Now what does the title mean by discriminate? Hot-button topics like racial and sexual discrimination seem a far cry from either lead generation or CRM software. But if you read this article from O'Reilly Radar, the use of big data in CRM could bring these civil rights issues a lot closer to home than you think:
“If I collect information on the music you listen to, you might assume I will use that data in order to suggest new songs, or share it with your friends. But instead, I could use it to guess at your racial background. And then I could use that data to deny you a loan.”
You will also find a few paragraphs warning against using data to personlize. While you don't have to agree that it leads to discrimination, it's still a possibility. The lesson you must learn here is that your data shouldn't be used to discriminate. This goes not just for your CRM software but also for your own lead generation services and tools.
In B2C, it's so easy to generalize but in B2B, generalizing comes at a higher price when done in excess. Just because you've obtained the necessary tools to guess at a company's entire profile doesn't mean you should assume and decide whether or not they should meet your sales team. You must never, ever be too quick to assume.
At the very least, hear it right out of their mouths before doing a major action just based on the assumption. Your CRM software leads should be at their highest value before sending them over to sales and that requires more than that data profile you've assembled without direct interaction. The two more things to obtain this value are:
- High level of interest – They need to be interested in your offer. Your marketers should first get their interest (be it through advertising, telemarketing, website marketing etc). Wait for a positive response and then build upon that response. Ask questions that they are willing to answer and tread carefully when you're starting to sound nosy.
- High level of trust – Speaking of which, the only way you can avoid sounding too nosy is if you've gained enough trust. If you've gathered information on their business prior to contact, then it should be used to benefit them and not be a cause for disappointment, inconvenience, worse, suspicion.
You need to use what you've learned to find out the whole truth instead of just discriminating based on data. Businesses can be a lot harder to generalize because there are more factors that could determine their need that not even big data technology can automatically acquire. That data should only be the beginning and not the end-all of your entire qualification process.
Now if you're going to insist on using that data, at least compare it to the information you obtained from directly engaging with them. Does it confirm or deny it? For example, you've learned a particular industry is bad to target. All of a sudden you get a call from a business working in this industry, do you automatically disqualify them? No, you shouldn't. It's better to talk to them first. They could be an exception to the rule or the data itself is not as informative as you think. Learn to weight both to determine all the facts. Pure data should never be used to discriminate!