When we talk to new clients and prospects, there is often great excitement around raising their profile and visibility and the focus is usually on the end result – generating leads and being seen in the media by their target audiences.
But the journey involves many steps before getting to that point, and some of the most fundamental steps before getting to that point, and some of the most steps are often given low priority. One of these is having the right data and managing databases effectively.
Good data is one the key foundations for supporting any marketing or media campaign. Otherwise, you may as well shout into an empty room. Your campaigns need to be focused and targeted, whatever type of business you run, and this relies in having those lists of good, relevant contacts.
At this stage, it’s also important not to forget the purpose of marketing – to help you to grow your business through lead generation and conversion.
So where do you begin?
To be able to gather and manage your data, you need to have an understanding of your target audiences, who they are, where they are and what they do (both in terms of behaviours and in what their companies do and produce).
From there you need to look at how you gather your data. There are many sources for this from purchasing datalists to painstakingly building your own. What is essential to having good data is that it is relevant to your business, and you handle the data properly (both legally and sensitively).
Be creative, and invest in resources for gathering data, even if that is simply setting aside a couple of hours a week to focus on this.
Some data gathering sources:
- Exhibitions and shows – a treasure trove of data that is likely to be highly relevant to your business. If you go to the show and engage in conversations with your prospects, even better, especially if you are looking to send eshots where you need to have an opt-in for your datalists.
- Networking – again a direct and personal approach and one which will help you build and develop longer term relationships. The key here is to do something with the data and make sure you follow up afterwards.
- Trade magazines and press – regularly browsing your trade media should provide you with a steady stream of potential contacts.
- Social media – if you’re following what’s happening in your sectors on Twitter, you will be able to find out all sorts of information, as well as identifying some of your potential prospects.
- Be a magpie when out and about – it’s amazing what you can glean when you’re out on the road or on client visits. Seasoned sales people have a strong radar when it comes to spotting potential prospects.
- Buying datalists – my advice here is don’t just buy mass data. Use a reputable company and stay focused and targeted on what you need. Quality rather than quantity is what you should be aiming for. You also need to be careful how you use data that has been purchased and make sure that if you are emailing any of the contacts you adhere to legal requirements on opting in.
Managing your data requires you to be consistent in your approach whether you use a simple spreadsheet format or a full blown CRM system. Keep it updated regularly, segment the data into your sectors, and record as much information as you can about each customer, prospect or contact.
Having good data and data management will make a huge difference to the success of your business. It is one of the cornerstones and it helps you stay focused and targeted on your audiences. It also helps you to build those important relationships. Business has always been about the relationships and even with the advancements in technology and automation, this is still the case. Data and using it properly helps with this process.
If you know and understand your target audiences in some depth, it is so much easier knowing how to reach them and through what channels. And you can’t do any of this without the data.