Whether your CRM (customer relationship management) is home-grown or a name brand, your business likely has some sort of solution to capture customer and prospect information. Your CRM is home to your customer’s sales journey – before, during and after the sale. It’s where marketing extracts the data necessary for lead-generating and brand-building campaigns, and where the handoff occurs between marketing-qualified (MQL) and sales-qualified (SQL) leads. If you want your print business to thrive, it’s important to embrace the role that data plays in the prospect-to-customer journey. The more you can manage the flow of information and learn from the data, the more it can be leveraged to impact your bottom line. Looking at the data through a variety of lenses, you can isolate the information that will help you embrace and then entice a new generation of print buyers. Once you know what to look for, where to find it and how to use it, you have the power to:
- Convert prospects into customers more quickly
- Extend the lifetime value of your customer
- Reduce lead acquisition costs
- Deliver sales-qualified leads
Where your data comes from
Today’s print and business buyers consider your company’s website to be their primary source of information long before they reach out to a salesperson – making it an ideal place to capture leads. It’s where orders are placed, content is downloaded, and questions are answered. In addition to your website, there are other areas where data can be captured, often in disparate databases not even tied to your CRM. For example, data captured by your finance department (such as contracts, SLAs, current mailing address, etc.) is likely stored in your accounting system. The data collected at the start of the customer journey typically comes from high-level, ‘short-form’ sources (name, company name, email, etc.) whether it’s from your website, a tradeshow, or other lead-generating activity. As they spend more time learning about how you help them, their journey from prospect to customer evolves.
You can uncover other areas within your company where relevant customer and prospect insights can be gathered, if you think about the entire customer journey, and the various touchpoints along the way, including: telemarketing/inside sales (your front-line folks); sales/business development (the hunters and business-card hoarders); technical pre-sales (they speak feeds and speeds); customer support (they get to know the customer post-purchase); finance (the corporate gatekeepers); and marketing (they nurture MQLs into SQLs).
How your data is used
Here’s where it’s important for everyone to be on the same page – whether your goal is to maximize your tradeshow’s lead-generation efforts or lower how much it costs to acquire leads. Otherwise, you’ll be forever trying to find round data for a square hole. Whether your data comes from external sources (such as Google Analytics or a purchased third-party list) or from various internal databases, the sheer volume of information available can be daunting. Respecting the powerful role that data plays in enticing a new generation of print buyers lets you test targeted marketing campaigns, offers, and content across vertical market segments, geographies, and personas while finding ways to fast-track the lifecycle of a lead.
Find your single source of truth
Printers must also adapt to the changes in print-buyer behaviour. Because managing not just your own data, but also your customers’ data, has taken on a whole new meaning with the demand for an omnichannel experience. The data that you gather helps you build new buyer profiles that go beyond the company information, purchase history and contact information stored in your database. It becomes the single source of truth for how needs have changed, what current challenges they may be facing, and new ways you can help them – with print services and solutions that reinforce why they should keep doing business with you.
Think beyond CRM and finance. How many potential record sources exist for each prospect or customer? How many databases are you maintaining? Think about how many conversation-starting milestones (customer birthdays, contract signing anniversaries and first orders shipped) are being lost in a sea of Outlook calendars and spreadsheets. As you embrace all your data, consider how you’ll maintain that single source of truth and draw upon it to entice a new generation of print buyers.
Joanne Gore is a B2B marketer who’s passionate about print and has spent the last three decades helping companies maximize their marketing and communications efforts. Founder of Joanne Gore Communications, she helps companies tell their story to a new generation of print and business buyers.