Completing Customer Profiles by Jason Rushin
Sales people have been demanding better leads for a long time and today marketing is in a position to provide them. Marketers have discovered that the kind of data they collect is as important as its volume. It is no longer enough to create programs that capture a small set of demographic data about a customer and hand it over to a sales rep.
A few years ago sales people were happy with a name, title, and a phone number and with that they’d schedule a meeting to capture what was really important — need, budget, the identities of the other decision makers, and more. But today sales people don’t have time to invest in this basic data gathering and with high quotas managers want more meetings that advance sales processes rather than performing simple qualification. So all this has caused marketing to re-think its processes to meet sales’ demands.
Today marketers collect a variety of data through multiple techniques to enrich the leads that they ultimately hand over to sales. This approach also weeds out leads that might look strong but that will never close. With nurturing and enhanced collection feeding more data to analytics the refined leads that marketers are delivering to sales people are a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, that’s not enough any more.
In addition to all the data we collect and analyze to produce sales information, we also need to be mindful of the current situation in target accounts. By definition, situations change almost daily and the information about change, when added to data already collected through other marketing channels can produce a potent combination.
Change information comes in many forms — press releases, earnings reports, news items, analyst reports, and much more. When added to what we already know about our territories and target accounts, it can turn a pile of so-so information into powerful sales knowledge that approaches intellectual property. If you view IP as the sum or a company’s research, knowledge, patents, processes and the like, then you really should add sales knowledge. The knowledge you can develop about your markets and target customers, in relation to your own knowledge, designs, and plans is unique. You own it, no one else has it and it is a competitive weapon.