Customer data is the new gold, they say. But instead of just mindlessly collecting it, you should think carefully about which data you really need from your B2B customers. Our opinion: Less is more - but up-to-date and accessible to all relevant employees
B2B Customer Data Must also Be Used
B2B is usually about big money and high expectations. The fact that a company has a competitive product to offer is the basic prerequisite for business success, but it's not a given. But you also have to be able to market it well. And especially in B2B it is important to think one step further: How do I keep these customers for the future?
To meet or exceed customer expectations, you need to know what they want in the first place. For this you need customer data. Unlike in B2C, however, it is less important whether purchasing manager X sails or plays golf in his spare time - even if this can facilitate communication. More important is
What does his company need?
How big is the share that your company can cover?
How much effort is worth it for you?
Studies show again and again that companies do not yet use B2B customer data as much as they could.
Customer data is the basis for strategic decisions.
The more you know about the goals of your business customers, the better you can tailor your business to them. Therefore, focus on behavioral data and include the buying center and your personas in your analysis.
Customer Data - A Source of Knowledge in B2B as Well
Most orders cannot be processed without information about the customer. After all, you need to know to whom and where the product is to be delivered and who will receive the invoice. Names, telephone numbers, e-mails and addresses are therefore the first step. This customer data is also recognized as necessary by the Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
However, the prerequisite for long-term economic success is a deep knowledge of the needs of the target group. Because only then can you market your offer accordingly.
What Kind of Customer Data Is There? The Benefits for B2B and B2C
Sociodemographicdata: This includes age, gender, marital status, region and income. Even if it is certainly more relevant for the B2C area, information such as private interests can also be relevant. After all, business is still ultimately done between people
Behavioral data: This includes the customer's previous interaction with your business over the course of the customer journey, for example visits to websites or apps, as well as the type and amount of business already done with each other. It also includes complaints or requests to customer service. This data is usually easy to get and analyze
Psychographicdata: This refers to values, attitudes and membership of a social group. For B2B, this is only of limited relevance, but should not be completely disregarded in order to find the right approach
Technographics: Technical data provide information about which software, tools and aids a person or company uses
What Customer Data Do I Need in B2B?
Models and scores from B2C cannot be easily adopted to create buyer personas and align marketing accordingly - for understandable reasons. The buying decision in a company is different. There are several people and departments involved who have different interests. The technician wants the best device for the need he sees. Controlling asks whether it really has to be that expensive and what the outcome will be.
It is therefore imperative that you have this data in your CRM
Personal data: Name, e-mail and telephone number as well as position in the company. You should have these from all persons involved in the decision-making process.
Company data: Name, company size and industry, and sales potential if applicable
Relevantinterests: What industry topics is your client interested in?
Activities: In which phase of the customer journey are they? Which pages of your company does he visit?
How Should the Customer Data be Managed?
In a good system - for example, a CRM system - this customer data must be accessible to all relevant people. Because it is so important, once again
The data must be accessible and up-to-date for all employees involved.
The potential for mishaps with outdated or limited-access data is virtually endless. It starts with customer service standing in front of the wrong door and doesn't end with agreements that part of the staff doesn't know and therefore confuses the customer with new requests. The customer gets the impression that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing - and so it is. So-called data silos are driving anchors on the way to modern, individualized customer service.
Is GDPR an Obstacle?
In order to obtain the greatest possible knowledge about a customer, there are many technical possibilities, but these are now only legal under certain conditions. However, education about data protection with corresponding consent boxes is now standard. The advantage in B2B: you're dealing with professionals who ultimately face the same question on their part. And you don't want their private data, but that of the company
With the Right Data to the Right Conclusions
Of course, every customer has the right to good customer service. However, for economic business management, the effort must be in proportion to the benefit, so the Parteo principle can also be applied here.
The trick is to figure out which customers are the 20 percent that generate 80 percent of the results
As a rule, the department of a larger medium-sized company buys for more money than a 3 man graphic designer's office. However, it is important to consider the share of wallet: A small company that buys almost everything from one supplier may yet be more important to that supplier than the large company that only buys on special offer every now and then
Meaning: To know which customer is really worthwhile, you need data. And in order to gain the right insights from it, you need to know how to use the data. This is where you as a professional come in
How can you better target the customers who are worthwhile?
What addition to the portfolio would help them?
How do you keep them so they don't bounce?
What market trends can you identify that you shouldn't miss?
How big of an impact might upcoming policy decisions have on your client's business?
AI is increasingly being used to analyse and maximise the benefits of data.
Conclusion: The Human Factor Should not be underestimated
Data analytics is a powerful tool and indispensable for strategic decision-making. However, the human factor in business relationships has therefore not become unimportant: Tips and hints from negotiators can be enormously helpful, and it's the contacts who know about strategic decisions before they become public knowledge. Include this in your evaluation as well. In the end, business is done between people - if the data is right.