“Big Data is the biggest game-changing opportunity for marketing and sales since the Internet went mainstream almost 20 years ago.” (Forbes)
Big Data this. Big Data that. The term has been bouncing around the marketing universe for a few years now, even more so in the last year. But, what IS Big Data? Well, not to be obtuse, but Big Data is just that: big data. It’s data analytics- the collection and examination of information- on steroids. It’s the ginormous sets of data that are created in today’s world of digital and social media. For my own sanity, we’ll just say data for the rest of this post.
This data is coming at B2B marketers harder and faster than ever before. It comes from things like:
- Your company’s website
- Number of visits per month
- Number of visits per page
- Names, titles, employers of those who visit your site (if you’re smart enough to have a website member area)
- Number of minutes someone spends on your site
- What’s being downloaded
- Search Engines (Google, etc.)
- The words that are driving people to your site
- The most popular search terms in your industry
- Social Media
- Number of fans, followers, etc.
- Analysis of these fans, followers (Who are they? Where are they from? What companies? What industries?)
- Who’s commenting?
- What’s being shared?
I could go on and on, but I’m preaching to the choir. If you’re reading this, you know that there are almost unlimited ways that you can gather data on prospects and customers. The question then becomes…what are you doing with all of this information?
“Those that use Big Data and analytics effectively show productivity rates and profitability that are 5 – 6 percent higher than those of their peers. McKinsey analysis of more than 250 engagements over five years has revealed that companies that put data at the center of the marketing and sales decisions improve their marketing return on investment (MROI) by 15 – 20 percent. That adds up to $150 – $200 billion of additional value based on global annual marketing spend of an estimated $1 trillion.” (Forbes)
What you do with your data depends largely on two factors: the size of your data pool and the size of your marketing team, but here are some things that companies of all sizes should consider.
1. Map your top prospects’ behaviors: Map your prospects by tracking their digital interactions with you. What do they open, click on, link? What pages do they visit? What do they download?
2. Identify your purchasers, and then branch out: Identify prospective purchasers, and use this as a starting point to map out his or her sphere of influence.
3. Don’t wait!: If a prospect is nibbling, contact them sooner rather than later. And don’t, under any circumstances, send a generic email. Pick up the phone!
4. Know the B2B Customer Decision Journey: Contact, nurture and delivery sales-ready prospects to your sales team.
Here’s a real-life example.
Tool: Online Member Area
Specifics: In order to access e-tools, users are required to register their names, emails, locations and company names. They also have the option to give specific application or industry information.
Result: Company has database of more than 20,000 members, broken down by sign-up date, location and whether or not theses members are current or prospective customers.
For this particular real-world example, the company is a part of a multinational corporation and offers complex e-tools and services targeted at engineers.
Now ask yourself: if this situation existed in your company, how would you go about converting these leads? Sure, you could set up some sort of automated system where anyone who signed up would receive an email and a kind of ‘we are aware of your interest’ letter.
But what if these leads require immediate action? Do your sales engineers have the resources and time to make that happen? More honestly, do they even care about these leads? Let’s be blunt. A lot of sales engineers are territory-driven, so they don’t want to spend their already stretched-thin time focusing on leads that won’t affect them.
Here’s how Connects can help:
Your new members are downloaded and contacted via phone within 24 hours of registration. Through a well-thought-out conversation based on a pre-determined set of questions, your inbound web leads are qualified (either in OR out) and turned into hot, actionable sales leads ready to be handed off to a sales engineer.
The bottom line: Big Data can almost be overwhelming, but to not have a system in place to take advantage of it is almost a criminal waste of marketing dollars.