Targeting the Right Customer

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Grow your business safely using prospect lists enriched with business insight, including verified company and financial data.

Growing a business has its pitfalls. Not all new customers, for instance, are good customers. That point is not lost on today’s business leaders. According to a report by The Economist Intelligence Unit, which surveyed nearly 400 business executives, 58% are concerned about the risks posed by customers facing bankruptcy or other credit problems.

The report, sponsored by D&B, notes that a quarter of businesses surveyed have already adopted a holistic approach to enterprise risk management, and are seeing good results. On the other extreme, nearly a quarter have no structured risk-management plan in place at all.

What’s the best way to get started? Here is one approach.When it comes time to qualify prospects, start by checking their fundamentals.

  • How well the company is performing financially?
  • Who is at the helm? How long? What’s their previous experience?
  • Who are the company’s customers? Who are its competitors?
  • What compliance or legal issues does the company face?

Another approach to finding high-value, low-risk prospects is to start with your existing customers, and build from there. You might be surprised to learn who your best customers are, when you apply these analytics:

  • Lifetime Value:  What is the total dollar amount of a customer’s purchases over the years
  • Tenure: How long has the customer been buying from you?
  • Products Purchased: Which products or services has the customer purchased?
  • Profit Generated: What is the total profit from the customer, factoring in costs associated with customer service issues, returns or defects, overnight shipping, in-person visits, discounts and any other business overhead?

Once you identify your best customers, you can use analytics tools to discover new prospects s who fit the same profile.

Companies that invest in the upfront work of building enriched prospects lists are in a much stronger position when it comes to finding and targeting new customers. These lists have the capability to integrate third-party data with internal transactional data to give decision-makers a clearer picture of who they’re doing business with and the opportunity they represent. Enriched lists also give sales and marketing professionals greater insight into their customer base, with up-to-date fundamentals including financial performance and credit risk data, along with historical business data and transactional data showing customers’ buying histories and behaviors.

When it comes to expanding business in emerging markets and Europe, the same rules apply. It will pay to take the time to research prospects and make smart choices that fit  your tolerance for risk. The bottom line: smart business insight will get you there much more quickly.

Get a free download of the report, Strategies for Managing Customer and Supplier Risks, and see the highlights in an interview with Alasdair Ross, senior editor at Economist Intelligence Unit.

Posted in Credit & Risk, Data Quality, Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain Management by Lisa Petrucci

Lisa Petrucci is Vice President of Dun & Bradstreet Global Alliances and Partnerships.

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