In today's fast-paced world, customers, and potential customers, are more demanding than ever. When they can go online and find five alternative options in less than five minutes, we as businesses have to work harder to keep their attention, keep up the right level of engagement, and provide outstanding customer service. But how do busy businesses find the time to keep track of all of this and make those customers happy?
Well, that's where a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems comes in. In fact, that's pretty much the purpose of CRM. You can use these systems to streamline your business process, ensure your communication with customers and leads is recorded and accessible, and generate insights and actions from the data you have stored.
The scope of CRM can be huge, or it can be limited to what your business needs. CRM is a tool that offers plenty of ways for you to streamline, organise, and improve your business, and there are multiple options out there, from 365 to HubSpot.
1. Open up more opportunities with better communication records
With a CRM, you can automatically record all conversations between employees and customers so that anyone in your business can jump on a case with all the information at their fingertips. This can greatly enhance your customer relationships, ensuring that every conversation with your clients is well-informed of any background information, current progress, or future plans.
In terms of your customer relationship management strategy, a CRM allows you to keep everything you need in one place, accessible to everyone who needs it. Make your communication timely, relevant, and simple.
If a customer has been talking to your sales team about a particular product or service, having that information in the CRM means that your other customer-facing teams know what they're interested in or thinking about. And the same goes the other way around.
For example, let's say one of our tech support clients has been having an issue with their document management. They've mentioned it to our tech team, who helped with the immediate concern, and that info is stored in the CRM. The account manager can see that log, and knows that we have a service that would help with the specific issue the client is having. They can have a chat with sales, and work together to create a proposal for the client.
It's a win-win. Ultimately, our client gets a better level of service because we have a robust CRM with detailed records of what matters to them.
2. Nurture leads into sales
While having a clear recorded pathway of communication is great for your existing clients, it’s also great for potential ones.
In a CRM system, you can fully track the interaction between your business and a prospective customer, nurturing your leads right from the start. This way, you can ensure that every touch point with a lead is in line with your business objectives, as well as keeping track of their place in the buying journey.
The customer relationship management process starts before your leads even become customers, and shows them what to expect from your brand before they commit to engaging with you. By using a CRM to provide useful insights during the early stages of the relationship, you demonstrate the value you can offer.
Every time your potential customer gets in contact, or reviews your website, or re-reads an email, you'll know about it. You can see where they might be most interested, or what areas are sticking points, and tailor your approach to future conversations.
You can use your CRM to plan lead nurturing campaigns, sending personalised emails to segments of your database (fully in line with GDPR, of course) to touch on what matters to them at their stage in the buying process.
The best part of this is that your CRM system can automate a lot of this work. Your sales team can focus on your warm and hot leads, while your CRM quietly gets on with nurturing cooler leads in the background, working them towards becoming warm leads. You get to spend your time on more qualified, likely prospects, without losing potential sales through not having the resource to keep in contact with everyone.
3. Continually improve with accurate tracking
With the facility to track the whole cycle from initial contact to sale, you can find out what works and what doesn’t. The whole buying journey is visible, with incredibly accurate tracking, so you can identify the assets, content, campaigns, and even individual pages on your site that contribute to a lead becoming a customer.
You can link up your CRM to your website, Google Ads, and social media accounts so you can see exactly how visitors found your business, and follow that right through to the conversion action.
When you know what's most effective for your business, you can ramp up efforts in that area, and spend less time on the elements that don't contribute to your goals. As you do that, you'll generate more data, so you can continually optimise, test, and improve your customer relationship management process.
By breaking your database into segments, you can see what's effective for each one, which makes it much easier to strengthen the parts of your sales process that need help. If your pipeline is weak at the top of the funnel, you know you need to put more effort into that area. If your conversions are all coming from one social media platform and not the other two or three that you're running, you know you can scale down effort on those unsuccessful platform, and so on.
Because your CRM tracks customer interaction across your whole ecosystem, you can easily get these insights and work from accurate data - always the best approach to running a business!
4. Continue to nurture your customers once they've converted
CRM best practices aren't confined to your pre-sales processes. One of the most powerful aspects is being able to form a solid customer relationship and establish a real partnership with your customers. And great customer relationships mean happy customers, and more referrals!
In addition to the improved communication opportunities we detailed at the start of this post, CRM systems have a variety of other customer nurturing capabilities. Segment your database by whatever means make sense for your business, and send targeted, personalised emails to keep your customers up to date on what matters to them. You might segment by the type of product or service they have from you, or perhaps their industry. By targeting your emails to a particular segment, you give your customers added value, because the content is more likely to be highly relevant to them.
If your customer has previously shown an interest in another of your products or services, but hasn't yet committed for some reason, keeping track of that in the CRM makes it very easy to reach out to them if you offer a discount or special promotion on that item.
You can see the full engagement any customer has had with your business. Which means you can spot trends in how they engage, when they engage, and what they're interested in. And that makes it much easier to anticipate their needs and work on bringing the right products and services to them at the right time.
5. Re-engage former customers or leads
With a CRM system on hand, you've got plenty of historic data to draw from. You could generate a list of customers you worked with over a set period of time ago, perhaps a year, and reach out to see how they're doing. You can choose whether or not to go with a hard sell, or a simple 'hey, wanted to see how things were going with you,' email - with the data you have in your CRM, you should be able to see what sort of approach might be the most effective for those customers.
While you can't add them to your email newsletter (unless they have actively opted in), you can get in touch with a quick email and perhaps share some content you've created that would be helpful to them. For example, if we've previously created a website for a client, we might get in touch after a year or so and share an ebook we've published on getting more leads from your website. By re-engaging with that client, we're back in their mind, and maybe they need to expand their site because they've grown and want more functionality. Or perhaps it reminds them that one of their contacts was thinking about getting a new website.
If you provide maintenance or recurring work (funnily enough, we offer both), reaching out to former customers from one-off projects is a way to reconnect and potentially open the door to discussing those ongoing services.
Using a CRM really ties up the loose ends of your business into one package, to establish a solid framework for your business growth. And, ultimately, business growth should be the main objective of your CRM.
SpiderGroup are a Microsoft Gold Partner, and we use Dynamics 365 CRM. We're also a HubSpot Partner, and use the HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs alongside the HubSpot CRM. So it's fair to say we love a good CRM system! If you’d like to find out how your business can benefit from using a robust, insightful, data-driven customer relationship management strategy, call 0117 933 0570 and we’d be happy to help.