Executive Summary Sales Reps And Operations Professionals Need Rich Customer Data To Meet Revenue Targets... 3

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2 Executive Summary... 2 Sales Reps And Operations Professionals Need Rich Customer Data To Meet Revenue Targets... 3 Lack Of Accurate, Timely, And Actionable Customer Data Makes Goal Attainment Difficult... 5 Customer Information And Data Management Capabilities Are Woefully Inadequate... 6 Follow Best Practices To Boost Your Ability To Get Value From Customer Information Recommendations Appendix A: Methodology Appendix B: Survey Respondent Demographics Appendix C: Endnotes , Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. For additional information, go to [1-JYR38H] Page 1

3 Typically, customer relationship management (CRM) applications by themselves only do a mediocre job of ensuring quality data and providing a complete view of customers and prospects. The result: poor utlization of sales force management technologies because sales reps lose faith in their systems; sales operations has inaccurate information for managing the business; and, collectively, the sales organization is unable to tailor selling and prospecting messages and activities to appropriate targets, culminating in sub-optimal performance In March 2012, Dun & Bradstreet commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the importance of rich and timely customer data on the ability of sales operations and individual performers to achieve high levels of sales performance. Forrester conducted online surveys with 109 sales professionals and 91 sales operations managers working at large organizations in the US. Forrester s study yielded four key findings: Having access to rich and accurate customer insight is a top goal. For example, three-quarters of sales representatives and sales operations managers tell Forrester that they need deep and accurate customer information to help them identify new opportunities to cross-sell additional products into their accounts and to identify new prospects with high sales potential. Customer information deficits are barrier to improved sales performance. For example, more than half of both groups feel that their deficiency in not having good customer data and insight makes it difficult to know where to most effectively hunt for new business within a customer portfolio. Companies customer information and data management capabilities are inadequate. For example, nearly 80% of those surveyed identify the ability to pinpoint key decision-makers as important. But fewer than half say that their company is proficient in this ability. Although nearly three-quarters of sales reps believe that having access to company internal and third-party customer and prospect information directly within their CRM or sales force automation application is important, only 36% say that their company has proficiency in it. Customer insight capabilities gaps can be closed by adopting data management best practices. For example, three-quarters of both sales reps and sales operations managers point out that maintaining a continuously updated customer knowledge base that provides all of the critical business information about customer relationships in one place is an important best practice that will drive significantly better results Page 2

4 Rich, timely, and accurate information about current customers and prospects is critical to sales reps meeting their sales goals and to sales operation managers to support efficient sales management processes. CRM solutions are often viewed as the way to achieve the much-desired360-degree customer view. 1 However, in reality, most companies get customer data from many different applications and processes. Furthermore, legacy applications are still a fact of life, and CRM is often purchased at a department or division level, which only increases the number of data sources and connections that must be established. Although most CRM vendors now provide the ability to access data that is not owned by the application, these capabilities do not address the business and transformation rules required to reconcile and integrate diverse data sources. 2 As a result, sales reps lose faith in their sales systems, sales operations have inaccurate metrics for managing the business, and the ability of sales personnel to tailor prospecting activities to relevant targets is diminished. The benefits of comprehensive, accurate, and accessible customer information data repositories include the ability to (see Figure 1): Identify cross-sell opportunities to grow revenue. Sales representatives and sales operations managers tell Forrester that they need deep and accurate customer information to help them identify opportunities to cross-sell additional products into their accounts and to identify new prospects with high sales potential. Pinpoint the best new opportunities and key decision-makers more easily. Sales professionals and sales operations managers say that gaining access to company and contact information so that reps can more confidently engage in customer conversations and identify key decision-makers is a top customer information and management goal. Enhance market segmentation to more tightly align messages with customer needs. Sales operations managers need rich customer data so that they can segment markets and improve alignment of marketing messages to customer groups. Align sales territories for efficiency. A majority of sales operations leaders say that they need a sound data set about customers and prospects in order to define efficient territories for their selling teams, by for example, better understanding corporate families. Page 3

