Commonly at the top of “Biggest Marketing and Sales Mistakes” lists is not collecting the right information from customers – but knowing you are collecting the wrong information and actively collecting the right information are two completely different things. If you are searching for direction on what consumer data your B2B should be paying attention to, look no further. This guide will not only list what data your business needs to capture but also explain why and how you should go about it.
Basic Identification Information
It is dramatically harder to track down your customers when you don’t know who they are. That’s why you need to collect some basic identification information whenever a client makes contact with your business. Almost as soon as someone from a potential client company reaches out to you – by navigating to your website, making a phone call or ambling through your office doors – you should ask for this simple data:
Company name. Since you are a B2B, your clients are an entire organization, not just one contact. Therefore, it is more important that you know the name of the company than the name of an individual contact, who might leave, get transferred or otherwise no longer be in communication with you.
Contact name. More likely than not, your initial contact will not be the person you most often interface with. Indeed, most businesses have several points of contact, none of whom are the ultimate decision-maker. Still, you need to have at least one individual’s name to start with.
Job role. Again, the initial contact will likely be an assistant or junior employee. Knowing the job role of your contact allows you to tailor your product sales and information to their needs or authority level. Then, you can ask for more important decision-makers as the sale progresses.
Email address, phone number, mailing address. You need at least one way to contact your clients, but the more contact methods you have, the better. Most often, you will primarily communicate through email or over the phone, but having a mailing address is useful for sending products and invoices.
Current Position and Challenges
Finally, you need to pay attention to how your clients are communicating with you and how they are reacting to your messages. You should ask questions about their needs and challenges to determine what products suit them, but you should also track how quickly and how positively they respond to different types of outreach as well as marketing messages. Some clients respond better to promotions or sales events; others obviously prefer a customized, personal, account-based strategy. By tracking this type of data, you can improve your conversion rates and ensure positive, productive relationships with clients.
Next, you need to know the buying characteristics of different types of clients. While you can try to collect this data directly from your clients, you will gain a more comprehensive view of your audience and individual buyer personas by performing research and analyzing previous buyer data. Ideally, you will become well-versed in leveraging B2B intent data, so you can catch clients exactly when they are ready to make a purchase. To track this, the type of information you will want to collect includes:
Decision-making units. You don’t want to waste much time selling your products or services to low-level employees who lack the authority to pull the trigger. As soon as possible, you should identify decision-making units and get in contact with them, so you can negotiate more efficiently and seal the deal.
Buying process. You need to know how a purchase gets approved and how long the whole process takes. This will prepare you for the wait, whether it is exceptionally lengthy or surprisingly brief.
Buying cycle. Each business has its own buying cycle – which could last two weeks or two decades. You need to understand a client’s buying cycle before you devote too many resources to attracting a client that won’t make a purchase for years or more.
Buying journey. A client’s buying journey is better understood as how they have attempted to fill their needs in the past. For example, maybe they have tried competitors’ products and found them lacking. You should know what products clients have tried or researched, so you can better sell them your options.
Knowing who your clients are, what they want and how they buy is critical to providing a positive experience for you and your clients. B2B selling isn’t always as straightforward as B2C, but by collecting the right data and acting upon it, you’ll watch prospects transform into leads and convert right before your eyes.
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