Jean Spencer wrote a great blog today called 5 Ways Marketers Can Actually Use Big Data – and the first thing she wrote really hit home for me: “What do marketers and Big Data have in common? They both have an insatiable desire to know more about their targets.”
As a marketer it is critical for me to know as much as I can about our prospects and customers and to be able to use that information to make sure they get relevant content and either convert to new deals or renewals for the sales team. Two of the five things Jean mentioned I really like were creating real-time personalization to buyers and identifying specific content that moves buyers down the sales funnel.
Companies like Demandbase and Marketo (leveraging Insightera) are doing some very cool stuff with real-time personalization for your website. Essentially these technologies let you choose which assets and offerings to put in front of prospects and customers coming to your website that are relevant to them. For example if a prospect from a financial services company comes to your website then you can make sure that the case study you have for that industry gets put in front of them rather then something featuring a healthcare company or some other industry vertical. Or if you are running a series of road shows prospects and customers will see the information for the event that is in their geographical location.
By enhancing your website with real-time personalization you will not only increase your click-thru and conversion rates but you will also be providing a better user experience.
The other key piece here is identifying the specific content that moves buyers down the sales funnel. If you can figure out the exact mix of content to use at each stage in the buying cycle to move prospects through the funnel more quickly and increase overall deal velocity that can have a huge impact on revenue. The other thing to look at here is the conversion rates on your individual campaigns or campaign types.
We track this information inside of Salesforce to get a clear picture of how the marketing-to-sales hand off is working so we can really dive deep into the data. By leveraging reports in Salesforce we can see the time in stage and overall velocity numbers as well as conversion rates for every campaign type, specific campaigns, or slice and dice this by any other criteria we are tracking on opportunities in Salesforce (like company size, geographical location, etc.).
However one thing I must say is that to get insights into what moves prospects down the funnel and from marketing to sales you need to make sure that you are able to accurately track this information (shameless plug – we use our Response Management application to do this). You have to make sure that records don’t get overwritten with new responses to campaigns from the same lead or contact so you can maintain full visibility into your funnel and accurately track velocity and conversion rates.
Also you have to be able to track every campaign touch on the Opportunity, Account, Contact, and Lead records to see which campaigns influenced revenue for each deal and caused a marketing qualified lead to turn into a sales accepted lead. Without being able to get complete visibility into information like this it will be hard to truly determine which programs helped move deals through the funnel.
The bottom line is that without proper marketing analytics and having a system set up to capture them it will be very hard to get the insights you need from big data to effectively use all the awesome information it can provide. But if you can get that information you will be able to truly optimize your marketing mix and drive revenue in 2015 and beyond.