Marketers live and die for data. We want it, to understand our customers and our prospects. We need it to analyze our programs and our own effectiveness and — well — it makes us feel good to have it. Doesn’t it?Usually, having more of something is awesome. Who wouldn’t want more dessert, more free time, more money, and in B2B marketing, more leads and more sales? But too much data is not a good thing and more leads doesn’t always equate to more sales.Just because you can capture all kinds of data, doesn’t mean it is the right data.
The important thing to remember about data is that you should only ask for and retain what is relevant. When creating a demand generation program and building the corresponding forms to capture prospect data, think about what you really need to know. Don’t ask initially for information that you can’t use right now. Don’t bother with BANT (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe) – it usually isn’t accurate and it’s certainly not necessary in order to get a prospect interested in your solution.Keep it simple. Ask for email and company name first. Maybe title too – but you should test to see how that affects your conversion rates for form submissions. With just that basic data, you can better connect with a prospect. You can segment on company (think a targeted account approach) or title (event invite for CMOs only). You can start to build out an ideal customer profile with just email, company name and title. Yes, of course, you will want to add more data over time, but keep it simple to start with.
In an article in DM News last August entitled,“Why Small Data is the Next Big Thing for Marketers” Allen Bonde talked about making data more approachable, actionable and accessible, and that is important to remember.Data is supposed to provide insight and the information you need to connect with your customer or buyer. So think about what you NEED to have to better understand your buyer when you gather data. Additional questions (progressive profiling) to ask during the next content conversion include things like CRM type, marketing automation platforms and biggest marketing challenges. Why? This information is relevant and will help build out the buyer profile. Again, think about how you can better connect with customers or buyers when you have this information to help better solve their problems.
It’s not about gathering the data, it’s about gathering the right data.Data is hugely important for marketing and sales and can be significant for future product development as well. We can learn a great deal about our buyers and their behaviors from the data we gather. Just make sure you only gather what you need and what you can use to better connect with your buyers. Don’t drown in data you can’t use.