Stop Entering Data — Capture It

When did “Big Data” get so big?

Many people point to new, more sophisticated software, faster processors, more memory, and greater storage capacity as the elements that came together to create the “big data” phenomenon. There is a lot of focus — some may say hype — around using these tools to create predictive analytics and AI to dramatically increase the effectiveness of sales processes. But these tools are only as good as the data captured to drive them, and their value increases exponentially if more data sources can be incorporated.

In the B2C world, there has been an explosion of new data sources with social listening tools and customer 360 approaches to capture data from touch points throughout the client life cycle.

One good example is a retail store. In years gone by, customers visiting the retail store passed by an “electric-eye” which counted how many visitors had been to the store. This single data point was typically communicated to the corporate head-end daily.

Today is vastly different. The arrival of each customer is still detected by a sensor, but then that customer walks into the store and soon encounters digital signage. While they watch the video and learn about the products, the screen is watching them and learning their sizes, their gender, and a variety of other factors. Having created a profile for them, all of the other digital displays in the store track their progress through the store to learn more about traffic patterns. Where there was one data point before, now there are thousands per customer. Multiply that by thousands of customers each day, hundreds of days per year, and by the number of stores in the chain and you have big, big data.

However, in B2B sales the progress has been much more limited and to-date concentrated on automating the generation and researching of leads to pre-qualify them. Once the lead is being worked by the sales team the rich data around interactions with the customer are rarely being accurately captured.

Capture More, Enter Less

Capturing customer data throughout the sales process is key to any customer relationship management (CRM) initiative, especially those involving one-on-one selling activities. Every sales professional wants to know as much as they possibly can about each of their customers. Ultimately, that’s the core reason for using CRM; collect and retain as much information as you can about each prospect and customer and have it readily available to consult when needed.

The challenge has always been in getting that information into the CRM system in the first place. Some sales professionals see data entry as busy work that detracts from their real selling activities. Knowing that “time is their enemy,” they naturally avoid any time-consuming activity that doesn’t contribute directly to their sales performance. It is the exceptional sales professional who grasps the value of entering key customer information into their CRM system and most CRM systems don’t make it easy. This data is most important for enterprise sellers who need to navigate and manage account-based sales approaches.

The good news is that most sales activities lend themselves to being automatically captured, eliminating the need for manual data entry, if the right tools are put in place.

Most progress has been made in automatically loading emails into the CRM and there a range of tried-and-tested tools available for this.

But the rich data from live customer interactions are rarely captured. Phone calls and conference calls, nowadays mostly on mobile phones, should be automatically logged and this logging can be directly connected to CRM, building a call history automatically. Sales professionals should be prompted to add call notes by dictating them rather than going back to type them later, and every call should be automatically recorded (within legal guidelines), preserving a complete record for later review.

Text messaging is another medium sales professionals depend upon more and more. As relationship develop, the communications media changes and expands, from email to voice to texts. These, too, can be historically commemorated in CRM, correlated by customer, by sales opportunity, and in other ways.

Some sales professionals use the camera built into their mobile phones to record site images. This is especially useful for design, architectural, and construction firms, field service teams and others whose sales are highly interactive with the customer’s physical plant.

Building Your True Customer 360 View

With sensors, cameras, microphones, and other data capture technology in abundance all around them, the opportunity for salespeople to build comprehensive relationship histories that incorporate multiple media types is greater than ever. Mast Mobile will show you how to put all of these media technologies to work capturing and collecting everything possible about every customer and building a richer customer 360 view to enable you to manage your customer relationships more successfully. Call your Mast representative today.

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