Podcast: Why you need all data on one contact card

By Alexander Evjenth

Podcast: Why you need all data on one contact card

If Zooma had a motto, it would undoubtedly be "omnes notitia in unum contactum charta" - that's "all data on one contact card" in English, I think - any classicists are welcome to provide a better translation. Having all the information about your individual contacts collected in one central place is essential if you want to provide a good experience and service. In this episode, we talk a little bit more about this idea, why it's so important, and how you should implement it.

Here at Zooma, we know we've reached this goal. Using the HubSpot CRM, each individual contact in our database, regardless of whether they're a customer, evangelist or lead, has their own contact card. The contact card is where we gather all of the information about that person - not only their contact details and company, but also all of the meetings, emails, phone calls and other interactions we've had with them, as well as the status of their ongoing deals and projects.

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By having this data in place, we can instantly see all the information we would ever need about that person whenever we want. It makes things a lot easier when we need to contact them, share information internally, or discover what topics and offers they might be interested in.

Unfortunately, we're fairly unique in having this kind of setup - at least compared to many large, traditional B2B companies. There, contact and customer data are usually spread far and wide - in various competing databases, in Excel sheets, paper files, email inboxes, and sometimes only in the memories of salespeople. It may be possible to keep the wheels turning with this kind of CRM approach, but it's certainly not optimal - and it can make life a lot more difficult for your customers and contacts when they interact with your company.

Everyone knows what it's like to call customer service and end up explaining your problem five times to different people before you finally get forwarded to the person who can help you. This happens because the people on the other end of the line don't know anything about you, and they can't find relevant information when they need it.

This all-too-common situation can be avoided by making a switch - centralise your systems and ensure that all of your contact data is available on individual contact cards. This approach is essential for providing a good service, but it's often challenging to implement, especially if you're not prepared to change your core way of working and invest time in manual work.

That was the topic of discussion for this episode. Take a listen on Spotify or Soundcloud with the buttons below, and get Anders and Stellan's view on why, when and how you should implement this way of working in your company.

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AE: [00:00:00] So how has the week been Stellan?

SB: [00:00:03] It's been an eventful week with lots of stuff happening.

AE: [00:00:11] Good! So in today's episode, we're going to talk about all the customer data on one contact card, that doesn't sound that communicative, but, Anders, it's something you often talk about. Can you explain a bit why it's that important?

AB: [00:00:29] I cannot see as a disadvantage for a company, that each individual doing business with a company, that you can see every single interaction that they do with a company and every transaction, every interaction etcetera on one contact card, the only complement you need to that is the summary of all the contacts within one customer, and that you have in one company card.

AE: [00:00:55] And Stellan, for the listeners who don't know what a contact card is. Could you briefly explain what it is?

SB: [00:01:01] Yeah. So in any record that you have of customers and prospects, what you want to basically have is one view of all the interactions that you have with that individual. And so that's your contact card. It's one area, one place where you can see everything that's going on. So you could think of it as a timeline, in a certain way.

AE: [00:01:24] And Anders, what's the status out there? How do companies store their data today?

AB: [00:01:32] I believe that in one previous episode then I challenged all the listeners to tell if they could show that and it's been awfully quiet, although the number of listeners is getting closer and closer to a billion per episode. And I would guess that we're talking about 0.1 Percent of all the companies in the whole world, mostly. Stellan was hoping that I would now say my 'one percent rule', but I actually don't believe that, at least the companies that we usually talk about here and that we have vast experience from working with meaning industrial traditional companies who have a sales organization, a service organization, customer service, field support, marketing, et cetera. I would be very, sort of very happily surprised if more than 0.01 percent could show me that they have all the data on one contact card for each individual that they do business with. I would be very, very happy, but certainly very surprised.

AE: [00:02:51] And what does it mean to not have the data on one contact card? Is it that you have duplicated or you've missed some information, or?

AB: [00:02:59] I mean, if you look from the outside, it's obvious we are in that situation, each one of us, every day. I can give you a very rude but perhaps a very good example. One of the largest CRM companies in the world, at least how I function, I presume that, let's say it's the most famous CRM company in the world. I show interest in them. I download something and then someone from somewhere in the world sends an automated email and says, "do you want to book a meeting?" No, sir, I don't want to book a meeting. And then in a while I do something else. I interact on their site. I participate in a webinar, and then someone else from somewhere in this large CRM company contacted me and asked for a meeting. And I say no. And then after a while, I start surfing on their partner pages because I want to know more, and I do some submission and someone else contacts me and calls me, and then I can't stop having fun anymore because then I ask, "Before we book our meeting, because most likely we are very interested in a partnership. Can you tell me the history you have had with me before we met today?" And the person said, "Where would I find that?" And in my world, they had my phone number, they had my company name, they had my name, they had an email address.

