Having your secret affairs publicised, your political choices manipulated and a host of other data slip-ups have left a pretty serious gulf for sales teams to bridge with customers.
The gap is also getting wider with almost two-thirds of business buyers believing that companies will put their own interests above that of the customer.
According to a recent report from Salesforce, they believe that their data is at risk and are unsure of how it’s actually being used.
You could argue that useful data is now more valuable than oil, which is why its fluid exchange plays such a pivotal role in business success.
It allows companies to deliver informed, relevant and hyper-personalised experiences to customers at a time when they’re specifically interested in making a purchase.
Or, that’s how it should work.
When Mark Zuckerberg was pulled in front of Congress to answer how a free service could possibly make money.
He answered simply that “Senator. We run ads.”
It might have sailed over the heads of those in Senate, but what he was saying is that insightful data into people and their purchasing habits has become the most valuable business commodity.
In the b2b space we are more willing to share our data as the nature of what’s required is usually less personally sensitive.
However, even in the world of b2b, it’s always an individual behind a sales decision and it’s useful data into their engagements that’s going to help your sales team take home their business.
We don’t want privacy, we want trust
There’s a degree of separation between b2b customer data and what we might consider sensitive information about us personally.
A qualified lead for b2b sales might include the name, company, job title, location, business interest and other “publicly” attainable information.
On deeper inspection, you might uncover how your prospects are engaging with you historically.
How their behaviour could direct a warm call.
Who else in the company you’ve interacted with and how receptive they are to each engagement.
It can only do this if you’re utilising Salesforce and connecting the dots between your marketing, prospecting, analytics, customer engagements and your continued sales outreach.
Useful data before big data
Customers are not afraid of their data being collected.
They’re more than willing to part with information in return for helpful, relevant and informed sales engagements that are going to be used by businesses in the right way.
Always ask for permission before forgiveness and understand that your honesty will breed trust and that will, in turn, unlock data.
It’s a virtuous circle that turns traditional selling somewhat on its head.
Explain, educate and show how their data is being used.
When we identify and listen to the interests of our customers, we’re able to construct a better service for them.
By delivering a personalised experience that meets their expectations, you’re using their data as they intended you to and securing loyalty from them moving forward.
In a world where there’s very little that separates the technology and positioning of businesses, it’s the customer’s experience where market share will be won.
Size doesn’t matter
Ten years ago the size of your mailing list and contacts in Salesforce might have been something you boasted about, but now it’s the depth of understanding of those in Salesforce that’s worth talking about.
It’s more than likely that the lion’s share of your contacts in Salesforce aren’t worth engaging with, or at least not at this point in time.
Data is your business compass in 2019 and can provide you with the insights you need to focus your efforts and arm you with the information to deliver a better service.