2019 will be all about data precision within the now-ubiquitous world of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). It expands on how the data your CRM supplies – versus the CRM platform itself – is responsible for the successes as well as the failure of your programs.
Good and accurate data matters. We already know this to be true. Meanwhile, we can’t seem to go back and re-evaluate our ongoing marketing data initiatives to completely understand if the data at our hand is good enough. And maybe, doing so is similar to admitting to some personal failure. Or maybe it’s the fear of starting again from scratch that prevents us from acting. Either way, when the expectation doesn’t match the reality, a way out is almost always complicated.
The CRM is a goldmine of insights about your customers and at the same time supports your capability to create a positive customer experience.
A CRM offers a more clear picture of who your customers are and your relationship with them at any given point in time. And the data stored within CRM can be leveraged to improve your sales strategies, marketing messaging, and customer service.
In 2019, companies have achieved the confidence needed to continuously reassess their plans by ensuring their preferred CRM solution is located with workable, quality B2B data.
Consistent and accurate information powers your CRM, while unreliable data will impede your efforts
When it comes down to your marketing automation and CRM solutions, you may have noticed that the more solutions you bring in-house, the less likely you are to use each to its full potential.
Similarly, in 2019, unless you find a way to scale your workforce as per with each new solution, and your teams will continue to tinker away at the facets of each solution and get only shreds of the benefits available.
This is not to say that a bigger workforce contributes to richer adoption and usage; far from it. Not all CRM solutions are built equally, and with the growing proliferation of CRMs, the need for implementation must depend solely on your individual use case. In 2019, before committing your money yet to another solution, more and more marketers find themselves asking: How will this particular platform benefit the goals of my team? What am I looking to gain?
Savvy marketers will put the whistle and bells aside and pay very close attention to what we refer as the “data promise” of every offering. And it’s what within the CRM that counts; it’s what’s being automated that makes a measurable impact.
Moreover, is the data inside is dynamic, accurate and plentiful? And the last thing that a marketer need is a more dispersed solution breeding more dispersed data. So, As the integrations between the solution become more common as well as necessary- the quantity and the quality of data in one solution will understandably need to sync easily with the requirements of the other. In the current age of growing data overload, accurate and consistent data will, therefore, reveal itself as the fuel of a company’s automation and CRM solution.
Data-as-a-Service (DaaS) will complement CRM:
A recent report from Forrester research revealed that 84% of companies admit that the accuracy of marketing data was one of their top marketing weaknesses. The plethora of data sources and CRM solutions evidently hasn’t solved our data problem, so in 2019, something’s gotta give- and it has.
Welcome to “Data-as-a-Service” (DaaS), an approach that essentially delivers a myriad of quality data to your preferred CRM solution. When executed effectively, DaaS can bridge quality data with a company’s CRM and removes the need for more, usually unnecessary tools promising virtually the same thing.
As a result, in the upcoming months, a company’s data management strategy will include better ways to permeate, and finally serve, truly usable data from inside a centralized system. Example, consider having access to a continuous influx of accurate account and contact data, all funneled directly into your CRM. And this is possible with DaaS. In 2019, with the help of DaaS, an organization’s messy state of data will become unified under a collective agreement of putting data first.
Easier said than done? Yes. But just look to tomorrow, where our consistently growing dependence on more and more CRM solution, initially created to tame a seemingly ceaseless flood of inaccurate and outdated data, will start to unravel, giving way to valuable and coherent data.
Usually, though, the CRM is treated as a catch-all for data on the customers. And it is not strategically used or organized efficiently by sales and marketing teams.
AS with any collection solution, it gathers junk over time. And it makes utilizing the data for creating experiences, personalization, and service more challenging.
The capability of a CRM to help you execute the simplest marketing tasks effectively is ultimately pinned to the quality of the data it contains within. And this especially pertains to its use in more complex strategies employed along the buyer’s journey like segmentation, demand generation, and lead nurturing.
