We are buried with information via newspapers, radio, television, LinkedIn and the telephone, just to mention a few. This can range from informative to light-hearted and we store it in our memory, share it intensively with others, or bookmark it in one of many of our lists of favorites. After all, you never know when the information might come in handy. But when it comes to meaningful commercial data, a different approach is required. That is, a more systematic approach so that we know that the data can be relied upon for making strategic decisions.
Market information is crucial
Effective decision-making requires access to the right information, or perhaps better put, inside information. There are countless ways to garner this information and we are all only too happy to make use of these sources, for commercial purposes too. How often, for example, do you check on updates on your LinkedIn network? Or are you looking for potential customers? And of course, you also read blogs like this and try to process all the information you acquire online into something meaningful. Nevertheless, too seldom is the information you find systematically updated in your own CRM database. This might be because there’s no one responsible for this, but also because it’s not always easy to have the information validated.
Qualitative data has to be the basis for any marketing and sales campaign or investment decision. Information which is not up-to-date can cost organizations lots of time and money. A well-thought-out marketing campaign is only effective if it is able to communicate with its intended target audience at the right moment. But even when you decide to launch a new campaign, it’s vital to know whether the market is ready for it or not. There’s only one good way to find out and that’s by carrying out a thorough market analysis based on qualitative data.
Your CRM as a central source of information
Companies are increasingly opting to have their CRM database shadow an external database. In this way, it’s not only possible to edit existing contact details (Grey Space), but add potential contacts (White Space) as well. On average, that corresponds to 80 percent of prospective clients in the CRM system, but 20 percent is new! Just figure out what that might lead to. Also, by integrating your own CRM system, information can be updated (semi-)automatically. If you then supplement the contact details with the market information that you or your external provider (e.g. by inbound/outbound telemarketing) have generated, you know that you’re ready. But ready for what? Turning data into business!