AB: [00:04:33] But obviously either they didn't care or they didn't store it in the same place and definitely not connected to my email address because I think over time, I don't remember Stellan, but about 10 interactions with this company. So if you are a CRM company and don't do like you preach, perhaps you only sell systems and perhaps you want to make hourly good hourly rates on all the consultants running around doing stuff in the tools. So if you look at that, what advantage would this company have if they had one contact card? If I look from an experience perspective and if if you look at most things you do, distribution companies are involved and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, no one is interested in the experience that you have. If I'm a client of an industrial company, maybe we work together for ten years. Of course, it's nice. If I have a problem, maybe I have bought a forklift, and I contact service and they say, "I see, three days ago this guy was out this, OK, we're going to solve this and so on," that they have my perspective on things, my so-called outside perspective, and understand how it is to be me. Friendly people who have a memory are nice to do business, with people who are transactional and want to book meetings, whatever the history is, not very nice to do business with. Stellan was smiling a couple of times now.

SB: [00:06:15] No, I was thinking about one of our former colleagues, because you buy a new car, they have all the information about you, even your credit records, because if you take out a loan for the car, you lease it. And then like two weeks after he bought the car, a completely new car, he gets an email saying, "would you like to scrap your car?" There's now, I don't know, a thousand euro bonus if you scrap your car and buy a new car.


AB: [00:06:41] He actually had a reduction on the on the next car. I don't remember the amount, but he got so upset. So he started sending emails to the marketing manager of that company, and if I remember right, to the CEO and some other people. And all of them explained the same thing. And now we come to the important thing. Alexander, it's awful that the largest CRM company in the world doesn't use the CRM. But in this case, when this person was emailing all of the decision-makers, they answered, "Yeah, yeah, but you have to understand one thing, our financial system and our email marketing system and the database where you blah, blah, blah, and the email blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah," they actually explained why it became wrong and motivated that, due to that they had different databases, and that he should understand that this happens because they don't care about the databases. That was the answer he was presumed to accept. His problem was he didn't like that car brand anymore and he never, ever bought a car from them again.


AE: [00:08:00] But if you are a large B2B enterprise, Stellan, and you have various departments with different systems, is it possible to achieve this and put all customer data on one contact card?


SB: [00:08:17] Now you start to get to the holy grail! Of course it is possible, but it requires lots of different thinking than what is normally part of optimizing an ongoing business to maximize short-term profits. So basically, you have to do things differently tomorrow than what you did today and ideally do it incrementally. And what most companies try to do is to make it like a huge change project and say, "OK, now we're going to spend three years and we're going to rebuild all the systems and everything is going to work brilliantly in three years." And the problem is that, yeah, the system might, but the people who work there are still used to working the way they have always been working. So and you can't sort of solve this problem in any other way, than by changing people's behavior, change prioritisations, and perhaps also change systems. But to do this every day, that would be my argument. It's very, very difficult to succeed with these big platform projects that are supposed to solve all our different behaviors. I think in one episode we talked about, you know, if you can create the mother of all Excels and be successful with that in terms of how people use that Excel, then you can change systems.


AB: [00:09:44] And how about this one? Hopefully, there's one decision-maker in the world listening today, they have never, ever been thinking about this approach to start with the decision that you should have all that on one contact card. So if you make that decision, then you're most likely better off than everyone else except for 0.1 percent or whatever I said. And what I mean by this is that usually when you talk that you want to sort of enable sales or have better control of your figures, you start talking about the systems and you know how it is to talk with people who sell software, open APIs, integrations. Yeah, no problem. But the problem is, if you have the demand that the next step for whatever sort of stack we have is this is the prerequisite, we're going to stop there and everything else needs to adapt to that. But if you start in the other way or you like always integration projects ever ongoing, no one using them, everyone less satisfied for each project that you get started with. I was in a meeting a couple of weeks ago in a discussion about sort of integrations between different systems, etcetera, and when people who know way more about me, about integrations, one of the first comments I heard in my working life was, "if anyone says 'no problem' when you talk about integrations, then run as fast as you can in a direction where you won't be close to them." I think everyone overcomplicates things, and I think too many spend time on doing nice plans and having long projects. So my challenge is it takes three weeks, to answer your question very promptly, my answer is three weeks. If that decision is taken, take three weeks, configure, specify, integrate, all the nice words, three weeks in a global company.


