You could have the most impressive inventory in the world. Your staff members could deliver top-notch services with an unmatched dedication to their craft. Still, unless you’re investing a substantial amount of energy into your customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, your business will fail to achieve the level of continuous success it’s capable of.
Why? For a brand to stay top-of-mind, it must deliver a tailored experience to every customer that walks through its brick-and-mortar doors, hops on its website or interacts over social media. This has always true, but it’s an even more critical objective in today’s fast-paced digital world. Where interactions are a dime a dozen, finding ways to bring customized content, relevant data and genuine connection to your target audience can set you apart from the competition.
Taking a customer-centric approach isn’t just a corporate initiative that some board member dreamed up. Rather, it’s a direct response to what the modern consumer craves. Industry research reveals that an overwhelming 90% of customers want to work with and purchase from brands that deliver customized content.
This means that gone are the days of generic, one-size-fits-all marketing approaches. Mass email blasts won’t work anymore. Nor will printing 500 of the same flyers and sending them to everyone on your mailing list. Rather, forward-thinking businesses are those that tweak the message of each to make it feel personalized and tailored to the recipient. These conversations are more likely to convert and can lead to the kind of long-term brand loyalty that differentiates flash-in-the-pan small businesses from industry pillars.
Yet, before a customized marketing strategy can be crafted, a company must truly understand its customers. This begins with a robust CRM approach and here’s why: As you actively seek to organize, manage and oversee your client interactions, you learn more about them along the way. You are better able to distinguish patterns and trends in the things they ask questions about, the components that stump them, the features that delight them and the hot topics they’re most interested in. It’s precisely this kind of data that can help you determine how to best reach them to promote new offerings.
With so many initiatives pulling at the attention and purse strings of C-suite managers, CRM should be at the top of the list, though it’s often pushed down to make room for more pressing concerns. Still, the case can be made that unless CRM is attended to first, almost every other corporate aim will ultimately fall flat.
Still not convinced? Let’s review a few reasons a CRM strategy is so important and how businesses can get theirs off the ground.
What is Customer Relationship Management?
Put simply, CRM is a strategy that encompasses organizing all of the details of every client interaction. From initial sales contacts to closed deals and open trouble tickets, your team will keep track of it all, in a format that’s easy to understand, quick to access and a cinch to share. The data isn’t kept in a large folder, with everyone’s content interacting with the other’s. Rather, it’s compartmentalized for timely retrieval, meaning that when you search for one client’s name, you only see relevant records for that person or group. The results aren’t muddled with irrelevant data that could confuse you or slow you down.
While the exact features vary across solutions, CRM software is designed to provide a sleek interface for this type of data management. Those with authorized access can all log in and see the same, shared portal. From there, they can select different data points, pull up customer contact information, access records and perform advanced analytics. This approach is critical for both current customers as well as prospects. Team members can track a deal from initiation to close, helping them to see what worked, what didn’t and where they can improve next time.
In addition, CRM allows call associates and other support personnel to immediately recognize a customer and provide personalized service. Say, for example, someone calls with a troubleshooting inquiry about a technology device. Armed with only an account number, last name or of information, the employee on the other end can pull up that person’s entire purchase history. From there, they can access the specific model of equipment purchased and provide support. This same connectivity allows marketing managers to craft campaign materials that are targeted to each customer, improving the odds of conversion.
Let’s review a few more reasons why even the smallest businesses should take a customer-centric CRM approach.
It Offers Companies the Chance to Learn Their Audience
You can’t anticipate a customer’s needs unless you know their pain points. You can’t upsell to them and offer them similar inventory unless you first know the kinds of things they’re most interested in. You can’t answer their questions or point them in the right direction if you don’t know what they’re holding in their hand as they type in a support ticket on an online portal.
This is where CRM shines. By organizing client information into manageable sections, team members learn as much about them as possible. From their web visit metrics, they can tell which pages they’re clicking on and how long they’re staying there. From their purchase history, they can tell which items ultimately caught their eye. From their call records and email open rates, they can tell what types of advertising they respond to the best.
It’s unwise to invest in a costly marketing campaign if it’s on elements that your target audience won’t respond to. The same goes for your sales team’s efforts. They could spend a ton of time working on a great pitch, only to have it fall on deaf ears because they aren’t saying the right things that their customers want to hear.
It’s an Unparalleled Chance to Connect
Today, CRM efforts aren’t just isolated to one area of the company. Rather, everyone from service technicians to salespersons can use the centralized portal to connect with customers and leads across myriad platforms. From email and social media to in-person meetings, brands and clients interact in various ways and determining which outreach methods are the most fruitful is an essential aspect of establishing a successful customer connection.
This is where it pays to research the various CRM deployment options on the market today. From traditional software suites to virtual client management that allow you to manage multiple clients alongside your Google Adwords pay-per-click marketing campaign, you’ll have your pick from a slew of options. If it’s the latter you need, you should read more about the benefits of using this solution, known as My Client Center and how it can benefit your business.
It Boosts Organization and Automation Efforts
With the proliferation of Big Data across almost every industry, companies around the world are slammed with vast amounts of data every day, coming in from multiple portals. As such, it’s not uncommon to find that business leaders are swimming information, but unable to mine it for insight because of its sheer size.
To this end, CRM solutions allow you to make sense of every piece of data that passes over your desk. It can also be an ideal way to jumpstart automation in your workplace. If you’re still organizing clients into physical folders and storing them in a filing cabinet, it’s only a matter of time before something gets mixed up. Storing the data in a virtual environment means less room for human error, improved security and a more streamlined way of making sure everyone is on the same page.
It Improves Customer Satisfaction Ratings
In a world where there are few unique business ideas left and even the most innovative company has at least some level of competition, a positive referral is . A recent survey shows that nearly half of shoppers (49%) will buy something they didn’t initially intend to if they receive a personalized recommendation.
Catering to the customer by utilizing CRM results in an uptick in overall satisfaction scores. It can also build sales and improve feedback ratings. All of these aims are industry gold, but they are unachievable with an outdated, tangled mess of customer information sitting in piles on your desk.
Companies that value their public perception should take the time to organize their client data into a comprehensive CRM strategy. This is a small that can completely transform their outreach methods and improve their brand reputation for the better.
Finding a CRM Strategy That Sticks
If you think your company is too small, niche or too under-staffed to invest in a CRM solution, think again. Today, there is a wider variety of platform options than ever before and most can be customized to fit your unique business model.
Take the time to meet with your staff, discuss your objectives, and create a plan to implement CRM tactics in your workplace. When you do, you’ll help improve efficiency, motivate team members, boost sales, convert on-the-fence prospects, and keep track of every opportunity that passes over your desk. Those rewards alone make it the investment.