5 What are your most important customer information and insight goals? (percentage of respondents who cited each goal among their top three, regardless of rank) Enable sales reps to identify cross-sell opportunities rapidly in order to retain and grow client portfolio to increase revenue Gain access to company and contact information so that reps can confidently engage in customer conversations with someone who can make a decision Combine market segments with company and industry research to gain insight and create targeted positioning Sales representatives 39% 72% 70% Sales operations 60% 54% 73% Align sales territories and sales rep coverage for optimum efficiency 35% 45% Quickly translate market segmentation into lists of qualified prospects and contacts 31% 35% Minimize lost sales revenues due to channel conflict and avoid overcommunication with the same client 30% 24% Eliminate wasted effort from unqualified lists 23% 9% In March 2012, Dun & Bradstreet commissioned Forrester Consulting to evaluate the importance of rich and timely customer data on the ability of sales operations and individual performers to: 1) know their customer better; 2) acquire new prospects; 3) sell deeper into organizations; and 4) improve sales effectiveness. To further explore this issue, Forrester developed a hypothesis that tested the assertion that high-quality and actionable customer and prospect data is critically important for effective sales operations management and for individual sales professionals to achieve peak levels of performance. Forrester conducted an online survey of 109 sales professionals and 91 sales operations managers working at large organizations in the US from a cross-section of industries that primarily sell to other businesses (see Appendix A and Appendix B). Sales professionals (reps) are defined as individuals primarily responsible for driving sales growth, market penetration, and client acquisition as well as prospecting for new business. Sales operations professionals are defined as managers who support sales forecasting/planning/budget processes; Page 4

6 prepare and distribute sales results; support sales training and communications; and secure and deploy sales technology and tools. Despite the importance of comprehensive customer data and insight to meeting their performance targets, sales reps and sales operations executives face significant problems (see Figure 2): Lack of critical information before contacting customers. More than half of both sales reps and sales operations professionals told Forrester that they lack all of the information about a customer or prospect that they need before initiating contact with that individual. Poor visibility into where to best hunt for new business. More than half of both groups feel that a deficiency in good customer data and insight makes it difficult to know where to most effectively hunt for new business within a customer portfolio. Inefficient territory planning and lead routing. More than 40% of both groups struggle with poor territory planning and inefficient lead routing. And a third of both sales reps and sales operations managers say that they have too many unqualified leads. Lack of insight into customer needs. Forty percent of sales reps and more than 50% of sales operations leaders feel that a lack of customer information stands in the way of accurate insight into buyer needs. Page 5

7 What are the biggest customer information and insight challenges that stand in the way of meeting your sales and sales operations goals? (percentage of respondents who cited each goal among their top three, regardless of rank) We don t have all the information we need to know about the customer before we pick up the phone We don t have an easy way to increase sales by knowing where to hunt for new business within a customer portfolio Territory planning/lead routing is difficult to set and maintain without proper information on our customers and prospects We don t have the data we need to understand our customers needs Sales representatives 59% 49% 42% 40% Sales operations 58% 52% 44% 53% We have too many unqualified leads 35% 33% We can t easily identify companies that are just like our best customers 30% 25% We get too many leads from the wrong industry/size of company 17% 15% When we have a hot lead, we don t have an or a phone number to follow up It's difficult to determine sales rep payouts because the CRM system shows the same client for different reps 15% 13% 5% 14% In the opinion of the sales representatives and sales operations managers that Forrester surveyed, the strength of the business capabilities necessary for effective customer information insight and data management is generally poor at their companies. Forrester found that the most critical customer information and insight capabilities gaps are (see Figure 3): Page 6

8 Inability to identify and reach key decision-makers. Nearly 80% of those surveyed identify the ability to pinpoint key decision-makers as important, but fewer than half say that their company is proficient in this capability. Spending too much time doing research and less time selling. Nearly two-thirds of both sales reps and sales operations managers feel that the ability to spend more time selling and less time researching, with more due diligence performed by third-party tools, is important. However, fewer than one-quarter feel that their companies provide the information and tools necessary to make them more efficient in their use of time. Not using third-party databases to help develop compelling messages. About two-thirds feel that the ability to deliver a compelling message that resonates in the market with the aid of detailed company and industry reports available through third-party sources is important. But fewer than half said that their organization is proficient in this capability. Lack of ability to identify cross-selling opportunities. The ability to have the information necessary to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities within existing customer relationships by exploring third-party database(s) of corporate family trees was important to two-thirds of the sales reps and operations managers surveyed. But well under half feel that their companies are proficient in this capability. Not having automated tools to create well-targeted lists of ideal customers. More than half feel that the ability to find more customers like their best customers by using automated list tools to create targeted lead lists is important. But only about one-quarter say that their companies have a strong capability in this area. Lack of full integration of customer data with CRM tools. Fully half of the sales reps and sales operations professionals surveyed report that full integration of customer information sources within CRM tools is important. However, fewer than 30% say that this capability is strong at their company. Page 7

