3 Ways to Get to Know Your Customers

Today, online purchases and order forms are rapidly replacing the face-to-face or voice-to-voice interactions that drove business and relationships in the past. However, computer-based interactions have also opened up new methods of understanding your customers, and have highlighted the need for a solid customer database. Key data provides crucial information to B2B companies about key traits, including purchasing style, to help you further engage, market to, and acquire more customers. Here are 3 data sources to help you better understand your customer:

1. Understand Customer Transactions

Ask yourself: what types of trends do you see when you look at your transactional data? Are your sales up or down from last year? What are the common products/services that are being purchased?

Simple questions like these can typically be answered using transactional data. Before you dive in too deep, try to understand the big picture of what is being sold and purchased as a whole.

Reflecting on the past helps better us in the present and look ahead to the future.

Your company may be tracking customers through Facebook with digital efforts such as retargeting.

2. Know Your Customers

It’s great to know what products or services your customers are purchasing, but being able to identify individual customers may be the single most useful tool available to the analytic marketer. For some companies, this is easy; their transactional data has the customer information by nature. For others, they rely on loyalty programs or survey data to make generalizations about the purchases their customers are making. In both cases, identifying new and returning customers will help your company understand current trends in their business.

Unsure how your company is tracking customer activity? Ask your sales team what information is being kept in a CRM; you may find that the information is already available.

3. Who’s Who – Tracking New vs. Returning?

Once the identity of the customer is known, you can begin to understand who is a new vs. returning as well as begin learning about the types of customers who might be interested in purchasing from your company. This is important data that can be found by bringing in outside data sources with demographic or firmographic information. Once you can identify key customer traits, you can create customer profiles for those who are likely to become new, those who are likely to leave, or those who are the most profitable.

Five Customer Relationship Stages for Full Engagement

Want to learn more about the end benefit we deliver to our clients?

For years, we’ve described what we do as a means to improve the marketing ROI for our clients. As our clients juggle new channels, new technology and new media, we realize that their relationships with their customers and prospects have to be 24/7 and “always on.” How we help them with analytics, strategy and marketing technology today goes beyond just the marketing process, and allows them to deliver a consistent and relevant brand experience across the entire consumer relationship.

Beyond acquisition and retention, we think about how to optimize every stage of the customer relationship to improve the overall value of the customer. The methodology is the same – analyze the customer, use insights to fine tune strategy and then use technology to streamline the interactions. Utilize this methodology with the following five stage approach and you can effectively manage the “always on” relationship:

  1. Share. Before your prospects ever make a purchase, they are likely talking about you with their friends or researching your products online. Ensure a strong social presence that shares often and links to content that is applicable to all potential clients. When any could-be-client is researching your brand they will inevitably stumble across a relevant blog, case study, or eBook etc.
  2. Attract. Understand the source of each prospect: how customers heard about you and what drove them to your brand isn’t nice to know – it’s something you need to know! Evaluate each source to inform the most relevant content to share and, in so doing, attract the prospect to your company’s brand.
  3. Convert. Know the cost of the sale and the lost opportunity when prospects fall out of your pipeline without finding what they were looking for. Be ready with automated messaging and outbound support as soon as this happens. Finding your conversion problems and fixing them with automated communications can often deliver an excellent return on investment.
  4. Retain. Understanding your retention or attrition rates can be the highest revenue generating research you can do. Try to think about retention in terms of cohorts – many companies lose first-year customers at much higher rates than customers who have stuck around for longer. If you understand what the triggers are in the first year, you can make much better decisions about what’s worth investing in to turn a one-year customer into a two-year customer.
  5. Grow. Some of your customers will happily grow their relationship with you and others will deliver less opportunity. Use the same kind of analytics to find growth opportunity as used in the initial sales opportunity; the payback may be much higher.

Each of these five stages deserves smart, targeted and personalized strategies to deliver a consistent, satisfying relationship for your customers. If you want to truly create an always-on relationship, stop focusing just on acquisition and retention and discover the terrific return on investment opportunity across relationship stages.