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Bridge data skills gaps to increase revenue

B2B Marketing’s B2B Leaders Report cites that 59 per cent of respondents are concerned about gaps in their organisation’s data analytics and reporting capability.

This is a worrying statistic. And, according to the report, lack of time, budget and training resource are preventing it from being addressed.

But in this age of one-to-one customer communication, bridging data gaps really does need to be a priority. The stakes are getting higher as marketing efforts become more closely aligned with business’ commercial goals. Today’s B2B marketers are expected to play a tangible role in delivering a robust sales pipeline that is clearly linked to closed revenue. If action isn’t taken to bridge gaps in data and skills, they will widen and ROI ratios will plummet. This will have an impact on future marketing budgets, creating a vicious cycle of decline.

Get data-savvy to create a virtuous cycle

Strategists at SiriusDecisions claim that for every one per cent of data quality improvement, marketing can generate five to six per cent of incremental revenue. When you look at it that way, investing in more sophisticated data strategies is a no-brainer. If the skills aren’t available in-house, appointing a third party data expert to bridge the gaps can reap dividends.

Take content marketing. Data can play a key role in maximising the value of this increasingly vital strand of the marketing mix. Good quality data and sophisticated analytics provide a foundation for relevant, engaging content that is tailored and distributed effectively. It can also facilitate better reporting so that returns can be measured more accurately.

One step at a time

The sheer volume of data held by many companies can seem quite overwhelming. But data management is a journey not a destination – be realistic about what you can achieve, and prioritise one step at a time.

If you don’t know where to start, consider these five steps to success:

1. Audit existing files and look at ways to update processes so that new data is managed effectively and efficiently

2. Sort out any inaccuracies and investigate whether additional data could be collected or purchased to enhance the file’s return or enable different levels of marketing communication.

3. Set objectives surrounding how data is leveraged – for instance, are you going to use it to enhance the relevance of content marketing?

4. Establish tangible data goals: what are the things you wish you knew about your target audiences, or that you would like to be able to forecast?

5. Work backwards from these goals and use them to shape data analytics  to ensure it delivers the insights that will take your marketing to a new level.

The current hype surrounding Big Data has left many marketers paralysed by uncertainty. But the core objectives of data analysis – delivering insights to support marketing and sales – have not changed at all. Businesses need to grasp the nettle and explore new ways to handle their data. In today’s fast-paced world, the biggest risk is doing nothing.