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Helen Christopher is Marketing Manager and European Marketing Coach at Bürkert Fluid Control Systems. She has also just taken on the role as CIM South West Manufacturing Ambassador. Helen is passionate about sharing information and advice with fellow marketers in manufacturing and building a support network in the region. She is keen to hear from marketers in manufacturing around the region and learn about their current challenges and the type of marketing training and skills development they would like to be able to access locally. Helen is a regular blogger and here she considers how you can use your data to generate more sales. 

How to crunch your marketing data to manufacture more sales

How to crunch your marketing data to manufacture more sales isthe holy grail for any marketer, especially when budgets are tight and sales are demanding more (and better) leads.

One of the skills a marketer needs to have is how to interpret data. We've never been in an era where we have access to so much data. But what is data, what does it tell us and more importantly how can we use it to understand our customers and make better sales?

Let's back up a bit here and start with the basics. What is data? Data is facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis. But what are we referencing and analysing? Good question! You can learn many interesting things from data including sophisticated algorithms on Facebook likes to good old-fashioned return on investment (ROI) for campaigns. 

Maths has never been my strongest point but I am a real data geek. I'm fortunate enough to work with our Operative Sales Controller. Her background is finance so she is a whizz at running reports that cover a number of hypotheses and benchmarks, such as margins, which we discuss with our sales management.

What do we monitor

Flows and drains of business. How and why. For example, we look at influxes of enquiries. Where did they come from and what brought on this trend? If it’s something to capitalise on, we will build a campaign around it and generate more business to increase sales.

Sales of products, systems & service. We also look at sales of new product launches including what were the main drivers and channels in which we received enquiries. Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing. We receive many enquiries off the back of positive customer experience.

Google Analytics. Most people search for solutions online whether it be a replacement valve for their plant or a new cat litter tray. We don't get too obsessed with number of visitors but look at other stats such as time on page and low bounce rates. This means, if we get this right, we are attracting the right visitors and engaging them with relevant content.

Campaigns. We put high investment into our campaigns; not just budget but also time. Time is a more valuable commodity. If we get it wrong we could have invested that time elsewhere in more lucrative areas. At various points, we monitor our progress to keep us on track including reviewing: ROI, costs, time spent (strategic thinking, making calls, having appointments), opportunities lost and won and why. Do we deserve a pat on the back, or do we need to adjust our campaigns to improve specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time bound (SMART) goals agreed within the team?

Trends of new business enquiries. We review lead conversion to see if we are following through the order winning process consistently. Recently our sales team questioned the low results from cold call outbound telesales. When you look at the industry average of conversion, it's around 2% and we are far higher than that. Data helped us to take the guess work out of this and see if it is worthwhile continuing this type of activity.

Other considerations

Is it ethical to use data?  It depends how it is gathered, stored and processed with consent. A hot topic is GDPR. If you're not aware of it by now then a clear definition has been written by The Chartered Institute of Marketing.

CRM health. A good robust CRM system, accessible and used by every customer facing employee, is vital. An audit of entry points and customer contact will prove useful and help with consistency on record keeping. We regularly do training and share insights with the team. A lot of the time sales support churn out quotes based on requests so it is important to make sure that we share statistics with them to show where we have been successful.

Agree goals. i.e. What's the definition of a successful cold call? For example, have you established contact, held a meaningful conversion with agreed follow up, set an appointment or made a sale? Agree a process for using the CRM system otherwise it's garbage in, garbage out. The data is only useful if it’s accurate.

Final note. Marketing is the driving force behind sales so data should be reviewed to prove if it's working and adds real value to the business. I recently had a conversation with a gentleman who said his previous perception of marketing was the flower arranging department. By throwing in a few hard facts, and quantifiable examples of where marketing has increased profitable business, he was a real convert!