Data Tracking: The Foundation for Strong Business Development Tactics

May 21, 2015   //   Customer Relationship Management, , , ,

Marketing for mid-size business can be challenging. You may not have the resources of a larger enterprise, but still have a desire to bring your “A Game” when it comes to marketing and sales. How should you effectively allocate your business development dollars? The key is to work smarter.

As a mid-size business you may be fighting to gain brand recognition and leads while racing to meet sales’ need for fresh collateral. Your free time is often spent trying to meet leadership’s demands to provide quantifiable campaign returns. Often we are drowning in spreadsheets, PowerPoint slides and a desire to implement the next great idea. We realize we need technology to get it all done, but obtaining that technology is a challenge because a) you don’t have the budget or b) you have the budget but are still waiting on IT to get to you in their queue of projects. So how do you work smarter?

If you’re looking for the technology roadmap with the best return on investment insights, there are great CRM, marketing and analytics tools geared for mid-size businesses. For those interested in more information on those tools and the pathway we’ve found most successful in this space, as well as some D-I-Y insights, you may wish to consider attending our selling smarter thought leadership series.

The key to implementing any technology, is to first have an awareness of the business development tactics that garner the biggest returns. Here’s some key questions I would first start asking yourself:

  • Who are your high-value customers?
  • How are you segmenting your customers?
  • What defines a qualified lead?

These questions can help initially funnel your business development strategy. For example, let’s take the first question: Who are your high-value customers? The key term in that question is “high-value.” which can be taken many different ways. Companies may look at their top revenue producers for the year and perhaps even draw some conclusions based upon size and industry as to what makes a “high-value” customer. Do you consider profitability, or the cost to service those accounts? How about the number of referrals that they have provided resulting in future sales? Sales can often provide these anecdotal insights that then begins to drive the sales strategy.

The ideal state is to be able to quantify customer value. Anecdotally it’s the outliers that are often shared as they are the most interesting, but that can bias your corporate decision making process. If you’re not tracking your sales information in a way that can be tied back to demographic data, then start. If you’re not tracking each business development interaction, then start. These are two of the primary factors in the difference between a successful CRM implementation and a failed one.

Now let’s say you have the data and a bit of time – where should you start making sense of all that information? Start with identifying your high-value strategic customers. Then begin to calculate your Customer Lifetime Value (LTV). This process can be a little akin to the infamous chicken and the egg, but that’s okay – the assessment itself can provide a depth of insights that direct your tactics. For example, you may start with a prediction that your high-value customers are those that bring in the top 20% of your annual revenues. You may find that this 20% have some similarities – maybe they are all the same size company, or in the same industry or geo-location. Or maybe they all came in through the same sales person or marketing channel. Interesting right? There are a number of additional elements you need to calculate LTV, which at its most basic level it is:

Average Order Value * Number of ‘Lifetime’ Purchases

As you review the different insights that go into creating the calculation, you will learn valuable information regarding your target customer. Researching your target customer in turn, will provide valuable insights as to how to best reach them and where to target those business development dollars. But the foundation? The foundation is to start tracking the data.

If you need help building your foundation to stronger business development tactics contact SWC.

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