Establishing a Single View of Your Customer Doesn’t Need to be a Massive Project
Customers conduct most of their decision-making in the shadows of the internet, away from the view of the businesses looking to sell to them. Currently, 80-90% of the buyer’s journey is completed before they even reach out to a sales team, which means it’s too late for marketing to have much influence in the process.
Data is a core part of this process, particularly intent data. However, for businesses, intent data can seem like a daunting buzzword – especially when considering it requires AI. As a result, establishing a single customer viewpoint is entangled in associations with large-scale overhauls of infrastructure and the work of data analysts.
Yet, with so many tech developments, the process has become much more simplified and accessible to businesses that would benefit from knowing their customer journeys better.
In this blog, I’m going to delve into how businesses can establish their approach to a single customer viewpoint right from the very beginning.
Understand the importance of intent data in today’s business
Intent data is exactly what will outline who your business needs to talk to in order to identify more opportunities. A lot of people get scared off by ‘intent data’ through fear that it will require a cultural and process overhaul, however many people are already using it without knowing.
First-party intent data is all the information that shows how customers and prospects have interacted with your business, and is most likely sat in your CRM. Third party data – from organisations such as Dun & Bradstreet – can show who else is in the market and talking to potential prospects. A single viewpoint of the customer can be shaped when all this information is consolidated into one place, which you can do through solutions such as Account 360.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew
Start small and basic, and build upon your initial efforts when consolidating your data. A lot of times, businesses fall down on their data-driven projects by aiming for perfection. They hold off until they’ve got all the expensive technology in place and all the processes ironed out but for most, this is a utopia that never comes.
Instead, get stuck into the basics:
1. Focus on using data that identifies key customers and opportunities.
2. Make sure you have good quality data governance. Remember it’s better to have quality over quantity because if you’re simply feeding your business rubbish data, you’ll get rubbish results.
3. Pinpoint a clear measure of success. If you’re able to prove results as you roll out your data processes, you’re more likely to gain buy-in.
I would also just outline that it’s totally normal to have mistakes made during this transition. For example, someone may accidentally be messaged twice as you move data around. That doesn’t mean the wheels of your project will come off. Learn from it, and see it as a step closer to understanding your customer and the processes around them better.
Don’t let AI put you off
The very mention of AI makes the consolidation of data feel like an overwhelmingly complex task. However, AI is an essential tool in data analytics and actually makes the process of gaining a single viewpoint on the customer journey easier.
There’s no way that someone could manually assess the volume of customer data you will accumulate with the immediacy you need to target your prospects. AI simply helps you do things faster, better, and broader.
Decide how you’re going to use your single customer viewpoint
If you successfully consolidate all your data and information into a single viewpoint you should be able to see where prospects and customers are in their decision-making process, who they’re talking to, and what their needs are. This is exactly what Dun & Bradstreet’s Account 360 does.
From this, your marketing and sales team should be able to identify the best way to target a prospect or customer. For example, if they’re right at the beginning of the customer journey, marketing channels will be the best approach. If they’re sat at the end of the customer journey, a prospect is nearly ready to buy, meaning it would be more suitable for the sales team to approached them.
The insights gleaned from having a more accurate view of the customer can be used across multiple marketing strategies, but all will benefit from a sharper focus. For instance, we’ve seen this data used for demand gen, one-to-many account-based marketing, and performance marketing.
Ultimately, business is all about knowing the customer. And as digital transformation continues to move forward, being able to target prospects at the most helpful moment will become crucial to obtaining their business. The customer data you’re already using means you’ve already taken the first step to embracing a better customer experience and greater sales and marketing alignment, so don’t stop there. Continue edging towards the single customer journey viewpoint that your business and your customers need.