I recently wrote about data integrity and making strategic CRM choices from a marketing perspective. But having clean data in Salesforce (or another CRM) isn’t the end-all, be-all of your success. You also need to think about contact data (gathering it, using it, syncing it) in terms of your marketing program.
Data is at the core of everything marketers do, and working without good data leaves us sort of “driving blind.” I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve been working with a new client account that has a required registration form to access their product catalogs, and their site boasts 5 digit web traffic each month, but they still don’t believe they have any client/prospect data. For some reason they keep the information from their form submissions isolated from their sales and marketing functions and completely purge it every 6 months. It’s a little mind-boggling, from a marketing perspective.
In a world where content is supposed to be king, your data is your kingdom. You will be a sad and lonely ruler of none without effective use of your data.
Here are some ways you can best think strategically about data in terms of inbound marketing:
- Design your operations from the start to capture lead data and create a rich picture of your contacts.
- Towards that end, structure your site so that it includes downloadable content offers requiring an email, or name and email entry.
- Build on your data by fleshing-out your qualified leads’ contact information, such as by Googling for the appropriate LinkedIn profile (try to get company name, job title, city/state, etc.). I prefer to get this detail later rather than upfront because asking for too much information in a download form decreases the likelihood someone will complete it.
- Work towards compiling a record of downloaded offers and website visits, email opens, etc. specific to each contact record (such as is built into to Hubspot) to help identify engagement and areas of interest for future sales opportunities. Here’s a partial screenshot of Hubspot’s contact database:
- As you acquire contact data:
This is where the power of data separates the champs from the chumps: if you have quality data, you’ll be able to exponentially extract results from your marketing efforts. If you have crap data, you can expect relatively crap results.
You want to work towards the goal of closed-loop reporting – integration of sales and marketing data to track the customer across their full life-cycle which is achieved via communication between your marketing software (such as Hubspot, which I use) and your CRM (such as SalesForce, which I also use). I can’t speak to other sales-marketing data integration options, but there are other options available. For more information about closed-loop marketing possibilities with Hubspot and Salesforce, see this ebook.
Some benefits of closed-loop reporting include:
- Better understanding of what works and what doesn’t
- Full picture metrics on the actual cost of acquiring a customer (cost per customer, or CPC)
- Enables marketing goals to be set in terms of actual dollar amounts
- Helps illuminate true ROI for all marketing and sales efforts
- Helps prevent leads from getting lost in the cracks between disjunctured sales & marketing departments
If you follow this inbound path to building a concentrated and focused body of quality data for quality leads that have expressed interest in your business, you will be leaps and bounds ahead of other businesses.
Keep in mind, many businesses still equate marketing with buying contact lists and other practices on par with batch-and-blast email of the early 90’s (now dated, irrelevant, intrusive, largely illegal, and results-oriented only in the sense that it will result in your IP address and domain name being black-balled and blocked). In short, the online marketing equivalent of this retro door-to-door salesman showing up at your house during dinner and calling you from the front porch to see if you are home.
If you’d like to connect with me about data integrity, inbound marketing, or anything else, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Kirsten Meyer | Website
Kirsten Meyer is the owner of KM Strategic Content Marketing, an inbound marketing services provider. She designs and executes user-centric marketing strategies for business growth.