Good database managers understand data; great database managers understand people. Every data point represents a small piece of knowledge about a real person, but it’s sometimes challenging to see the people those data sets represent instead of just collections of information. With a well-designed database, services that let you make the most of it, and good rapport with your database management team, your data can help you forge stronger connections with your prospects, not separate you from them with a torrent of undifferentiated data.
Taking a Journey with Your Buyers
Leads now do much of the legwork for marketers. In some industries, prospects do more than half the information-gathering they need to make a buying decision before they’re contacted by the sales team – and sometimes even before the marketing team knows their names. The good news is that your prospective buyer doesn’t have to take that journey alone, thanks to data-driven marketing. Your data shows you how to provide useful, relevant content to your audience before you know about them personally. You’re already building the kind of customized user experience prospects now expect when you use data science as a guide for your content marketing strategy.
In B2B marketing, the buyer’s journey is often considerably longer than it is for their consumer-oriented counterparts. From identifying a need to assessing potential solutions to moving through multiple layers of authority on the way to a buying decision, your customers want guidance. Start with answering the specific questions they’re likely to have on the early steps of that journey, and you’re well positioned to walk with them on the next leg: content.
You can only act as a successful guide on the buying journey when you’re thoroughly knowledgeable about the trail and can effectively direct leads’ attention to important points of interest. Marketing automation systems channel prospects down different nurture streams to give them relevant content about their decision-making process. Through the demographic and firmographic data you’ve gathered and stored in your database, you have the raw knowledge you need to create nurture programs that make sense for your leads. What makes a data-driven lead nurture program work is its specificity; you’re addressing your content marketing directly to the people who can make the most use of it.
If you know how to listen, your leads will tell you how you can earn their business. Sometimes they’ll tell you directly, but far more often, you’ll need to do a little digging. Social media excels at giving businesses a window into their prospects’ needs and interests, so tune into your prospects’ social media channels to learn more about them.
By making social media signals part of your data set, you gain the power to guide the conversation. Let’s say, for example, that one of your leads has just shared information about one of your competitors. Combining that piece of information with the behavioral data you already have stored, you can see which product pages this prospect has visited before. That’s your opportunity to send offers based on deeper insight into your prospect’s needs and interests. Give that future customer a chance to share your marketing message, and you gain not only your prospect’s business, but also referral traffic from followers.
Data shouldn’t obscure who your customers are beneath a thick layer of unconnected numbers. It should reveal them as individuals, empowering you to personalize your communications with them.
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