Collection of accurate and relevant customer data has become a vital step towards the development of effective and deep customer relationships. Making use of customer intelligence today allows businesses to analyze and predict customer needs, keeping their existing customers satisfied while attracting new ones. The following are 10 of the best customer data sources that will help you better profile and target your customers.

1. Listen to Your Customers

Listening to your customers gives you raw information about the needs and wants of your potential customers. Are they the right fit for your product or services? What’s the size of the opportunities? Are they the right point of contact to move the discussion forward? How are their problems/concerns manifested in the conversation? When asked the right questions, you can extract relevant information, profile your customer, and qualify the opportunity. Customers’ responses can also help you identify problems within your products/services, giving you opportunities to improve and become better.

2. Track Communication Data

Data received by your business’s teams through different modes of communication-text messages, emails, online chats, phone calls, and customer support-offers a trove of information in understanding your current and potential customers. The frequency, timing and the content of the communication reveal some personal details about your consumers; their sentiments, preferences, psychological state and their emotions, etc.

Here are a few examples. Frequent communication from decision maker likely indicates the urgency and seriousness of an opportunity/issue. A negative tone in the email from a large account could signal a risk of revenue lost due to downgrading or cancellation. A predominated communication channel may reveal a preference in communication styles. By tracking your communication data, you can map out the pattern and detect issues or opportunities ahead of time.

3. Firmographic Data

Firmographic data is specific to B2B businesses. It helps you in segmenting your target markets just like demographic data aids in B2C market segmentation. Firmographic data enables you to profile, qualify, and target firms based on their industries, competitors, market caps, headquarter locations, employee counts, revenues, etc.

4. Financial Statements

Public companies periodically publish their financial statements and plans for current and future projects. If studied carefully, you likely can find business opportunities within the planned projects, allowing you to target them timely with a tailored solution.

For example, if you run a trucking business and your customer requires a combination of different sizes of trucks at some point during their project duration, you could sort of tailor-make a package for that specific customer to meet their exact requirements, without them even knowing how they got targeted.

5. Social Media

In today’s highly digitized world, social media has become a prominent source for customer insights. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are just a few of the social media platforms most used by today’s wide customer bases. There are many tools available today tracks and measures your targeted audience’ social media activities, including social media profile’s content, hashtags used and images liked/posted. Analyzing this form of customer data offers you intelligence in making better and informed strategic marketing decisions.

6. Transactional Data

Transactional data about your customer in a B2B setting such as orders, suppliers, invoices, delivery dates or notes, shipment notices and many more can be linked together, by joining the dots around your customer’s transactions to give you a better and clearer view of what your customer is doing and when.

Transactional data reveals a company’s processes and needs, allowing you to target your customers at the right time, in the right way and consequently, lead to more sales driven by your customer intelligent nature and approach.

7. Customer Surveys

Customer surveys provide you with both qualitative and quantitative data, depending on what you ask and how you phrase your questions in the surveys. Surveys allow you to frame the context for business-specific questions or polls and enable you to connect customer responses to demographic info for valuable insight.

8. Buying Process Behavior

Customers’ buying process behavior can help you understand your customers better. You can use their behavioral patterns to predict their underlying intent and motivation. For example, data about landing page visit duration and hyperlinks clicks likely to signal their interests, preferences, and concerns.

Moreover, such behavior data also serves as a barometer of your overall targeting performance. For example, if you identify that you frequently lose customer interests on a specific step of the buying process, you can investigate and improve upon the step by testing out new and better messages for the targeted audience.

9. A/B Testing Data

When dealing with a pool of potential customers, it’s oftentimes not possible to know or predict the targeted customers’ preference as a group. To overcome this challenge, you can A/B test the marketing campaigns by putting two separate randomized groups of targeted customers through two campaigns that differ only in one variable. Therefore, the performance difference is likely due to the variable, giving you insights into customer preferences. A/B testing allows you as a marketer to improve campaign efficacy by continuously testing for new variations to refine campaign targeting.

A/B testing helps in revealing details about what customers would prefer as part of your marketing mix; your marketing slogan, product packaging, and other specification, prices, distribution channels, etc.

10. Customer Support Data

Customer support exists to address issues/requests from existing customers. When there are recurring issues/requests from different customers, it serves a strong indicator that your current product/service isn’t on-par with your customer expectation. While you shouldn’t overreact to all customers complaints/requests, it’s important to look into the reasoning behind any recurring themes and to deal with them deliberately. Additionally, frequent customer complaints/request from a specific customer account may indicate issues on either the customer or your company and should be addressed accordingly.

Each of your customer support interaction is a manifestation of a customer intention and/or sentiment, and therefore should be monitored and tracked accordingly.

Wrap Up

Businesses today are collecting more and more customer data from both internal and external sources, and it should not be a surprise that collecting customer data is only half the battle in your customer data and intelligence strategy. To make customer data meaningful, companies need to have a data science strategy to connect and process all data as one.