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5 ways to bring data into marketing and business development

Here are five ways to use data to enhance the client acquisition process

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November 30, 2015 |
Steven Burns

Could data be the secret to increasing your firm’s win rate?

“We should be listening to the data around everything we do to attract a new client and land a new project,” says Jason Mlicki, principal of marketing agency Rattleback on his company’s blog. “There's plenty of data available. We just have to look for it and listen to it.”

Here are five ways to use data to enhance the client acquisition process:

1. Improve content marketing

Analytics data can help you measure and improve all aspects of your content effort.

“To be clear, analytics should not drive your content strategy. It should inform it,” Mlicki says. “The most successful thought leadership marketers focus first on developing their ideas and building great content and recognize SEO as a downstream activity. But how people behave online should inform the decisions we make about where and how to invest our content marketing resources.”

2. Inform business development

Behavioral data can help make your proactive business development efforts more efficient and effective.

“Marketing automation systems can provide behavioral data on individual prospects,” he writes. “They can provide a range of useful insight such as when they interacted with your site, how frequently they came back and what interests them. Simultaneously, automation tools provide lead scoring, which allows the firm to assign points to individuals' behaviors on your site.”

3. Inform the go/no-go process

Looking ahead, an effective "go/no-go" process should include data that comes out of your firm's marketing automation and CRM system.

This could include:

  • Site engagement – How frequently has the prospect interacted with the firm's thought leadership and website presence over the last 6-12 months?
  • Previous win rates – How does the past success stack up on projects of this type, with this client, in this industry?

“While the actual go/no-go decision will always be subjective, the firms that embrace the hard data underlying their past successes and failures will drastically increase their future likelihood of success,” Mlicki says.

4. Improve proposals and interviews

A marketing automation system can help a firm develop more effective proposals and interview strategies.

Specifically, the system can tell you:

  • Which topics and thought leadership a prospect has had the most interactions over any defined period of time.
  • Which projects a prospect has spent the most time with online.
  • Which firm leaders and people profiles a prospect spent the most time viewing.

“All this information should be used to organize, plan and prepare the proposal. It also can shape the priorities and details of a post-proposal interview and inform future proposal development,” Mlicki says.

5. Improve service delivery

Data from client feedback programs can help you fix relationships before they run completely off course.

“The problem with most client satisfaction studies is they poll clients at random intervals, often well after they've actually worked with you on a project,” Mlicki says. “The surveys let them measure quality of service through the rear-view mirror, but don't actually help the firm improve day-to-day service delivery in a meaningful way.”

The data secured by flipping the typical client satisfaction survey and asking for specific feedback at various points of the project enables firms to:

  • Identify points of client frustration long before they become relationship killers.
  • Improve performance within specific projects and project phases before it's too late.
  • Aggregate data over time to better understand the firm's performance at all phases within the delivery of a project

Read more from the Rattleback blog.

Steven Burns | The Business Behind Design

Steven Burns, FAIA spent 14 years managing the firm Burns + Beyerl Architects, and during that time the firm’s earnings grew at an average rate of 24% per year. After founding his own software company, Steve took his management expertise to BQE Software, where he is refining their business strategy and product development for the company’s groundbreaking project accounting solution, BQE Core.

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