Lee Blakemore, CEO of Introhive, pioneers B2B Customer Intelligence, turning relationships into revenue.
The B2B buying landscape has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years. Advances in technology and the internet have rendered customers more knowledgeable, necessitating a shift in sales teams’ strategies. In the current scenario, sales teams must extract meaningful insights from the data amassed across various customer platforms—spanning CRM, MAP and prospecting tools—to craft suitable sales strategies for each prospect.
Research conducted by Forrester indicates a considerable uptick in buying interactions, from 17 in 2019 to 27 in 2021. Additionally, purchasing decisions involving four or more individuals rose from 47% to 61% during this period. In 2022, a striking 82% of respondents acknowledged that complex purchases involve anywhere from two to nine departments. These trends are primarily propelled by digital transformation and the global pandemic, with buyers conducting online research, involving more stakeholders in the buying process and seeking a more personalized buying experience.
Given the increasing complexity of the buying process, harnessing valuable relationships has become crucial for B2B sellers. Interpreting trends associated with your organization’s existing relationships can help prioritize accounts more inclined to buy and salvage those customers who might be wavering. However, most contact record databases are often antiquated and inadequate to furnish the insights contemporary firms need to bolster revenue.
Understanding Customer Intelligence
Customer intelligence is a process that aggregates, refines analyzes and presents revenue-centric insights from customer and prospect data to enhance sales and marketing initiatives. Customer intelligence platforms capture an organization’s real relationships—those individuals engaging in a bilateral relationship with the company—and support sales teams by capturing activity data, enriching contact data and seamlessly adding it to the CRM. This empowers B2B sales teams to concentrate not on data entry but on formulating the most effective sales strategy for their accounts.
Nevertheless, comprehensive and accurate data is merely the beginning. Customer intelligence should offer sales and marketing teams actionable insights. These insights could identify VIP contacts for the next marketing event, determine near-term likely buyers and highlight customer accounts requiring more attention. Customer intelligence grants sales teams a profound understanding of their customers’ relationships with the company. It should rely on trusted, accurate and updated data.
As CEO of a B2B customer intelligence platform, I can say firsthand that it is crucial for professional services organizations for several reasons. Firstly, it can assist marketing teams in prioritizing the company’s most crucial relationships for upcoming marketing campaigns, directly supporting sales in pipeline creation. Secondly, customer intelligence can empower sales teams to close more deals by offering relationship insights, thereby enabling them to prioritize near-term prospective closures and devise a personalized approach to win them over. Lastly, customer intelligence can aid customer success teams in enhancing customer satisfaction by identifying relationship trends and proactively providing support and engagement before any account risks attrition.
Leveraging Customer Intelligence
Customer intelligence can be utilized to amplify sales and marketing efforts. Here are a few instances:
• Enhancing Data Quality: Customer intelligence captures and enriches contact and activity data related to actual relationships between account teams and prospective and current customer accounts.
• Measuring Relationships: Customer intelligence can measure real-time relationships between individuals and accounts to aid the go-to-market strategy.
• Boosting Customer Retention: Customer intelligence can detect customers at risk of churning and provide timely assistance. Once these at-risk customers are identified, sales teams can undertake measures to prevent them from leaving.
The Benefits Of Customer Intelligence
Customer intelligence offers a plethora of benefits for enterprise revenue organizations. These may include:
• Increased Sales: Customer intelligence can help sales teams identify and close more deals. This can lead to increased revenue for the organization.
• Improved Customer Satisfaction: Customer intelligence can help sales teams provide customers with a better overall experience. This can lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat business.
• Reduced Costs: Customer intelligence can help sales teams be more efficient and effective. This can lead to reduced costs for the organization.
• Increased Competitive Advantage: Customer intelligence can help sales teams gain a competitive advantage by providing them with insights that their competitors do not have. This can lead to increased market share and profits.
• Improved Efficiencies: A customer intelligence platform boosts productivity by automating routine tasks, such as data entry and lead generation, freeing up employee time for strategic activities. It serves as a central hub, promoting effective collaboration and insight-sharing. This combined effect results in superior work quality and customer outcomes.
By gathering, analyzing and applying customer data, account teams can gain insights to help them identify and close more deals, boost customer satisfaction and reduce costs. Here are a few tips for effectively using customer intelligence:
1. Compile data from various sources, including customer interactions, website activity, CRM systems and social media.
2. Analyze the data using a variety of tools and techniques. This will help identify patterns and trends to improve your sales and marketing initiatives.
3. Use the insights you gain to take action. This could mean identifying accounts most likely to convert, personalizing sales and marketing campaigns or building customer relationships.
4. Keep your data up to date. This will ensure that you are always working with the most accurate information.
One of the main challenges of using customer intelligence platforms is handling vast amounts of data. If not managed properly, this can become overwhelming and lead to a lack of actionable insights. Another potential challenge is resistance to change within an organization. Some employees may be reluctant to adopt the new system due to fears about complexity or job security. To address these challenges, companies should ensure that they have a solid data management strategy in place, including data cleaning and integration practices. Additionally, using platforms with robust data visualization tools can help present data in a user-friendly, easily digestible manner that supports decision-making processes.
Companies should also provide adequate training and support to help their employees understand and utilize whatever platform they implement effectively. It is crucial to highlight the advantages of such systems, showing employees how the insights derived from these platforms can help them perform their jobs more effectively, rather than replace them.
Provide plenty of training and support to get your team comfortable with the new game plan. Show them how this isn’t about making their jobs redundant, but making them better. Highlight how insights from the platform can help them perform their jobs more effectively.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can evolve into a customer-intelligent organization.
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