How much of your CRM data isn’t clean?
Data enters a CRM is many ways that include both mass import and manual input. And controlling the entry process of data into a CRM can be quite challenging. So, managing data quality after data has entered into a CRM presents a different set of challenges.
Some data simply decays naturally over time. People are always on the move, changing their jobs and their contact details, or moving to new locations while making their previous contact data obsolete.
Meanwhile, some data may enter the CRM solution incorrect from the outset.
Based on a customer survey over 15% of the email addresses on the marketing lists are invalid. And importing such lists adds those errors to your database. On the other hand, some of the poor data is collected at the point of entry by users submitting their contact information incorrectly in web forms with typos across your entire digital landscape.
Managing and controlling data means ensuring the data is standardized, the system is free of duplicates, and the information is timely and accurate.
According to the Sales & Marketing Institute, every 30 minutes:
- 120 company addresses change
- 75 phone numbers change
- 20 CEOs leave their jobs
- 30 new businesses are started
That’s quite a lot of data to be kept updated. But when CRM data is clean, you have a clearer picture of whom your customers are or when their data has changed.
The competitive advantage of quality data
You can add even more valuable data to the CRM as the relationship with your customer progresses. You can amass a detailed buying history and gather specific information that is relevant to your customer’s demographics, preferences, and more.
Specifically, these insights can be leveraged to build rapport with customers and improve brand affinity. And it is without a doubt that your competitors are already trying the same through their CRM. However, the brand that truly thrives is the one that couples clean data with insightful data.
Meanwhile, you can have every customer data available. But if their email address is not correct, or the customers are duplicated that are actually different people, then your perfectly designed marketing strategy doesn’t deliver the way you indented- or even at all.
Data quality’s role in guiding the buyer journey
If you plan to leverage your CRM to help you guide your buyer’s journey, then it’s especially critical to implement a process and the right tools to clean up your data and avoid bad data from entering the system in the first place.
Additionally, to activate more complex marketing initiatives with increased effort and bigger spend behind them, the data has to be viable.
1. Making lead nurturing more successful
The lead nurturing process is an essential part of even the fastest buying cycle.
Each buyer goes through a journey from first hearing about your product or service, to recognize its true potential as the right choice, and to finally buying it. And knowing where your customers are and- equally important, isn’t- in this journey is largely powered by the data in your CRM.
And with quality data, you will start to identify patterns emerge in what works and what doesn’t. Creating this visibility fosters trust in CRM data as well as in the insights it provides.
According to Marketo, organizations that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost.
When the system is not cleaned up, organizations end up wasting their valuable time connecting with the wrong buyer or sending misaligned communications because the CRM served up foggy data about the lead.
2. Better customer segmentation
The segmentation of customers through targeted campaigns is not new. But, even so, it can still be tricky, especially if your data isn’t up-to-date or correct.
In fact, poor data quality can render your segmentation efforts useless if a customer is accidentally misidentified and receives the wrong campaign as a result. This misalignment can result in the inability to effectively monitor the trends in the data and relate it to the failure or success of the campaign.
3. Giving demand generation its best chance
Knowing more and more about your customers and their buying behavior means you can more intelligently create demand for your products or services.
It is easy to see how everyone in the company benefits from these insights:
The marketing team creates and tailors campaign messaging as well as the best time to send it.
- The product team learns what products are favored and sets pricing strategies that encourage and trigger customers to take action.
- The management team makes more accurate sales forecasts.
- The sales team focuses on offering the best, most timely solutions.
- It is also easy to understand how these strategies, campaigns, and forecasting can be off-target if the data you’re working with to generate these insights is not correct.
According to an IBM report, bad data accounts for trillions of dollars spent annually by U.S. companies. And its impact can have a domino effect on not just marketing, but many business decisions.
Where should you start with prioritizing data quality?
Accumulating data in your CRM shouldn’t be your primary focus.
