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B2B marketing hamstrung by disconnected data

16th January 2017 • Opinions

by Judith Niederschelp, MD, Aberdeen Group Europe

In a golden age of data, Aberdeen Group Europe’s MD asks why so many B2B marketers are not satisfied with their ability to use it effectively.

Customer experience management is the darling of B2B Marketing at the moment. Study after study underlines the powerful role it can play enhancing lead nurture and driving revenue growth. The success or failure of CEM hinges on an organisation’s ability to deliver highly personalised interactions geared towards buyers’ of-the-moment needs. To achieve this, marketers need to derive timely, meaningful and reliable insights from their data.

However, this is easier said than done. A study we conducted across 154 senior B2B marketers indicates that 85 per cent are not satisfied with their organisation’s ability to use data to make informed decisions.

Why is this? In the digital age, B2B organisations have more data – both structured and unstructured – at their fingertips than ever before. They are active across multiple communications channels and capturing a wealth of information surrounding customer behaviour and sentiment.

In theory, this should be fuelling better interactions with customers. In reality, the more data a business has, the harder it can be to pinpoint pertinent information. But the true problem is not data volume, it’s data disconnect. Many organisations are failing to join up their multiple data sources, and it is seriously undermining their CEM ambitions.

We compared the performance of ‘best in class’ data users – the 15 per cent who are satisfied with their ability to use data – versus ‘all others’. Best in class were significantly reducing response times to customer requests as well as boosting customer retention and satisfaction. They were also enjoying much higher average profit margins. This all translated into better revenue growth: 128 per cent higher than that experienced by all others.

Efficiency of data use also has a fundamental impact on employee productivity. In the majority of organisations we spoke to, revenue producing staff were spending around 11 per cent of their time looking for and verifying the data they needed to engage with customers. If you take an average salary of £30,000, this translates to a business cost of £3,300 per employee per year wasted due to data silos.

Disparate data systems, resulting in siloed views of customer data, cause businesses to fall behind in their CEM programs. They are unable to integrate the vast amounts of structured and unstructured data they capture, or to provide stakeholders with easy and timely access to the resulting insights.

Best in class organisations are typically taking proactive steps to address systems integration. They are using tools such as master data management to eliminate data silos and create a single source of reliable information. Consolidating data in this way creates a foundation stone for excellent CEM where buyer conversations are personalised and messaging is consistent across all channels at all times.

Companies that invest in frameworks to facilitate cohesive, data-driven customer experiences can steal a march on competitors that are constrained by disconnected data. In the digital age, this is a critical driver of growth.


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