The team at CRIF outlines how Margo, its digital business intelligence tool, is helping businesses connect with risk data and financial information to monitor the state of health of historical markets, and advanced analytics to navigate the new post-pandemic business landscape.


In a world shaken by the pandemic, military conflicts and adverse climate conditions, companies need to constantly adapt to their surrounding environment to succeed. Due to the rapid pace of change, leaders who operate in the B2B sectors have a tough time navigating the customer acquisition cycle in the new normal of B2B sales.

According to a survey by McKinsey, omnichannel sales have soared during the pandemic and 85% of B2B organisations expect that hybrid reps, interacting with customers remotely, will be the most common sales role over the next three years. When this trend is confirmed, marketers and sales teams will need to make sure they are up to speed with the new ways of interacting with their new customers, getting fully qualified leads from digitally enabled companies that meet the criteria of the target audience, otherwise they’ll fail to feed the sales pipelines.

Furthermore, due to the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic in terms of the stability of the business environment, many companies have gone out of business and others may follow suit; therefore, there is a growing need among companies that operate in the B2B sectors to reduce the risks involved in sales cycles. Often, corporate and financial institutions face a trade-off between acquiring new customers and creditworthy ones who don’t bring financial risks. This trade-off is also a factor when planning activities on current customers, such as upselling or cross-selling campaigns.


Margo, the new frontier in marketing services

Before every sales activity gets started, it is very important to gather accurate and up-to-date business information to drive the success of the initiative. According to Forrester’s Predictions 2022, “persistent digital engagement will become the norm, with 70% of marketers adopting an always-on digital engagement strategy”.

Marketing teams who recognise the needs of the modern digital buyer are well-positioned to develop initiatives that deliver value and revenue growth. To satisfy these needs, based on its capabilities and extensive experience in B2B data and digital technologies at a global level, CRIF created Margo, a digital business intelligence tool for B2B marketing and sales acceleration; an interactive and customisable tool which provides complete and trusted business information that is always up to date, with full coverage of the market concerned.

As sales data is being increasingly digitalised, it accumulates over time. Marketers underestimate the build-up of outdated information in corporate databases until it leads to high IT costs and bad sales performance. Recently a global player in the recruitment industry realised this, and managed to clean up its database of 150,000 prospect and supplier companies to get rid of inactive companies and save 32% on manual quality checks.

In this context, Margo supports marketers by uploading a list of companies to the platform, which can be, for example, the client’s customers or suppliers. The business intelligence tool will perform data quality checks and data cleansing and will also enrich the information in order to have complete and updated records.

With full coverage and hundreds of data fields and filters, Margo allows the user to perform in-depth market analyses, segmenting the business landscape. In this way, a Sales Director can isolate the right prospects for a tailored and optimised marketing campaign.

As the global business environment evolves, new business fields emerge which don’t fall into the traditional industrial classifications established and curated by national statistical offices. As a result of this evolution, the boundaries between categories are often blurred and marketers find it difficult to identify niche businesses such as companies that work in the 3D printing or solar panel businesses.

To tackle this issue, using web crawling technologies and software for text analysis, CRIF has mapped keywords connected to every company’s website and official sources; in this way the user can look for specific keywords, and identify the businesses which work on that specific topic. This tool is available on Margo as the Semantic Search that allows the user to transcend the typical Industrial Classifications and analyse the market using natural language.

Thanks to the use of crawling data and sophisticated machine learning models, CRIF has developed scores to gauge the digital affinity of companies and help marketers to spot digitally enabled companies that have a higher likelihood of being engaged via modern marketing channels.


Flexibility and scalability to improve business performance

Many players in the business information industry provide information but fail to give the appropriate context to make it actionable in the context of marketing and sales activities. With datasets in the millions of companies, it may sound a challenging task to narrow down the prospects that are more likely to move along the sales funnel and become customers. This is why it is crucial to equip a sales intelligence tool not only with data, but also with actionable insights, such as knowing which prospects are similar to your current customers to maximise your chance of signing them up.

From an organisational perspective, there are several complexities involved in signing up new customers: for this to happen effectively there has to be cross-functional communication and collaboration across the sales and marketing teams as well as corporate tools that, aside from targeting and prospecting, facilitate the sharing of sales data. Often data providers supply disconnected silos of information: the targeting and prospecting phases happen in list extraction tools, whereas the collection of negotiation statuses happens in a different “customer relationship management” or CRM system.

CRIF Global Marketing solutions not only provide information and insights on businesses, they also help users reach out to them. Acting as a CRM tool, Margo users can create a sales campaign, cooperating with their salesforce, who can share client feedback directly on the platform. All this happens in the same seamless, integrated system, without the need to exchange additional emails or documents. Moreover, to fully meet the needs of the organisations facing the new normal, the solutions fully support hybrid customer interactions with remote selling capabilities.

No large-scale marketing and sales campaign goes ahead without the appropriate compliance checks; therefore, it is important for the business information available on the platform to be official, verified and GDPR-compliant. On top of this, CRIF decided to build on its knowledge of statistics and economics, making available on Margo not only official data available but also an array of analytics and KPIs based on such information. These analytics capture nuances and insights about businesses, such as their profitability or their attitude toward innovation.

Since its debut, Margo has helped businesses in a variety of countries to connect with risk data and financial information to monitor the state of health of historical markets, and advanced analytics to navigate the new post-pandemic business landscape. Over the last year, users have spent an average of 15 minutes on the platform, well above the four-minute average for all industries and the even shorter three minutes in the finance industry according to the ContentSquare Digital Experience Benchmark Report by Industry.

With its ease of use and applicability to business challenges, Margo is the end-to-end asset that CRIF uses to lead change and innovation in the market, delivering new tools for digitalisation, data and business intelligence which define the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Many clients have found Margo so promising that they have invested in developing APIs together with CRIF’s Global Marketing Services, optimising the platform to their marketing operations.

The platform is used by banks and insurance companies for its risk indicators and credit analytics, so that they are engaging only with trustworthy clients with a need for financing. Balance sheet data and financial analytics help them in the negotiation phase. Moreover, prominent energy and telecommunication providers use Margo to manage their salesforce and empower their employees with a sophisticated tool, which provides insights on business topics to negotiate and converse with prospects; by integrating Margo with their own CRM, they improve processes and enhance their salesforce.

Manufacturing companies can benefit from a smart master data management tool to quality check their extensive portfolios of clients and leads, so they can spend more time focusing on selling, while SMEs obtain easy access to a business information and prospecting tool, employing a user-friendly platform which requires no advanced skills or complex setups, unlocking the potential of data and business information with no barriers to entry.


About CRIF

CRIF is a global company specialising in credit and business information systems, analytics, outsourcing and processing services, as well as advanced digital solutions for business development and open banking.

Through continuous innovation, the use of state-of-the-art technology and a strong information management culture, CRIF supports 10,500 banks and financial institutions, more than 600 insurance companies, 82,000 business clients and 1,000,000 consumers in more than 50 countries across four continents.

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