In this new era of big data, every savvy Partner wonders how can we use more customer intelligence to fuel our business. How do we use it to gauge when to approach customers? How do we use it to identify new opportunities, migrate customers, customize solutions, and get to real business outcomes faster? As the pace and scale continues to increase, some of us feel a little like test pilots the movie The Right Stuff who are constantly pushing the envelope to new heights.
Here are some innovations we’re using to drive breakthroughs in the sales and marketing of Cisco technologies. Using some of these “right stuff” tips, you can take your sales and marketing results to the next level:
Right Buyers: Selling to IT is a constant, but as technology budgets shift to Line of Business (LOB) and Operations, new approaches and skills are required. For example, during a recent campaign, we added industry-specific messaging customer mailings, and found that the open rates were twice that of “horizontal” mailings to the same audience the year before. Here are some more guidelines from a previous blog on selling to LOB.
Right Solution: Crystal clear solution requirements are great – and rare. How many times have you discovered a gap between your customer’s business requirements and technical requirements? To help address this issue, we’ve developed a tool called Solution Central that maps the top business priorities for many key industries with Cisco solutions. Use this tool to stay on course with your customers’ business outcomes.
Right Time: Migration programs using Last Day of Support (LDOS) information is extremely useful, but did you know that there are other tools you can use to visualize technology buying cycles for your customers? This amazing data set, which uses more than 200 different analytical inputs, is called “Propensity to Buy” (P2B). During one very focused migration campaign, we actually received a 50 percent response rate to direct mail (where the industry average is about 1 percent), and 137 percent faster sales growth than the average campaign. P2B is available now as a filter in the Partner IBLM tool. Use P2B to time your sales efforts in specific solution areas with very targeted customer groups.
Right Data: Looking at IBLM reports for every product at every customer can be overwhelming. So how can you filter it down to get just enough data to engage the right customers at the right time? Use the “campaign views” in Partner IBLM. For example, is you’re focusing on customer opportunities for those who are migrating to the cloud and need to upgrade their WAN, use the Intelligent WAN filter to see your top 10 opportunities. Then you can leverage the “Connect to the Cloud” campaign materials the dCloud demo and the IWAN breakaway promotion to engage these customers and increase your business.
Right Size: Migration opportunities – particularly on a Cisco scale – are huge. But that doesn’t mean your efforts have to be. Combine the solution filters, P2B, and personalization tips above to get laser-focused on a small but ripe set of opportunities. Small, agile, focused teams regularly achieve some of our best results because they’re able to scrum, experiment, learn, and optimize results. Work with your Cisco sales and marketing teams to segment your customers by vertical, business challenge, buyer role, or some other parameter that can be achieved by an agile team. Then apply the intelligence from this team across your broader organization.
These are the early days of using big data for sales and marketing, and they’re exciting times if you’re willing to try new things and take risks. The results may not be quite as earth shattering as Chuck Yeager breaking the sound barrier, but as long as we’re all pushing the envelope in our own way, we’re bound to succeed.