In many of our previous blog posts, we’ve talked about how important data is to your business. But that understanding needs to be turned into something tangible – your organisation needs a B2B data strategy.

A data strategy will allow you to achieve your marketing and wider business goals by outlining clearly the steps you need to take to move towards these objectives.

According to research carried out by Marketscan and B2B Marketing, 96 per cent of B2B marketers say that data is regarded as “important” or “very important” within their marketing team – and that 90 per cent of senior management feel the same way. However, less than one third say that data is at the heart of their strategic decision making.

Clearly, knowledge does not always translate into action. But no matter how high the quality of your database, if you don’t know how to put your records to good use your business won’t realise the value of this prized asset.

The importance of a B2B data strategy

A B2B data strategy provides the foundation for everything you do involving data, from who you target through your marketing campaigns, to how you generate leads and increase sales.

Writing for LinkedIn, Stephen Lahanas says: “Without a centralised vision and foundation, different parts of the enterprise will view data-related capabilities differently. This inevitably leads to duplication of both data and data systems across the organisation and thus makes it quite difficult to determine the ‘truth’ of one’s data and will also drive up costs.”

In fact, around 60 per cent of B2B marketers feel that there is a data skills gap in their company, both in terms of management and analytics. Furthermore, 70 per cent feel that they are not getting the most from their database.

Implementing your B2B data strategy

Your data strategy should be something that will guide your organisation and result in clear actions, rather than a list of ambiguous objectives. Let’s look at three steps you can take to implement your B2B data strategy:

1. Clarify your aims

First of all, what do you want to achieve? This seems like a fairly straightforward question, but to formulate an effective data strategy, you need to really mine down into the detail. So rather than saying that you want to acquire more leads and customers, you might state that you want to generate 10 new leads a month and three customers.

Whatever goals you come up with, it’s important that they are SMART. That is:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Timely

By adopting this approach, you are far more likely to be realistic about your aims – and, therefore, more likely to achieve them.

Once you have determined your various goals, it’s a good idea to type up your strategy and to share this document among your marketing and sales teams, to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

2. Carry out a data audit

As we have already established, your database and data strategy go hand-in-hand. So even if you’re confident in the quality of your records, it’s worth double-checking, to ensure you get the most out of your strategy.

You can carry out a data audit yourself, or by partnering with a B2B data consultancy. The latter option will allow you to access their in-depth knowledge and expertise and ensure that no stone is left unturned. Elements of a thorough data audit include:

  • Correction of inaccurate records
  • Addition of missing data
  • Removal of “goneaways”
  • Removal of duplicates
  • Checking email address formats
  • Flagging illegal data
  • Identifying best customer profiles
  • Calculating market penetration
  • Identifying scope of untapped market

3. Be consistent

With a defined strategy and a clean database at your disposal, you are ready to begin working towards your goals. However, a mistake that companies often make is to invest large amounts of time and resources at the start of a new strategy, but then allowing this activity to drop off. By being consistent in your approach, you are more likely to achieve your goals and reap the benefits of your extremely valuable data.