In recent years, customer data has decidedly become a central digital marketing asset. As businesses across all industries become increasingly digitized, they seek new ways to both acquire and use data more effectively. A prime example of the former is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, as we at MoversTech have delved into before. However, all the data CRM and other solutions can gather is inconsequential if left unused or mismanaged. Thus, devising effective ways to use customer data is vital toward such strategies and, in turn, business growth. With this in mind, let us explore the most vital among such uses in this article.
Technology in the service of customer-centric strategies
Technology is, of course, the prime facilitator of such efforts. Deep customer insights are pivotal to crafting customer-centric strategies that continue to show merit. Thus, through such solutions as CRM, digitizing businesses continue to find innovative uses for customer data:
- Lead analysis and lead segmentation
- Buyer personas and customer journey mapping
- Personalized marketing outreach
- Brand loyalty
- Data-driven operations adjustment
Naturally, such goals will inevitably vary across businesses depending on their needs and other factors. Still, these are but a few of the many effective ways to use customer data to ensure efficiency, improvement, and growth.
Effective ways to use customer data
Within the above context, customer relationship management can truly shine. With a consolidated customer database and interaction records, CRM can yield troves of valuable, actionable customer data. As direct derivatives of the aforementioned list, here are 5 effective ways to use customer data.
#1 Refine your understanding of your customers
Understanding your customers is a worthy goal by itself, in that it is the bedrock of all other strategies. From choosing the right topics for your blog to personalizing marketing and even powering AI, customer insights are invaluable. It should be no exaggeration that understanding your customers is the pillar of all healthy sales funnels.
In this regard, CRM and other customer collection solutions can provide tremendous customer insights. Instead of engaging in unfocused, costly, and often inefficient operations, you can now rely on such insights to make data-driven decisions.
#2 Enhance your buyer personas and customer journey mapping
A primary example, creating buyer personas and mapping your customer journey are two very effective ways to use customer data. Creating a customer experience strategy arguably begins with buyer personas and their potential journeys, from discovery to purchase and beyond.
In this front, consider the following customer segmentation criteria:
- Age, gender, and marital status
- Education and income
- Occupation and behavioral patterns
These and others can help shape buyer personas for your intended customer base. Then, crafting their customer journey maps can help inform your operations across your sales funnel. Crucially, it helps optimize your sales cycle across all 4 phases of a customer’s journey:
Thus, customer journey mapping can help redirect your transactional focus into 2 commonly overlooked phases; pre-sale and post-sale.
The pre-sale phase includes the discovery and research phase and culminates in a final conversion. Understanding your customers thus allows you to optimize your discovery options, such as targeted marketing, and allows you to address frequent pain points such as pricing. In addition, customer insights allow for more strategic product and service promotion, along with other strategies, to optimize your customers’ research phase.
Similarly, CRM records and other insights can help optimize the post-sale phase. Customer service, support, and engagement – in social media or otherwise – can all help foster long-term relationships and build trust. In turn, this incentivizes recurring customers with all the natural benefits that follow.
#3 Cultivate customer loyalty
A fine-tuned sales funnel, personalized marketing, and swift customer service all culminate into customer loyalty. All the effective ways to use customer data eventually help with customer retention, as insights allow you to offer more long-term value than your competitors.
Understandably, customer retention is a vital factor to consider. Even outside of the scope of customer-centric strategies, is has demonstrable financial benefits. Indeed, acquiring new customers costs much more than retaining existing ones – sometimes up to 6x as much. Furthermore, repeat customers tend to have a higher purchase frequency, as well as make bigger individual purchases. As such, regardless of your marketing approach, enhancing your customer retention can be a highly lucrative endeavor.
#4 Improve sales and customer service
Another key way to use customer data lies in consolidating your teams’ and departments’ goals. With concrete, clear, actionable data in their hands, aligning their goals and improving their cooperation can only become easier.
A frequently examined example of this can be noted in differences between marketing and sales teams. Disagreements on lead nurture, lead quality, and even what constitutes a qualified lead can all hamper your sales funnel. Technology can address such challenges, however. Through CRM, all customer touchpoints can be documented and consolidated into a clear, visible map. In turn, this can help streamline service delivery, while individual service records can inform new interactions.
#5 Inform your operations and refocus if necessary
Finally, customer data can enhance your operations in accord with all of the above. Improved customer insights, personalized marketing, and a closer eye on loyalty can all be massively beneficial. Such effective ways to use customer data can inform your decisions, and at times even reveal the need for refocusing.
Shifting from more traditional, standardized processes and modus operandi to innovative, customer-based practices can be strenuous and costly. However, deep, real-time insights into customer trends and behavioral patterns can make such transitions safe and viable. Personalized, tailored approaches to marketing, sales, and service have demonstrable merit, and can yield substantial rewards. From closer compliance with GDPR to shortened sales cycles, CRM can render customer data your most powerful asset.
To summarize, customer data is the key to customer-centric strategies, outreach personalization, and content optimization. An accurate customer journey map can yield massive benefits to any sales funnel, but it too depends on accurate insights. Fortunately, technology has become the enabler of such approaches, offering unprecedented data collection and utilization options that can drive success.
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