9 On scale of 1 to 5, how important are, and how proficient are you in, the following customer information and insight capabilities for achieving your sales and sales operations goals? Important (4 or 5) Proficient (4 or 5) Sales representatives Sales operations Ability to communicate with key decisionmakers and bypass gatekeepers with access to direct phone and contact information 32% 83% 48% 76% Ability to spend more time selling and less time researching, with more due diligence performed by third-party tools 24% 67% 23% 56% Ability to deliver a compelling message that resonates in our market with the aid of detailed company and industry reports available through third-party sources 41% 65% 48% 56% Ability to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities within our existing customer relationships by exploring third-party database(s) of corporate family trees 43% 63% 36% 64% Ability to find more customers like our best customers by using automated list tools to create targeted lead lists that match our ideal customer profile 27% 52% 35% 53% Full integration of customer data information sources within our CRM tools to keep our sales teams in the CRM workflow and minimize the need for additional training 26% 48% 27% 53% Compounding the problem of a lack of customer information and insight capabilities, the sales reps and managers that Forrester surveyed feel that their enterprises also have weak data management capabilities (see Figure 4). For example: Inability to access customer information directly within CRM applications. For sales reps in particular, the ability to access company internal and third-party customer and prospect information directly within their CRM or sales force automation application is important. Although nearly three-quarters say that this capability is critical, only 36% say that their company is Page 8

10 proficient in this capability. Fifty-nine percent of sales operations managers indicate that data integration with CRM applications is important, but well under one-third say that their company has a strong capability. Lack of data freshness and timeliness. More than two-thirds of both sales reps and sales operations leaders say that the ability to maintain the freshness and timeliness of their customer data with batch refresh and refresh checks is important, but fewer than 30% report that their company is proficient in this capability. Inconsistent and dirty data. More than 70% of sales operations managers identify clean, consistent, and uniform customer data validated through data matching and cleansing processes as an important capability. But fewer than 40% believe that their company is highly proficient. The opinion of sales reps about the importance of, and their company s weaknesses with regard to, clean and consistent customer data is similar to that of sales operations leaders. Inability to enrich customer data. The ability to manage and enrich customer data more reliably with customer data match and append technology is also important to sales reps and sales operations managers. Two-thirds say that this is important, but only about one-quarter believe that their company has strength in this capability. On scale of 1 to 5, how important are, and how proficient are you in, the following customer data management capabilities for achieving your sales and sales operations goals? Important (4 or 5) Proficient (4 or 5) Sales representatives Sales operations Ability to access company internal and third-party customer and prospect information directly within our CRM or sales force automation application 36% 72% 26% 59% Ability to maintain the freshness and timeliness of our data with batch refresh and refresh check 24% 69% 31% 69% Clean, consistent, and uniform customer data validated through data matching and cleansing processes 27% 67% 39% 73% Ability to manage and enrich our customer data more reliably with customer data match and append technology 23% 67% 30% 68% Page 9

11 The findings of Forrester s survey of sales reps and operations leaders spotlight the importance of comprehensive, accurate, and timely customer and prospect customer information to achieving sales performance goals. But, it is clear from the study that most organizations lack the critical business capabilities required to achieve this requirement. Fortunately, there are number of proven best practices that can be adopted to mitigate the challenges. Forrester s survey of sales and operations professionals identifies that the most important customer information and insight best practices to embrace are (see Figure 5): Leveragean automatically updated customer knowledge base. Three-quarters of both sales reps and sales operations managers point out that maintaining a continuously updated customer knowledge base that provides all of the critical business information about customer relationships is an important best practice, but maintaining it all manually can be overwhelming Ensure easy-to-find, and pertinent, customer information. Three-quarters of those surveyed also believe that making sure customer data easy to find, accurate, and current is an important best practice to follow. Half of those surveyed identify that allowing personnel to have appropriate access to customer information (information needed to properly sell/service customer needs) is critical to success. Deliver a breadth and depth of customer information. More than 40% of sales reps and sales operations leaders believe that an important best practice is to ensure that all customer databases/data warehouses are configured to capture the information necessary to retrieve crosschannel and product-specific information. Page 10

