CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. This term is used by sales teams to describe contact management for leads. Among high-tech marketers, it usually refers to the software or systems used to manage relationships.
Before you jump into a CRM software, remember that first and foremost CRM is a part of your sales and marketing strategy. If your goal is to grow long-term relationships with customers and prospects over time to increase revenue and lifetime value, then you are seeking a smart CRM strategy. Everyone has a different bend on what CRM Strategy means - ranging from personalized communications to retargeting email ads. At the end of the day, CRM is all about how you can optimize Customer Relationships to maximize your sales.
There is no room for faking it when you are developing real relationships. If I was your marketing consultant, then I would ask you to close your eyes and imagine your customer. Can you describe this person? Do you know about how she spends her time or what his preferences are for communication? If not, then you probably do not actually understand your customers. That is okay, right now.
One of the most powerful things I discovered after implementing a CRM Strategy is that it also is a market research tool. Within Zoho CRM, for example, I can pull reports that show me patterns among my customers and prospects. It helps me better understand who is in my different target audiences.
With enough customer data, you can easily see the patterns among your own people - even if you're just using a spreadsheet right now. Perhaps you are attracting more people from a specific niche market than you realized. Knowing that has a major impact on your sales, marketing, and even operations.
Let's face it, people are demanding personalization more than ever. Potential customers may already be interested in your brand and quietly following you. The moment they feel treated like another number or generic customer, you have lost them.
There is so much power behind personalization. The customer data you've collected can help you to build stronger relationships with them and serve them better. You can ask smarter questions that directly relate to them and drive them to buy something new. You may even be surprised how far that custom birthday email goes.
This is more about your CRM system than your strategy, but the two are intertwined. A big issue for those quickly growing companies that are scaling is the sharing of information. When you suddenly have 3 new salespeople to train and they know nothing about your top customers, it's a problem.
In comes your CRM system. If you have created a CRM strategy and implemented a CRM system (like I have with Zoho CRM), then it is much easier to direct each salesperson to the contact record. If you have defined your strategy well and set up your system to reflect it, then it's easy to explain how to use the different modules and fields to track customer information. Say goodbye to wasted hours and reduce the likelihood of major mistakes.
Both over-messaging and under-messaging customers are problems for any business. So many small business owners have told me that they fear sending too many emails. On the other hand, the mid-size and large enterprises brag about the abundance of communications they send out.
If there are too many emails, SMS, social messages, and phone calls to customers, then customers may feel overwhelmed and shut down - it creates marketing content fatigue. On the other hand, disappearing from the mind of your customers is also ineffective.
There is a delicate balance in the frequency of customer communications. If you are tracking your customer communications using a CRM system, this is less of a problem. Assuming you have everything integrated, you can see all of the communications received by an individual. Even if your current CRM is a simple spreadsheet and you're tracking your interactions with contacts that way, you're ahead of many others.
Yes, we treat all customers equally with high-quality service and products. It's important to know which ones are the most valuable to the company. That means tracking your sales or deals with all the specific details and matching them up to the right customers. You may be able to do this with your bookkeeping software to an extent.
Using a CRM will also allow you a few other ways to understand the value of your customers. This includes attribution to any marketing campaigns that led to the sale, lead scoring, referral contacts, and a level of detail that is usually not on an invoice (such as a breakdown of the project deliverables).