AE: [00:12:13] Do you agree Stellan?


SB: [00:12:14] Another way to test it would be to do zero integrations and solve everything manually. I would challenge a lot of these companies on how much data they actually generate today because they have fewer interactions. They don't have that much data. So essentially, you could assign the person to be responsible to merge all the data on a weekly basis. That's another way to do it. And I think in many discussions, everyone is looking for a software solution to a problem. But you can solve a lot by simply changing the way you work.


AB: [00:12:50] Now, there is a couple of things to think about. We need to start a pre-study. Alexander, now you have three weeks, or appoint someone who handles everything to run the system.


AE: [00:13:16] Anders, I know that you put a lot of manual work into our database at Zooma, each and every day. Can you explain a bit what you do?


AB: [00:13:27] In a short version. If if you get an interaction with someone and have their permission to store the data, then you can do some, let's call it investigating. You investigate a bit around that person, although you don't store it because you're not allowed to do it, to better find out who it is and perhaps earlier decide if you should change the sequences, or the automation or anything else. Based on sort of what you presume are the individual needs. The database you now talk about has around three thousand people in there. I love to do challenges. It's the best quality data that any company in the world that is not an e-commerce company has on their data. And we spend around 30 to 60 minutes per day to manually nurture all data.


AE: [00:14:34] And it's that one person, or several, or?


AB: [00:14:38] I can be on several persons, but in my case, at least 30 minutes per day. And I mean, if I look in general a B2B company's database or CRM, they have a number of thousand people. Think like this now, that if if you want to add something to each contact caard that you can't automate, let's say you spend a minute per contact card and you have ten thousand contacts. OK, so the earlier you can have the data in, sort of in order, the easier to do something. And if you then want to change the system, the data is in order. That's not the case for most companies. The data is not in order. And you're about to change systems, start with the data and start with the use cases and decide what you want to measure or get on the same contact card.


SB: [00:15:38] You have any input there Stellan?


[00:15:41] I think what we do is not sort of hocus pocus or out of reach for anyone to do, it's a perfectly normal way of working if you're responsible for data in your CRM. And so and you can talk about, you know, automating that in various ways. Different platforms have different names for it. So sales enablement, sales, automation, sequencing. But the fact is that like I'm just saying, if you don't have your data in order, it's pointless. Then you get these kind of, "Hey, would you like to book a meeting with me? Have a look at this fantastic thing that we're selling." And you go like, "Yeah, I know, because I'm a customer of yours." So now you have to do it one way around it and it's a very good way to start manually and then you figure out what you want to automate over time.


AB: [00:16:40] Right now, when we record this episode, we have a great intern at Zooma named Julia. I hope when the first one or two or three weeks she's been working with us passed by, I hope that she was thinking, "Oh my God, I sit and do manual work. I'm supposed to be a marketing automation intern." And I hope if she will work with something similar to automation in the future, she will be one of the few students that are aware that the better you handle it manually, the easier it is to set up all the automation and so on. She's most likely better qualified to work this time around than most CRM managers in the world are.


AE: [00:17:36] So Stellan, if you were about to share one important takeaway for the listener about customer data on one customer card, what would it be?


SB: [00:17:49] That it's a prerequisite for what most people and companies eventually talk about wanting to achieve, whether it's becoming sort of online-first, digital-first, digitalization initiatives, etcetera, you have to go in this direction. And if we would have gone back two or three years, everyone would have been talking about big data and so on, and now it's A.I., etcetera. All of this requires to have the data in order. It's as simple as that.


AB: [00:18:31] And Anders?


AB: [00:18:32] I know this may be difficult to see, yes, it is difficult to see. It's on zooma.se at the top right corner, whether you go to mobile or desktop, you find something saying, "get in touch". You can pick if you want to book a meeting, talk to an expert, or get an offer. That's your best chance to, in three weeks, get all your contact data on one contact card. Good luck.


AE: [00:18:59] Great. Thank you both for today.


AB: [00:19:02] Thank you, Alex. Thank you.



Alexander Evjenth
Alexander is a content creator who has a great interest in learning new things. What he enjoys even more is creating knowledge content.
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