Darian Shirazi is the CEO of Radius.
In this exclusive interview, CRM Buyer discusses with Shirazi how companies can turn complex data into actionable insights.
Darian Shirazi: One of the interesting things about CRM and marketing automation is that most of these systems have poor data quality. Typically, customers buy data lists or get inbound leads, and the information associated with those accounts, opportunities and leads ends up decaying quickly and being inaccurate.
The problem is keeping that information up-to-date and making sure that the contact information and the attributes of the accounts and opportunities that you're going after stay fresh. That's a big problem for almost every enterprise out there that has a CRM or marketing automation system. It makes it challenging to know which accounts to target and how to target them.
CRM Buyer: How can data be kept fresh and up-to-date?
Shirazi: One of the things you can do is to have a data stewardship program that allows users to refresh their CRM information and keep it up-to-date. Before they can get started with predictive analytics, and before they can get started with multichannel approaches, they have to solve that underlying data problem. They have to solve for data decay.
CRM Buyer: What is co-marketing, and why is it important?
Shirazi: Co-marketing is the ability of companies to leverage each other's brands to go after same set of customers. In the consumer space, many companies co-market with each other. But in the B2B space, it can be difficult to do it because you have to focus on key accounts, and you have to select those specific accounts.
You have to see where there's prospect overlap and customer overlap. By leveraging each other's brands, as well as going after companies that are already a customer of one but not the other, they can drive higher conversion at a lower cost. Co-marketing is the ability to target the right accounts and leverage each other's brands.
CRM Buyer: How can companies translate complex data into actionable insights? What is the key to succeeding in this translation?
Shirazi: You need to take the raw data in your CRM and marketing automation systems, predict where you're going to have success in the future, and target those accounts in the right place.
One of the challenges goes back to the data decay problem. It's garbage-in and garbage-out if you don't solve that foundational data problem. The foundational data problem is the first step toward high predictability. It turns out if you have high-quality data, your predictive models don't actually need to be that good to drive good results.
CRM Buyer: How would you define "predictive acquisition," and why is it important?
Shirazi: Predictive acquisition is either getting net-new prospects that are recommended to you or inbound leads that are prioritized by which ones you should call first. That's something that every company needs, especially companies with high volumes of inbound and outbound sales.
CRM Buyer: What are some of the current trends you're seeing in account-based marketing?
Shirazi: One of the significant trends we're seeing is that people are moving away from IP-based targeting and more toward cookie-based targeting. One of the challenges is that it's pretty difficult to match cookie targeting to an actual ad.
The way some companies have solved it is by using IP tracking, but now people are looking for more highly targeted methods of placing ads, so they can target directly to a business contact at a company on Facebook, Twitter, display and mobile. The technology has gotten much better in the last couple of years, so cookie-based targeting is replacing IP-based targeting.
The second trend is that customers are starting to see that in order to convert accounts into customers, they're going to have to take a multichannel approach. They're going to have to make sure that the decision makers and the stakeholders see their ads in all the right places, whether it's online or in a direct mail piece, and then combine all of these channels together before a sales rep makes a phone call.
CRM Buyer: What do you think is in the future for account-based marketing?
Shirazi: In the future, companies will be able to target people with custom-created ads directly. We're developing an ability to map decision makers directly to a cookie so that we can target them in the right place at the right time with direct targeting across many different channels.
What you'll see is that the way people market in the B2B space will begin to mirror what happens in the B2C space.