Instead, focus more on the successful implementation of a long-standing data quality program that easily aligns your business strategy with your marketing execution. One of the best places to start on your data quality journey is by doing an audit to completely understand how much cleaning is needed. At validity, we provide email and duplicate scan to help perform that audit. And there are several 3rd party tools available as well. As the core goal is to boost the native functionality of your CRM and help you implement and establish a data quality process.
In the end, it will put you one more step closer to being not only a data-driven company but also as a highly competitive one.
While 2018 turned out to be a great year for CRM as organizations realized the full extent of and functionalities and paved the way for automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and Internet of Things (IoT).Meanwhile, big data cemented its place as the source of all good things when it comes down to the customers but things took a turn for the worse when the world caught up with lackluster security protocols in the virtual ecosystem. So, from here thing only go uphill, because CRM is a household name and everyone wants a piece of this cake.
Let’s discuss some of the top CRM trends to look out for in 2019;
CRM Goes Mainstream
The CRM industry is truly evolving beyond its reach and 2018 has already shown how the mainstream industry has caught on with it. And now, more and more organizations look for a CRM solution early on their existence.
The multitude of benefits in terms of customer retention, acquisition, and management are the hallmarks that make CRM a must-have software solution. Salesforce and SugerCRM still hold the top spots when it comes to the best but expect to see even more CRM vendors to sprout in 2019, providing mid-scale or basic services at cheaper rates to target the SMEs. However, a word of caution; the rise of privacy regulation and the GDPR regarding data is quite serious stuff, so choose a CRM vendor that guarantees data privacy. The two big vendors in the CRM industry, Salesforce, and SugerCRM, are both GDPR ready.
Artificial Intelligence and Marketing Automation Take Center Stage
The year 2018 paved the way, 2019 has and is still cementing their footing! AI is really here and the amazing benefits if offers to organizations globally mean that it’s not going away any time soon. CRM with AI makes for a very interesting combination that brings proactiveness and order to customer management and support. Expect organizations around the world to leverage AI in the areas beyond customer support in 2019 to achieve a competitive edge. Spam filters, voice-to-text functionalities, smart searches, sales forecasting, and sentimental analysis are all the areas can do a lot more with AI. For starters, take a look at how Amazon Alexa has revolutionized AI.
As for the other half of the sales cycle, expect the marketing automation to secure a solid footing in the majority of the operations and tasks. Organizations can grow their marketing to new heights as the bulk work gets automated; expect cutting edge solutions and competition in n2019.
Mobile CRM Takes Over!
Mobile CRM offers its users the core CRM functionalities on the go and also brings an entirely new range of possibilities. The year 2018 saw Mobile CRM breakthrough for sales teams. And with the CRM functionalities on their phone, the sales teams improved their productivity by closing more deals and managing their clients on the go. Also, being constantly connected to the CRM, your sales representative are always just a touch away from your clients. And certain CRM integrations can add to the diverse functionality of Mobile CRM and improved data quality. On the other hand, Mobile CRM ensured new data into the database in real-time and increased CRM adoption rates with its multi-device adaptability.
In 2019, organizations started to dig deeper into years of customer data to personalize experiences for their customers. And the top rule to retain customers is making them feel valued. So, if you as a company can target your customer’s needs prior to the customer himself, you’ve hit gold. Years of data in CRM can be used to do exactly that. Meanwhile, the world is moving into a territory where the customer experience will evolve to become the core differentiator, and deep personalization is the quickest way to it. Leverage your customer data to better understand your customers, identify their needs, preferences, wants, and then personalize the experience with the help of AI to make them feel valued.
Things may take a different route but they will still have many strings attached to the core differentiators that we mentioned in this article. The world of technology is highly volatile and it takes very little to change the course of things; who saw GDPR coming into effect in 2018? Nonetheless, the focus on automation, AI, and data are where we see the CRM industry heading, but then again, who’s to say they’re not there already.