How Intelligence Will Transform Marketing and Sales Functions
The above video from UK based PA Consulting Group is an interesting webinar on how intelligence is transforming marketing and sales. Digitisation and the ability to work with larger data sets is driving many changes within business departments that were previously less reliant on technology. As a result, areas that were previously under the sole domain of IT departments are now moving into functions such as marketing and sales. Business budgets are also having to be adjusted to take this reality into account.
Where intelligence is playing a growing role in marketing and sales is the ability to identify, understand and adjust to the needs of prospective buyers and customers. This allows companies to articulate a customised message at every stage of interaction - creating a far more powerful and influential means of communication.
One of the other significant impacts of these changes is the growing integration of marketing and sales, requiring intelligence to flow bi-directionally. Better informed customers - who have done plenty of research well in advance of contacting a company - are also placing more pressure on businesses. As a result, companies require a consistent and cohesive record of physical and digital touchpoints with customers that allows them to add customers and keep existing ones happy. This further adds to the need to combine CRM, transactional, web analytics, social media and other such data sets.
Happy customers are the only game in town - get this wrong - all else fails.
Knowing rather than guessing
One of the major advantages of data analytics is of course the ability to provide companies with insights. By formulating and testing hypotheses/assumptions, marketing and sales can act more intelligently vis-a-vis prospective buyers and customers. One of the presentations in the above webinar covers the examples of an airline company and a postage organisation - both of which were able to use analytics to identify new customer usage patterns and behaviours. These digital insights allowed them to better target customer segments.
Providing end to end experiences
The growth and flow of customer intelligence within an organisation should also allow companies to provide customised end to end experiences. This is made all the more easier today with tablets and other mobile devices that allow front-line staff to access customer profiles without having to sit in front of a bulky computer and monitor. This will undoubtedly become even easier as more advances are made in the development of head-up displays (HUD).
From a business standpoint, perhaps the most prominent by-product of social media has been the ability for companies to monitor brand conversations and sentiment in real-time. Such a capability was unheard of even as late as the 90s, when focus groups or after-the-fact surveys would have been the only available options. Even the largest of surveys and focus groups, pale in comparison to the millions of messages that businesses can now tap into.
Product and service development insights
While sales and marketing are one of the more obvious beneficiaries of market intelligence, other divisions are also rewarded. At a fundamental level, the ability to better understand a market allows for products and services to be created that cater to market demand. When intelligence can answer many questions in advance and in much shorter time-frames, companies no longer have to suffer through a long and costly process of haphazardly market testing a product or service.
While there are visionaries within companies who clearly see the future and added value of a data driven organisation, scepticism in the C-suite can prove to be a major obstacle to implementation. As a result, the best strategy in overcoming such objections is to begin with small projects and provide proof of business value. From there, data projects can be expanded, ultimately with the view to creating a data culture within a smart - intelligence driven - business.