A new approach to B2B data profiling, based on âbusiness painâ | DMA

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A new approach to B2B data profiling, based on âbusiness painâ

Customers are all different, aren’t they? Well, of course they are. And you treat them as individuals. It’s how you built your business, after all.

But if you’re looking for new customers in today’s data-driven world, it’s worth taking the opposite view: where they’re alike. Not in surface factors like market cap or industry vertical. (And certainly not males over 40 or ABC1s.) The title of an old airline campaign says it best: More things draw us together than drive us apart.

Your best customers – including those you haven’t met yet – may not look, or sound, or behave like each other. But they’ve got the same business pain. The pain you’re an expert in solving.
And data profiling can help you make the most of them.

Data profiling can find you new customers…
Take your top customer. You know it has 250 employees, exports a third of its product and has presence in the UK and Ireland. But these aren’t traits; they’re facts.

What if mapping those facts visually – using a heatmap, statistical analysis, or other method – could uncover the traits your best customers tend to share? The real reasons your customers love you (you could ask, but often, they won’t know themselves). Once you have these, follow the steps as outlined by B2B Marketing where you:

  • Detail the interactions your customers have had with you and the products that they have bought
  • Think about the relationship between each product and the type of people who have bought them
  • Produce patterns in the data to find out more about the business pains that your customers share and how they use your products to solve them.

Maybe the pain you solve is always sharpest when a company grows from 30 employees towards 50. Or when they open their first regional office. Or hire their first CEO from outside. This is where data profiling works hardest. It isn’t about grouping companies that look similar.

Prospects in your sweet spot might include a High street bank, a machine tools maker and a football team… if the data reveals they all have the same business issue, you can provide personalisation and customisation tailored to the specific needs and wants of individual consumers, while still solving the same business pain. And if you’re on profitable terms with one of those companies, you’re a great partner for others in the same fix.

So why not make a data profile the driver of your next marketing campaign?
There may not be thousands of companies in the sweet spot. But if you’re B2B, how many do you need? The FTSE 250 has outperformed its larger brother for over two years; most companies in the index have 8 or fewer key accounts.

Completely different companies may have very similar data profiles … And if you’re solving business pain for one, you can solve it for the others… and they can teach you more about your existing ones.

There’s a bonus. Once you know the real reasons your customers love you, you can direct resources towards making them love you more.

Do your customers tend to have a lifecycle of three years?
If so, what happens in that third year? An amicable handshake, or an avoidable business loss? If data profiling demonstrates that’s how customers flee, it’s a strong signal to invest more in the relationship at 24 months plus. Perhaps it’s as simple as a sales tickle in your CRM programme at the right moment. (That’s the really exciting part: propensity reporting. Based on how customers have behaved in the past, you can predict how new customers will behave on their future journey with you.)

So how do you get started? You’ve probably got the data already (your customer database) and just need to see it in broader context. So think about how to get hold of a broader dataset – on companies you don’t know yet.

After all, just one key insight could deliver a hundred hot prospects to your sales team. And that’s why it’s worth making data profiling a core part of your marketing strategy.

By DMA guest blogger Julie Knight, Marketing Director, Marketscan

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