Customer relationship management (CRM) is much more than a software solution and when used properly it has the power to drive sales higher and empower your sales force to try and develop a lucrative relationship with your customers.
Here are some pointers on how to set about designing a CRM strategy, including a look at creating some clear goals, effective ways of sharing data, why social media is such a relevant tool, plus tips on ways of getting the best from your software investment.
Getting on track with your goal
One of the key priorities that you need to focus on if you want to make the most out of your CRM investment is to develop a strategy that helps you identify and meet specific targets and goals.
An effective approach to using CRM in the best possible way is to set a series of mini-goals along the route to your ultimate objective.
Try to encourage the idea of creating a vision for your CRM strategy by involving as many members of the business team as possible. This can help you identify the best ideas and give everyone a clear idea of what customer relationship management can achieve.
Evaluate all the software tools at your disposal, such as comparing MailChimp vs Klaviyo at the start of the process and this will make the implementation period a lot smoother.
Streamline your sales cycle
A good way to get the best out of CRM would be to carry out a full review of how your current customer sales cycle works and investigate ways of streamlining everything in preparation.
If you can have all the relevant templates sorted in advance and can automate as much of the process as possible this will make things easier for your business and your customers too, when you put CRM in place and it becomes an integral part of the way you do business.
Encourage the sharing of data
What you will be doing with a CRM system is creating a powerful source of data that will enable you to gain a deeper understanding of your customers and their particular habits.
The reporting system and data you can glean are only going to be as good as the quality of the information you put in, which is why it is key to promote a culture of collaboration within your business.
Encourage every member of the team to be proactive in capturing and sharing customer data internally so that you can use these powerful insights to generate sales growth.
Make sure you protect the integrity and security of this data at all times, as data protection laws have tightened considerably in recent times.
The power of social media
Social media platforms are a rich source of leads and useful data, and you can even learn about prospective customers across these channels before they have even done any business with you.
CRM allows you to capture data about your customer at every stage. By the time they actually do business with you, it is possible to have a clear understanding of what it is your customer wants and how they expect you to perform once they trust you with their custom.
Don’t forget to sync
If you already have other relevant programs in use before you start to use CRM it is prudent to make sure that you can sync all this data to achieve the best results and get the most out of your software.
You should find that a number of CRM’s will automatically sync data such as sales appointments already in your online calendar but try to make sure that you combine what you already have with your new system in order to be able to utilize your CRM system to its full ability.
Identify key customers
It is only natural for you to want to treat all customers equally but it is highly likely that you will have a distinct set of businesses and people who you consider to be more profitable and of higher importance than others.
Repeat customers are far more valuable than one-time buyers and returning customers tend to spend almost twice as much as new customers, on average.
With this in mind, it makes sense to use CRM to help you prioritize key customers.
The software should be flexible enough for you to be able to define what makes you consider a customer as valuable, rather than simply basing your evaluation how much they spend.
Spotting specific trends and habits in key customers can also help you cultivate the same relationship with others who are not yet giving you the same level of valued custom.
Put together a team
If you really want to get the most out of CRM it is a sound strategy to put together a team that is tasked with making the software deliver everything you want from the system.
Ideally, your CRM team should be a fairly diverse set of employees who have different roles within the business and can see things from a different perspective than other members of the team.
Members of your sales and marketing team are essential of course, but those that deal with customer relations such as sales support and after-sales care, can also offer valuable input and help put together a successful CRM strategy.
Be prepared to evolve
No successful business ever stands still and despite the fact that CRM is a worthy technological tool at your disposal it is highly likely that your business needs and goals will change over time, and that means your CRM strategy will have to change too.
Always be prepared to identify specific weaknesses in your process and make the necessary changes to correct those issues.
There is no doubt that CRM offers you the ability to harness some powerful data and drive your business forward by making your business relationships smoother and more efficient.
By committing to evaluate and improve your CRM systems as your business grows it should allow you to develop an excellent strategy that meets your business’s specific needs.