Like any automation process, the most basic expectation from salesforce automation (SFA) tools is to improve efficiency and effectiveness of sales operations. Yet when you look closely, salesforce automation is usually a feature within your CRM or ERP tools to track and manage selling activities and reports, which is just not enough because not all selling are equal. While the sales numbers are not completely owned by marketing, the insights from marketing operations are a key component of sales force automation.
A part of our customer understanding comes from what we think is valuable to our customers, average deal size, repeat purchases, etc. But usually, these insights are narrow and not in real time. While it is one thing to capture data, ingest and get insights – the accuracy of data becomes more important. To create a long-term customer isn’t only about catering to their needs but also being able to pick up their buying signals, understand their behavioral patterns and more importantly, being able to use the insights to personalize their customer experience (CX).
Customer data comes from varied sources such as website forms, social media, email lists, and more. We all come across fake lead information, every now and then. Therefore, as a marketer, this data is not enough. You neither know if the prospect falls under your target industry, organization size, job title, revenue, etc. nor do you know where they are in their purchase cycle. This is where data enrichment as a practice comes into play. Data enrichment apps fill up the gaps of inadequate data or inaccurate information.
With the advent of AI, marketers are moving towards mass personalization and mass hyper-personalization. But the key question is – is it relevant or creepy? Are you using AI effectively and sensibly, so as to not freak out your customers but delight them instead? Unless you discover the right signals, you will invariably be looking at the wrong insights and interpretations, leading to bad intelligence. A significant difference, between coming across as creepy and relevant, depends on how to build a conversation using the insights you have gathered.
As technology advances, marketers are looking at providing unique and more relevant experiences for their prospects and customers. In the age of millennials, no one likes to be marketed to or sold to. A simple yardstick would be to check how many of us have ad blocks on our browsers. Millennials like to be engaged with. This is where we as marketers, can leverage data and machine learning. The right and intelligent augmentation of humans and technology is the future of millennial marketing. And that mix will vary with every enterprise.
While it’s true that data tends to decay over time, you always need to be sure that you are analyzing the right data. As marketers, while we become more and more inclined to a data-driven approach to enable customer experience, the key question to know is “Are we even looking at the right data?” (Or) “Do we have access to the right data?” Put yourself in the shoes of the customer and you’ll realize that most times, great CX need not always be about wowing the customer at every opportunity.
Today’s marketers and salespeople are harnessing technology advancements to unearth insights in real-time, which was unimaginable few years ago. However, the key question is – are we looking at the right data? If our intent is to collect and understand customer feedback, we are looking at only partial information. A lot of information is usually in hidden in what is usually referred to as “dark data” or in simple terms unstructured data. You need to go beyond structured data and demystify the dark data that can give you relevant information.
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an attempt to regulate the source of information and legalize the flow of information based on the prospect or customer’s permission. GDPR is a regulation that defines how organizations need to protect the personal data of EU citizens. If your idea of prospect reach-out was mass emailers, cold calls or anything that intrudes a prospect’s experience – then GDPR is going to affect you badly. However, there is immense opportunity for marketers and sales people to build quality relationships and engagement, and more importantly an opportunity to improve the quality of data you work on.