How to Use Customer Data in Your Recipe to Success.

This is a guest blog post by Vanessa Rombaut, a featured writer in various publications and websites. She co-authored the book “The Beginner’s Guide to CRM”. She is a Digital Communications Marketer at PieSync. PieSync helps you sync your customer data bi-directionally between your favorite cloud apps and your CRM.

What’s the most valuable asset of your business? Most people would answer the product, or shareholders, or employees. Sure, all of these are valuable, but they’re worthless without customer data. After all, no customers means no revenue.

I like to think of customer data as an essential ingredient of a great meal.  But just like staple ingredients, customer data is versatile. Different ideas about how to use your essential ingredient can turn an otherwise great recipe into a culinary disaster.

Get teams working together on the one recipe.

One day you call a meeting with your sales, marketing, and customer care teams and say “Look, we’ve got some rice. I want you to make something great of it.” You walk away confident that your message has been conveyed and that the results are going to be fantastic.

What happens? The teams go their separate ways with the ingredient and do what they believe is best. Sales decides to make rice pudding, marketing decides they want to make a stir-fry, and customer service comes up with a frittata.

 The same ingredient is going in but the results are vastly different. When it’s time for your teams to mix their results together, you’re going to get a very unappetizing meal.

And the same goes for customer data. Give your teams this raw data, and they’re going to come up with unique ways to deal with it. Software Advice report shared Susan Connor, CRM strategist at SquareBlue Consulting agrees saying, “What we most often find is that individual sales or customer support people create their own spreadsheets that house their contact information and dates of interaction.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. In this case, communicationand, most importantly, collaborationbetween your teams is key. Studies show that high performing sales teams are 57% more likely to come from companies where sales and marketing are aligned.

But it shouldn’t stop there. Your customer service team has a trove of valuable information about your customers in their encyclopedic minds that should be put to good use.

One solution to align your teams is to centralize your data. Jeremy Marsan from Fit Small Business agrees saying, “With Zoho in particular, you can automatically log all emails and phone calls you have with customers. Then, if somebody from another department needs to double-check the order, they can simply search the customer’s name and literally find everything they need. Service agents, likewise, can quickly find purchase history and other important details about their clients.”

Another way to align teams is to create key company-wide documents, such as sales playbooks and customer care procedures, that each team can contribute to. Think of these key documents as the company recipe book that helps your teams stay aligned with the end goal, whether it’s a delicious rice pudding or a frittata.

Let’s look at an example. Your sales teams probably have a playbook, and their objective is to get more sales for their quarter. Your sales book outlines the ideal buyer persona. Great! Get marketing in to help with the ideal buyer persona; it’s their job to know this information inside and out. If marketing understands the outcome of the recipe that sales is making, they can help contribute to their campaigns.

If you have a section in the playbook about the results of sales initiatives, get customer care to collaborate with sales on this. No one else knows your customers more intimately, than your customer care team. They’re the ones fielding questions and complaints post-sale.

Not only are key documents essential for getting the most out of your customer data, and for keeping your teams aligned, they’re  also great for onboarding new employees. Get the most out of your teams by aligning them with the same “recipe.” These overall company objectives will save you time and  will foster a collaborative work environment.

Check and clean your ingredients.

Let’s take the food  metaphor a bit further. You call another meeting and say “Here’s the recipe to a delicious potato-based curry. Here’s a sack of potatoes. Now go make something great!” You walk away thinking nothing can go wrong. 

Your teams open the sack of potatoes and discover the potatoes haven’t been washed.  If your teams decide to cook the whole sack without washing and checking the potatoes, chances are they’re not going to succeed in cooking a great meal.

Similarly, the success of your business rests on the quality of your customer data. However, 75% of businesses believe that a quarter of their customer data is inaccurate.

If your customer database is riddled with duplicates, misspellings, outdated  or incomplete information, it’s difficult to get a hold of your customers.

Clean your data by removing all bounced emails from you mailing lists, use parsing tools to automatically update emails and contact information, and get rid of duplicate data using  dedupe  software.

If you’d like to learn how to clean and de-duplicate your customer data, be sure to download our comprehensive free ebook The Ultimate Guide to Contact Management.

Customer Data is truly the staple ingredient underlying your entire business operations. Make sure you have your teams aligned with common company objectives, be sure to regularly clean and check your data, and you’ll be cooking up a gourmet feast in no time.

 This is a guest blog post

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