12 Which of the following best practices for improving customer information and insight would you consider most critical for your organization to be more successful? (percentage of respondents who cited each goal among their top three, regardless of rank) Maintaining a continuously updated customer knowledge base that provides all the critical business information about customer relationships Sales representatives 75% Sales operations 76% Making sure customer data is easy to find, accurate, and current 73% 79% Allowing personnel to have appropriate access to customer information (information needed to properly sell/service customer needs) Ensuring all customer databases/data warehouses are configured to capture the information necessary to capture crosschannel and product-specific information 45% 60% 40% 51% Policies to make sure customer master information is consistent in all customer repositories 26% 33% Ensuring that customer data access by employees is managed subject to applicable privacy guidelines 21% 22% Building a rich and comprehensive store of customer and prospect information is insufficient, by itself, to ensure success. Adopting effective customer data management best practices is also required to maintain the value of the customer insight your marketing and sales teams leverage. Important data management disciplines that should be embraced include (see Figure 6): Definition of the most important and relevant customer data. Three-quarters of sales reps and sales operation professionals agree that it is important to define clearly the information that needs to be collected and analyzed to support sales processes. Page 11

13 Policies to support data management processes. About one-half believe that it is important to put in place policies to adequately maintain customer data management processes and infrastructure. Diagnostic capabilities to understand data lineage. About one-half of those surveyed spotlighted the ability to access and analyze the end-to-end impact of data changes and root cause of data issues as well as view overall data lineage from source to target as an important best practice. Automated data cleansing and standardization rules. About one-third believe that documenting the rules for implementing cleansing, standardization, validation, enrichment, matching, and merging for automatic validation and remediation is an important best practice to follow. Enforcement of clear data definitions. About one-third sales reps and sales operations managers also identified that documenting, maintaining, and sharing standard enterprise data definitions is a good practice to implement. Which of the following best practices for improving customer data management would you consider most critical for your organization to be more successful? (percentage of respondents who cited each best practice among their top three, regardless of rank) A clear definition of the customer information we need to collect and analyze to support our sales processes Policies to adequately maintain customer data management processes and infrastructure Ability to access and analyze the end-to-end impact of data changes and root cause of data issues as well as view overall data lineage from source to target Documenting the rules for implementing cleansing, standardization, validation, enrichment, matching, and merging for automatic validation and remediation Documenting, maintaining, and sharing data relationships Sales representatives 72% 53% 43% 36% 35% Sales operations 79% 47% 51% 30% 27% Audits and measurements of operational data quality and data usage, based on predefined rules 21% 27% Documenting, maintaining, and enforcing data governance program policies 21% 23% Documenting, maintaining, and sharing standard enterprise data definitions 18% 15% Page 12

14 Page 13

15 In this study, Forrester conducted an online survey of 109 sales professionals and 91 sales operations managers working at large organizations in the US. The purpose of the survey was to evaluate how important high-quality and actionable customer prospect data is to achieving peak levels of sales performance. Survey participants included decision-makers in sales, marketing, and information technology (IT). Questions provided to the participants asked about the importance of customer information to meeting their goals and the strength of their companies capabilities with regard to customer information and data management practices. Respondents were offered e-rewards credit as a thank you for time spent on the survey. The study began in March 2012 and was completed within the same month. The 200 total survey respondents were managers and individual contributors from large enterprises in the US from a cross-section of industries that sell primarily to other businesses (see Figure B1, Figure B2, Figure B3, and Figure B4). Sales professionals (reps) are defined as individuals primarily responsible for driving sales growth, market penetration, and client acquisition as well as prospecting for new business. Sales operations professionals are defined as managers who support sales forecasting/planning/budget processes; prepare and distribute sales results; support sales training and communications; and secure and deploy sales technology and tools. Using your best estimate, how many employees work for your firm/organization worldwide? 1,000 to 4,999 employees (large) 31% 5,000 to 19,999 employees (very large) 24% 20,000 or more employees (global 2,000) 45% Page 14

16 Which title best describes your position at your organization? C-level Executive (e.g., Chief Sales Officer [CSO]) 3% Vice President "in charge of one/several large departments" 17% Director (manage a team of managers and high-level contributors) 31% Manager (manage a team of functional practitioners) 35% Project Manager (manage ad hoc project teams) 1% Full-time Practitioner (work within a team or as an individual contributor) 14% Which of the following best describes the primary industry to which your company belongs? Manufacturing and Materials Financial Services and Insurance 20% 20% Electronics/Computers 13% Transportation and Logistics Telecommunications Services Software Consulting 10% 9% 9% 8% Business Services 6% Consumer Product Manufacturing Chemicals and Metals 3% 4% Page 15

17 To whom does your company sell primarily? Mostly consumers % Consumers and businesses roughly equally 32% Mostly businesses 69% Don't know % 1 Source: The Forrester Wave : CRM Suites For Large Organizations, Q2 2010, Forrester Research, Inc., June 16, Source: Master Data Management: Customer Maturity Takes A Great Leap Forward, Forrester Research, Inc., August 26, Page 16

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