Building Product manufacturers must understand their customer to define their data.
Being involved with Building Product customer data for most of my career, I have found that a universal struggle is defining the customer in the business-to-business (B2B) environment. Don’t end up selling ice to Eskimos! Here are 5 steps to help define your customer and develop a data plan.
1. Define your goals and objectives.
- Identify your objectives before defining your data needs
- Is the primary goal to provide the sales force a tool for managing customer/prospect data, then the objective is much different from managing a customer-centric marketing database.
2. Establish if your customer is company or contact drive.
- This is crucial in establishing a CRM structure. Commonly CRM rules define a data structure as company driven with contacts related to a company. Each contact must roll-up to a company.
3. Define company types.
- This is an important step when determining who and how a building product marketing campaign will target the customer. Are you targeting manufacturers, distributors, etc.?
4. Establish contact types.
- Your CRM strategy must target a contact within a company to be effective; therefore, your contacts must be segmented. What is the building product contact target type; marketing manager, general manager, builder, sales rep, etc.?
5. Source data must be maintained, thus establish a source table.
- How did your company obtain the customer/contact information? The method that building product marketers obtain customer/prospect information is called a “source”.
6. Establish a data audit trail for all customer/prospect records, this will identify the last person to alter the record.
- Data integrity is crucial, establish an audit trail to maintain data integrity and accuracy.
CRM (Customer Relationship Marketing), this acronym was mainstream 10 years ago, and the principles remain valid today, understand your customer. Building product companies must understand their customer, determine their data sources, and identify their goals and objectives before launching a communication plan or developing a sales force management system.
TIP: A hot-topic with integrated communication within the Building Product industry, as your customer how they would like to receive communication and honor their request. Today we have many options and tools to receive communication, provide the message in a format they want to consume.
Sources and Additional Articles
- Photo Source: SierraTierra on Flickr
- Content Marketing and Database Marketing for Building Product Marketers
- Building Products: 4 Tips for Asking Informative Questions that Drive Sales
- Turns Out Building-Product Sales Really Are A Laughing Matter