“IF WE HAVE DATA, LET’S LOOK AT DATA. IF ALL WE HAVE ARE OPINIONS, LET’S GO WITH MINE”
When time is short and certainty is needed there is no substitute for data. Removing subjectivity and opinion from strategy enables the business to establish what scope and scale of growth is possible and where to focus. Collecting and correlating data to provide both a big picture and a sharp focus is necessary to form the basis of any effective marketing strategy and plan.
Most companies ‘have’ CRM but few harness its true power, seeing it as a software system rather than a machine for insights. Used effectively and in conjunction with market industry information, macro data sets, trend analysis and a creative approach (both in data and marketing terms), CRM can provide the keys to growth in many ways.
Clearly customers are critical to growth; understanding your current customers’ purchasing habits, opinions and preferences can help steer your business in the right direction. Using the latest analysis, we can begin to understand customer behaviour driving potential of not only future sales, but product development, service level requirements, and new customer acquisition.
Retention of core customers during accelerated growth is essential, depending on your sector, as visible accelerated growth can ring alarm bells for some customers. Your approach to CRM can help you effectively monitor and respond to this unease. Where needed, it can work in reverse and help you shed the customers who no longer align with your strategy or who drag down your resources. Nothing affects growth as quickly as a poorly performing, unprofitable customer who is over-utilising your precious resources.
Critically CRM also helps us respond to changes when the numbers don’t always work in our favour. Similarly, the sensible management of data can help us predict blips or issues before they become catastrophes; realigning marketing outputs as appropriate to change. Too often a marketing plan is slavishly followed despite everything else changing: flexibility is a critical factor in growth.
In the absence of a rich data picture, any strategy or plan is likely founded on opinion and is therefore already weakened. Given most businesses heading toward a financial event are on fixed and often constrained timescales, a mistake made here can negatively affect an event’s timing by years.
REAL WORLD EXAMPLE – A client approaching an investment needed a firm picture of the scope and scale of the market for their products. Following our investigation they discovered a huge amount of valuable data within the organisation that the sales or marketing departments were unaware of. We correlated with external market data and industry trend data to not only create a compelling story for investors, but also a foundation for the refinement of the sales and marketing growth strategy.
Any future investor will pay great attention to market scale and opportunity, so it makes financial and strategic sense to do this work early and reaps the benefits in marketing effectiveness. Ultimately, data affords management certainty in a way that is critical for companies growing to a deadline.
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