For context, customer data refers to all demographic, personal, behavioural, and engagement data that are typically collected by marketing departments and companies from their customer base. They use this customer data to communicate, understand, and engage with their customers.
To make the right business decisions, you need the right customer insights. As organisations digitalise more processes, they’re collecting an increasing volume of customer data. But how do you turn it into actionable insights?
At Salesforce Live Benelux, we spoke to three trailblazing customers from CM.com, Pon Automotive, and Showpad about how they’re unlocking the value of their customer data. We’ve summed up their advice below.
Making the most of your customer data starts with educating your employees.
“To become a data-driven organisation, you first need to encourage employees to adopt a data-driven mindset.”
Ensuring employees know what information they need to capture and where is essential. It’s also important to consider how they can use data to make better decisions in their day-to-day tasks – whether that’s responding to a customer query, securing a sale, or designing a marketing campaign.
It’s not always easy to create enthusiasm about data, however. “Data alone, it can be a bit boring,” says Jeroen van Glabbeek, CEO at CM.com. “But after a while, data becomes information. And then information becomes insights. And insights you can use to do really wise things.”
So, to get your employees onboard, Boven recommends focusing on these analytical insights. “Don’t talk about data sets and so on, but show the real potential of your data,” he suggests.
“When our analysts do something really cool with our data, that’s when we demonstrate our achievements to the business to get them enthusiastic about the possibilities it presents.”
It’s also important to understand exactly what your customer data means so you can use it in the right way. Hendrik Isebaert, COO at sales enablement company Showpad warns us to be wary of ‘vanity metrics’.
“Vanity metrics show that you’re doing something but not necessarily the right thing,” explains Isebaert. “For example, if you're measuring how many times certain training content has been reviewed by your team, that doesn't tell you anything about how much they've actually absorbed.”
To achieve truly powerful insights, organisations need to connect multiple sources of data, as Isebaert goes on to explain. “By connecting sales training data with conversion rates, for example, you can draw much more relevant and impactful conclusions.”
Connecting customer data is the crux of achieving a 360-degree view which brings us to our next point.
All three of our experts agree that a 360-degree customer view is a must for delivering a great experience. These days, customers are bombarded with information, and only the really relevant and personalised messages will make it through the noise.
“Being extremely tailored in your communication is very important. But in order to do that, you need data. You need to understand your customers and your prospects,” confirms Isebaert. “Once you're able to provide a 360-degree view to your sales team of their customer, you're equipping them to just have much more meaningful conversations with your customers. And we found that that's been crucial in a world where it's just so hard to get the attention of the people you're trying to reach.”
But information isn’t static – and neither should the customer journey be. Boven advocates using new customer data to continuously improve the way you work with your customer base. “We create customer journeys based on the data that we have available,” he says. “But this journey is dynamic - as more data comes in, we will always tweak and improve journeys for our customers.”
At the end of the day, data forms the foundations on which every great customer experience is built. But to really tap into its insights, you need to educate your employees, be realistic around what your data actually means, and connect multiple sources. Then organisations can ensure every customer interaction is seamless and meaningful.