We’ve been told time and time again that marketing data analytics are essential for effective digital content marketing, and while most acknowledge it’s importance they are still struggling to make effective use of their data.
“Spending on marketing analytics—quantitative data about customer behavior and marketplace activities—is expected to leap from 4.6 percent to almost 22 percent of marketing budgets in the next three years, representing a 376 percent increase. At the same time, marketers say barely a third of available data are used to drive decision making in their companies.” – CMO Survey, 2017
Today we’re exploring the current state of and challenges associated with data analytics utilization, as well as top strategies you can employ for effective analytics along your sales and marketing process.
The Availability of Data is Growing
Digital content, websites, emails campaigns and other online customer touch-points are generating data at a greater velocity, volume, and variety than ever before. However, data is an enabler of insights, not an answer within itself. Gathering large volumes of data about buyers is fine, but that data must then be utilized to compel audiences and adjust strategies.
The main data challenges shared by businesses are, ensuring data quality, creating actionable insights from data, and managing data from a variety of sources (Forbes, 2016).
So, how can we unlock the power of data across our sales process?
Sales and Marketing Alignment
A key buzzword over the past few years, sales and marketing alignment is among the best organizational strategies you can employ for an improved sales cycle, more effective digital content creation, and greater utilization of data analytics.
When sales and marketing alignment remains low, the result is poor data sharing, and common problems such as: sales presentations are not aligned with marketing messages and difficulty measuring the ROI of marketing campaigns.
[For information about the biggest content challenges check out this infographic]
Alternatively, when sales and marketing teams are properly aligned they enjoy:
- 3% better quota attainment
- 20% annual growth
- 75% follow-up on marketing qualified leads
- (Oracle, 2014).
Shared data between both teams is the best enabler of sales and marketing alignment. Additionally, when the two teams are aligned, they improve their ability to collaborate and enhance the quality of data.
A Complete Sales Stack
The sales stack is a hot issue for 2017. The sales support industry has been growing exponentially in recent years as dozens of point solutions strive to solve a variety of business challenges. Unfortunately, these point solutions aren’t working, and many businesses are experiencing a phenomenon known as “tool exhaustion” which is preventing sales success (Forrester, 2016).
The right sales stack mix includes a sales analytics software component that facilitates closed loop marketing and pushes all sales presentation and meeting data to the marketing team and CRM. Without a complete sales stack aligning analytics to your sales process would be impossible.
Effective CRM Implementation
It’s one thing to have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system; it’s another to have measurable business success from your CRM. While many organizations use and appreciate the benefits of a CRM, their objectives are often misaligned from what a CRM can realistically deliver, leading to adoption challenges that erode ROI and cause friction in the sales process.
The problem is not CRM, it’s how a CRM is implemented and used. In order to maximize effectiveness you need to automate the entire process of updating and extracting data from CRM. Updating a CRM with anecdotal insights and focusing on limited metrics like conversions and visits create time consuming, limited, and retrospective insights.
Data is exactly the reason why CRM user adoption numbers are crashing below 50%. With so much data creation, the inputs and outputs have to be contextually relevant and entirely automated, otherwise they cease being a tool for enablement and become an admin detour that wastes time.
For your CRM to be effective your sales analytics software must update CRM in real time and provide your sales teams with all relevant information about their current buyer.
Make the most of your data...
Investing in sales and marketing alignment initiatives, moving towards a holistic sales stack, and rethinking your CRM strategy, are the first steps towards unlocking data analytics across your sales cycle.
If you need help managing the volume, velocity, and variety of data, and need a tool that helps coordinate your digital sales and marketing communications, then request a demo and let us show you how simple data utilization in sales can be.