You know that you’re supposed have data to create contextually-driven content and advertising. You know that data helps you serve your audience more effectively. Do you know what data you don’t have?

About The Data Gap

It’s great, of course, to know what types of data you have about your audience and prospective customers and how to leverage them, but it’s just as important to know where you need more information. Enter, the data gap. Data gaps are simply important pieces of information missing in your sales and marketing plan that could deepen your knowledge about your current customers, prospects, your industry and market and yes, your competition. Data gaps make it difficult to develop an intact sales funnel that can be clearly linked to revenue.

Specifically, data gaps, when filled, can reveal insights like:

And just as important, you will glean a clear ROI from your efforts. It’s about developing highly responsive segmentation and lead nurturing. Having a high quality database can improve lead conversion by up to 260%. Yet, many BtoB marketers don’t even know what quality of data they have.

How Do We Address Data Gaps?

  • Where you tend to lose people on your site e.g. is it immediately when they get there, or when they go to sign up for a newsletter?
  • What engages your audience the most.
  • How prospects get hooked on your site.
  • Where the industry is trending in new information and technology.
  • How your competition is garnering attention.

  1. Go back to basics. First, look at the tools you have in hand and make sure that you are using them to their greatest capability. You might think that sounds a little silly, but recent statistics show that 84% of marketing databases are barely functional. This came from a report that analyzed 61 million databases of BtoB marketers. Yikes.
  2. Do an audit. Look at what you currently have for data and decide what you should have in the future. Make sure you identify where your data may be outdated, incomplete or inaccurate. You can perform an audit yourself, but hiring a third-party contractor who specializes in this can guarantee a thorough and unbiased result.
  3. Get on the same page. This is a good time to also articulate the data needs of both your marketing and sales team and how they interface with each other. In fact, just as with an overall content marketing plan, your team needs to agree on what the gaps are and what the goals are. They need to know how to support each other’s initiatives by understanding how their efforts contribute to the outcome.
  4. Set priorities. Chances are, you have significant gaps to fill. As a team, identify those that are most pressing and prioritize the entire list.
  5. Decide how to fill the gaps. There are many ways to fill data gaps and some require new collection efforts on your part, while others require purchase from a third party. When you plan your own collection efforts, don’t forget the value of surveying your audience.
  6. Develop a plan. Once you know what you have and how you are going to fill in your data gaps, make sure that you have a plan for fully leveraging your existing data and interfacing appropriately with the new data that you will acquire to fill in the gaps.

Think of of it this way: data is the foundation for your sales and marketing efforts, investing in a sound foundation ensures you won't find yourself with your fingers pressed up against the cracks.