Joining the dots

A series of acquisitions left M247 with a lot of unconnected data. With some help from Dun & Bradstreet, they were able to combine this data to create an intelligence led customer focus

Have you ever wondered what it would take to merge three separate customer databases and three sales teams to create a single customer view that could drive a market strategy? That was exactly the challenge facing global cloud services provider M247 after a series of acquisitions.

Considered by some as the UK's leading connectivity led converged cloud services provider, M247 needed to combine three companies across the UK and Europe - M247, Metronet and Venus Business Communications - and align its customers in more than 120 countries.

The three customer databases existed in glorious isolation, with over 34,000 customer records. The challenge was increased because two of the databases were built in Salesforce, with one being bespoke. Each database had its own sales team, some inconsistent customer profiles and no apparent way to align them.

Roger Watson, Head of Business Insight at M247 realised that in order to drive organic growth, it was urgent and critical to combine relevant information from the databases to create a single customer view and eliminate outdated and duplicate records. Commenting, he said "Having a single customer view with additional firmographic data and customer intelligence meant that we would be able to focus on segmenting customers, based on their potential for growth in the future. We needed to understand the opportunity for cross-sell, which areas were most profitable, and where any future growth could actually come from."

With the challenge understood, Watson explains, Dun & Bradstreet showed real strength in linking data between different entities. "The breadth and depth of data, plus the ability to access, analyse and interrogate it, allowed us to adjust our go-to-market strategy and drive business growth."

M247 invested in four Dun & Bradstreet products; Market Insight, D&B Telecoms Buydex, D&B Hoovers and D&B Credit. Market Insight provided innovative data analysis and visualisation to better profile its worldwide customer base against the UK universe. Essentially, it allowed M247 to analyse and segment customers across different channels globally.

Using D&B Telecoms Buydex, a fact-based measurement model, M247 could identify prospects based on their overall market spend. D&B Hoovers is specially designed to allow the modern-day sales professional to gain information that is critical to closing a business deal faster, and the final piece of the puzzle was D&B Credit, a business credit report and next-generation risk intelligence model to facilitate faster, smarter credit decisions.

The combined solutions provided M247 with the correct data to complete each complex merger without suffering a data deluge. Watson adds, "At M247 we understand the importance of quality data. Our mission statement is 'intelligence-led decision making' and Dun & Bradstreet was the only company that understood our requirements and was able to deliver the solution that worked for us."

M247 now has access to a complete, 360° view of each customer using quality data. It can segment customers based on their potential for growth, rather than company size, or another standalone metric.

Summing up, Watson said, "We can deliver market-leading growth and profitability and are performing ahead of the market. It has also completely streamlined processes that were once complex, segmenting customers into three categories; key accounts, incubators (with the potential to grow and become key accounts) and online. This enables a focused sales approach."

Adam Leslie, European Sales & Marketing Solutions Leader at Dun & Bradstreet explained that because of more relevant and targeted marketing, M247 now has a much deeper understanding to drive its UK and international growth. Watson concludes, "All the evidence shows that it is working. Cross-sales are up, growth is up, and we have a strong pipeline of future opportunities." NC