Customer Communications + Productivity = A Smart CRM Strategy

Planning, process, systems, segmentation, and automation...these seemingly mundane concepts are the true key to balancing your customer relationships with your day-to-day business operations.

Customer Relationship Management (abbreviated "CRM”) is a term used to describe your customer communications strategy. It also refers to the software most businesses use for implementing that strategy. Before you get excited about another tech tool (or run for the hills), a smart CRM Strategy begins with people and your customer communications. 

How do you keep in touch with customers, prospects, vendors, and partners? Is it just as ideas pop up in your head? Do you have a specific system for maintaining those relationships?

For many of us, the answer to that last question is sort of or not really. However, maintaining regular communications with your vital business contacts is essential to the sustainability of your business in the long run.

 

Holiday Card Anxiety

If you plan on sending holiday cards out, then you'll need a plan for who you want to send cards to and why. The holidays can cause a lot of stress when you don't have a plan or a CRM strategy. 

  • Do you have a way of identifying your most important contacts to keep in touch with?  
  • Who is worth the time and energy of writing cards to?
  • Have you segmented your contact database?
  • Do you have the most up to date addresses for everyone? 
  • What is your process for keeping your records up to date?
  • When was the last time you spoke to that former customer?
  • What is the last thing you spoke about? What is happening in his/her business or life? Do you know?

 

Creating Return Buyers (Customer Retention)

We all know that it's more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer and get them to buy again.

  • What's your plan or strategy for sales retention? 
  • Are you keeping in touch with past customers?
  • Have you set up email automation or at least reminders for yourself?

 

Four Quick Steps to Smart CRM Strategy 

Holiday card anxiety and customer retention are just two of the problems you can potentially address by having a smart CRM strategy.  

  1. Decide what the most important things are for you to track. Maybe it is birthdays, work anniversary, basic contact information, past purchases, etc. 
  2. Get everything into one place. It can be a spreadsheet, word document, a notebook, or a CRM software. 
  3. Define your customer communications systems. What do you want to share, when, why, and how often? 
  4. Decide how you will track and manage it on an ongoing basis. *This is the step when a CRM software becomes very helpful. 

 

A CRM software can help you improve customer communications (think retention and increasing sales). It can also improve your productivity. In the long run, creating a CRM strategy and using the right CRM software may be the key to growing your business and freeing up some of your time.