teams have the information they need.
- Create a single view of your customer. Implement a master data management system to integrate all customer data from across your organization. Develop a single master profile of your customer with that data—no matter where it resides—including third-party information sources and data collected from social sites. Understand their purchasing history, customer support instances, and which organizations and online groups they belong to. Find out about their sentiments and connections. This will give you a 360-degree view of your customer and help identify where to focus your efforts.
- Align marketing automation processes with business objectives. Get sales out of the data collection business and get them to trust the “single best version of the truth.” Provide an intuitive, easy-to-use interface to access, view, and modify master customer data sourced from across the organization. Employ software that recognizes and prevents duplicate data with fuzzy search and duplicate blocking capabilities. Ensure updates to the master customer data are as frequent as the business needs. A consistent and accurate view of customers and their relationships with your organization enables sales to effectively cross-sell and up-sell.
- Adopt a predictive marketing approach. With an accurate understanding of a customer’s purchasing history, satisfaction level, business needs, and role within their organization, marketing is able to develop focused and targeted campaigns. Communicating to customers on topics they are interested in, when they are truly interested in them, is more cost-effective and delivers better results.
Once you’ve completed the above actions, your sales and marketing teams will be ready to proactively target specific customers who have a budget and are ready to spend. Most importantly, they can customize campaigns appropriately and connect with customers in a way that customers prefer. All of which leads to a more effective, more empowered sales organization—one that’s a step ahead of your next customer.
Want to keep up on current topics around “a single view of the customer?” Read Dina Elsokari’s blog highlighting “12 Ways You Can Benefit from a Single View of Your Customers in Your CRM.”
- 1The Corporate Executive Board Company, “10 Trends Every Sales Exec Must Know for 2012,” December 2011.
Corporate Executive Board Company research shows that 57 percent of a typical purchase decision is already made by the time a supplier is engaged.”