Are you missing big customer opportunities through lack of database management?
Most companies have databases that have, over the years, become a bit stale. Typically, field and in-house sales and customer service teams focus on the highest spending customers and those that shout loudest. It’s inevitable since resources are scarce and there’s only so much time.
The problem is what’s lurking beneath the surface. It’s likely that your customer database is a mixture of the following:
- Customers that only buy from you
- Customers that buy from you and from other similar suppliers
- Customers that are delighted by both your price and service
- Customers that are ‘satisfied’ but who could be tempted away through offers and incentives
- Lapsed customers that went elsewhere but you didn’t know due to lack of regular contact
- Customers in buying mode who are evaluating several suppliers to see what’s on the market
- Dissatisfied customers of whom you were not aware since the6 didn’t complain
- Infrequent buyers who drop down the priority list for that very reason
- Low value customers that could prove to be significant customers due to their expanding business or through simply more attention
- Individuals on the database that left the organisation some time ago
There are many more probably segments or profiles of customer deep within your database. And, we haven’t even mentioned past and current prospects.
Resource and time gaps
The problem, as I mentioned earlier, is partly resource and partly the time to carry out a profiling and segmentation exercise. But, the problem is compounded by the fact that you can only profile based on what you know and what you believe. For example, are the buyers on your database still in their roles of have they moved on? And, is the new buyer aware of your products and services and do they have any affinity to your business?
Equally, a low spending customer may not always be so. Many could have big potential. But, have you taken the time to establish the potential and to profile their business based on a formal customer service call?
It’s almost certain that, before reaching out for new business, an interrogation of your current database coupled with proactive contact and communication will reveal hidden opportunities.
There are likely to be opportunities for:
- Cross selling and upselling
- Launching new products or services
- Selling them services they did not know you offer (especially for new buyers)
- Reducing customer attrition (thus maximising profit) through customer care calls
- Validating and cleaning your database to ensure that your marketing is more targeted and effective
Validation is too slow
Often, organisations overlook the value in their databases, relying on periodic emails to do the job. They might rely on bounce rates to find out that people have left the business. However, how often does someone follow up to identify (1] the new buyer and (2) where the last buyer went so that they can be targeted elsewhere. And, how frequent are the emails that deliver this priceless information?
This is where a consistent exercise of database cleaning and validation comes in. You can do this by segment (type, size, frequency etc), level of spend or some other parameter. Then, why not contact each customer by phone armed with a series or relevant questions, whether they relate to customer satisfaction, type of products they buy, frequency of need, timetable for their next requirement or some other basis.
Once you have the information, you can recategorise your database based on genuine opportunity, value and so on.
It’s very likely that in the process of doing the calls, you’ll unearth:
- New business from existing customers
- Those customers that would have gone elsewhere had you not called
- New buyers that can develop into a fruitful relationship
- Avenues for new products
- Insight into your marketplace upon which you can act
- A better targeted and more accurate database for future marketing
Ultimately, this exercise often falls between sales, who are focused on sales to larger customers and prospects, and marketing who are focused on outbound marketing campaigns for new leads .