Marketing Students: How To Use Company Data To Drive B2B Sales
Successful B2B sales are dependant on being able to build strong relationships with potential clients. In order to do so efficiently, you need to have a good grasp of who they are, along with their needs and preferences. Asking too many questions can seem intrusive and ultimately leave your clients or prospects feeling hassled.
Thankfully, there's another way to gain insights about them, though, and it lies with customer data. Here's how you can use it to your advantage in B2B marketing.
First Step: Getting the Right Data
Before you can start turning insights into action, you need to ensure you have in-depth and accurate data for your clients. The data you've collected should provide you with a complete overview of each client, in order for you to make effective data-driven marketing decisions.
Looking at your previous sales data is a good place to start, as well as the types of interactions you've already had with the client. However, the data currently held in your own CRM alone may be too limited to provide enough useful insights, so it's a very good idea to make use of other sources of information.
This could include sources such as company websites, social media pages, online reviews, reports and press releases, or tax returns. A B2B platform can also often be a time-effective place to start, as they contain a lot of company data, taken from a wide range of sources in one place. Some of this data is provided free of charge, so with a company database UK business insights are publicly available.
Types of Company Data
When it comes to collecting data from third party sources, there are a number of different factors you may wish to take into account. These include things such as:
- Industry - This is an important one as you'll likely be targeting companies in just a few sectors. It will also give you an idea of the needs of the client, and the challenges they're likely to be facing.
- Location - This could be as wide as a continent, or specific as a postcode. Knowing where your client is located geographically helps you plan logistics and also helps you to understand the market that they're selling to.
- Company Size - Look at factors such as number of employees, or the number of offices or stores that the client has to give you an idea of their overall size. For example, if you're selling office stationery, a company with many offices is obviously going to be a higher potential value than a small business working from headquarters alone.
- Company Age - Are they a start-up or have they been around for decades? This can help you determine how secure a business is, or alternatively, you may find that a start-up company is more likely to take more risks and trial products and services that established businesses wouldn't.
- Revenue - Don't waste time trying to sell your latest product to clients that don't have the budget. Check their current revenue and other financials such as profit and loss margins and cash flow.
- Structure - How are decisions made within the company; who's involved, and who has the authority to make purchasing decisions right off the bat?
- Pain Points - What challenges are they currently facing, and can you provide a solution for them? What do they value most when it comes to going ahead with a purchase - price point? Quality? Quick turnaround?
- Technology used - Knowing which technologies the client is currently using will give you an idea of how modern or traditional they are. It will also allow you to identify any products or services that you offer that will complement their technology stack.
Alongside all of these points, it's also essential to ensure that you have accurate and up-to-date contact information for each client. Having more than one channel available to reach out to them is a good idea, so try to collect phone numbers and email addresses wherever possible.
As B2B sales rely so heavily on building a good relationship, it's important to know the right person to reach out to in each company. Therefore you should look at things like job title, department and seniority level if you're in the process of contacting a business for the first time.
How to Use B2B Customer Data in Marketing
So how exactly can you use the customer data you’ve collected to ramp up your B2B marketing?
Check They’re Qualified
Chasing after leads that are never going to convert is a big drain on time and resources. By collecting enough data on clients, you'll be able to establish how well they fit with your 'buyer persona(s)' - a profile of your ideal customer. Whether they're a prospect or a previous purchaser, it's a very good idea to establish how likely they are to buy your latest product or service based on the information you have about them.
Collecting customer data from your previous clients also helps for this purpose, as it allows you to put your buyer personas together in the first place. You can look at your sales data to see who made the highest value purchases, who closed on the deal the quickest, or who has bought most frequently. Then compare those companies and find similarities between them that you can then look for when targeting new leads.
1. Personalise your approach
Personalisation is incredibly important in B2B sales. Whether you're developing content for emails, social media, blogs, paid ads or your website, it needs to resonate with your target market.
Once you have a clear idea of who your buyers are, and their needs and preferences, you'll be able to tailor your content to them.
This leads to better results as it is much more likely to engage them, give them a better impression of your brand, and also makes them feel valued.
2. Gain an edge for negotiations
Having enough information on a client will allow you to identify their likely budget, and how great their current need is for your product or service.
You can use this to help shape your negotiation tactics, and keep an upper hand at all times.
It will also allow you to know which aspects of your product or service to emphasise based on their current needs, and to be as specific as possible in the value and benefits it will bring to their particular company.
3. Segment and be specific
If you find that there are different types of clients buying from you, it's a great idea to make your marketing efforts more narrow.
This might involve doing things like crafting separate websites or landing pages, or creating different social media pages or groups for each segment.
This will help you ensure you're only providing content that is relevant to each of them, and will help you to attract better quality leads.
Knowing your B2B clients inside out is essential to building good working relationships, and having a greater chance at driving sales.
Collecting company data is therefore imperative, provided that the information is accurate and in-depth enough to provide real insights. Having this data to hand allows you to market and sell to them much more effectively, using the tactics above