BtoB Summit 2023

"I think it's just a matter of empathizing with your audience to identify the right posture."
Nathalie SCHULTZ
Chief Executive Officer

Data maturity of French companies: 
 Are we still in the evangelization phase?

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the BtoB Summit, BtoB Leaders had the pleasure to discuss with Nathalie Schulz, Managing Director of the IDAIA Group, a Data Marketing specialist. On the agenda: the emergence of the B2B super-buyer, the expectation of hyper-personalization of prospects, the degree of Data maturity of French companies and the evolution of the CMO profession over the last decade. Translated with (free version)

Could you come back in a few words on your professional career?
I think I have a rather atypical background, insofar as I am a financial engineer by training. I worked as a corporate account manager in the banking sector for about ten years before moving to the corporate world, mainly on consulting and transition management assignments for SMEs in growth (or decline) crisis.*
My desire to work in a team and to be part of a long-term project led me to join one of my clients as CFO. While moving from banking to business, I quickly developed a passion for marketing and sales. In 2008, I co-founded DQE Software. Driven by a life project, I decided to leave the company in 2020, and this is how I seized the opportunity to join the IDAIA Group, a group I know well since we had the opportunity to collaborate together via DQE Software. 

Can you tell us more about the IDAIA Group's value proposition?
The IDAIA Group has been in existence for over 30 years. We help companies improve their performance by putting data at the heart of their strategy. As a major player in Data-Driven Marketing, we structure our value chain around a complete response to the marketing and communication challenges of advertisers:
- Acquisition and conversion through data, marketing and communication tools, and websites
- Loyalty through customer knowledge and data science for marketing performance (scoring, Neoprism® typology, segmentation, etc.)
- Customer experience, in particular by facilitating customer journeys through APIs to help with data entry.

We are witnessing the emergence of a B2B super-buyer persona. This demanding, informed and autonomous prospect expects a hyper-personalized approach from Sales and Marketing. How to adapt to this context?
I fully agree with this observation. In fact, I published an article a few weeks ago where I talked about this hyper-personalization. I think that it is enough to empathize with your audience to identify the posture to adopt. In short, it's about communicating with our customers the way we want our providers to communicate with us.
I am more likely to respond to salespeople who are interested in my issues and make an effort to understand, or try to understand, my challenges. Salespeople who adopt a logic of advice and partnership are de facto in the personalization of the relationship.
I also think that good salespeople have the ability to adapt their approach to the state of mind of their interlocutor at the moment "M". Some prospects are receptive to offensive sales approaches, others must be seduced over time.

You conducted a survey on the Data maturity of French companies (4.7/10 in 2021 versus 3.5/10 in 2020). We are still below the average despite a slight improvement. What do you think are the main difficulties that French companies are facing in this area?
I think it's primarily a bandwidth issue. The professionals in charge of these topics already have a lot to do. There is also a lack of maturity on the usefulness of Data for overall performance.
It's up to players like us to educate and evangelize in order to prioritize this need, including with large companies that are not always aware of the potential of Data. I also think that the major schools do not necessarily promote the culture of Data-Driven decision-making.

The BtoB Summit is celebrating its 10th year. What do you think is the major difference between the CMO of the early 2010s and the CMO of today?
I'll spare you the obvious answer of digital transformation (laughs)... and I'll answer "Data", although I think the adoption of data has not been for the right reasons. Indeed, I think it was the implementation of the RGPD that made marketing react rather than a real awareness.
By force of circumstance, the CMO has realized the importance of customer knowledge. The new restrictions on mass mailing have, for example, pushed him to better work on his targeting and personalize his message to boost the conversion rate and generate the same number of conversions on much smaller audiences.
Finally, I would say that the CMO is now much more attentive to the target's behaviors on the web to feed the customer knowledge brick... where brands used to have to wait for the customer's arrival in the store to better understand his expectations.