A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is one of the most helpful data and marketing tools available today. Companies that fully implement a CRM system have seen increased sales and expanded customer relationships, coordinated goals, and unified customer communications across their team. In a world of overwhelming data, CRM helps cut a clear path and give you objectives and next steps for efficient data use and relationship-building.
Customer Relationship Management is not the same as marketing automation. Marketing automation describes software which automates a marketing task to save time. It encompasses systems like list management, drip campaigns, emails, social media, and website management. CRM on the other hand, refers to a system which manages customer data, logs interactions, and makes this information available to your team for marketing purposes.
A CRM system lends consistency to information-sharing about customers across your entire team. As each staff person interacts with customers, each interaction gets logged in the CRM system, building a profile and keeping track of every moment your company has made contact with a customer. CRM keeps client and prospect information up-to-date and shares it with everyone on your team. This improves communication about clients and prospects. When you’re on the same page, you can build your strategy for customer care, while building on the care you’re already giving to individual customers.
With CRM, data gathering and use are not scattered. Make sure employees are using it as the databank for tracking customer interactions, to keep the system watertight, and you will have no cause to wonder:
You’re not at the mercy of other team members’ memories, sticky notes, or hard drives. If someone leaves your company, that relationship doesn’t necessarily leave with them. With CRM, you can account for your data.
Whenever contact information changes, it is noted in the CRM system and made available to everyone. No more bounce-back emails because one employee discovered a changed email address, but it never got entered in the system. This is incredibly helpful when trying to integrate data lists with daily operations. CRM keeps updated contact details at your fingertips when assessing client relationships, strategizing next steps, and making follow-ups.
Whether through web, social media, direct mail, email, phone call, text, or a meeting, every interaction with a prospect or client is important. This is because it always turns up new or beneficial knowledge. This knowledge can be leveraged for business success, but only when it’s recorded, accessible, and easy to translate into action. CRM tracks customer relationships by keeping a disciplined, shared log of interactions and letting you see how they have developed over time, so you don’t lose the value of a single one.
Looking at a collection of data, even when organized on a page or screen, doesn’t automatically translate into action, or help you understand the value of different actionable options. But if your CRM system is kept simple, your daily information stream becomes an organized map of actionable insights. This is done by gathering information that’s directly relevant to your staff— such as customer/prospect information, record of contacts, content of meetings and calls, and projected next steps. You can customize by adding other elements as necessary. But if you keep it easy to use and easy to read, your team will use it to take strategic action.
Next steps always involve follow-up. Deciding when and how is far easier when you can trace the client’s history at a glance. Use CRM to assign team members to specific next steps, and even post the hoped-for dollar value of taking a client or prospect to the next level. This makes the action of follow-up easy, and the specific goal of each follow-up clear. It can also provide motivation and build a measurable connection between relationships and revenue.
When you keep track of how customer relationships develop over time, you can increase CLV (Customer Lifetime Value). Especially as your business grows, and as business communications expand into the digital, you need to stay as personal with customer accounts and profiles as you were on day one. This keeps you in the know, keeps your clients well cared-for, and builds loyalty. It’s good business.
Service “customization” is a current hot-button topic in marketing. What customization really comes down to is keeping detailed knowledge of your clients at the forefront of your B2C (business to consumer) interactions, so that the attention you offer is genuine and relational. Customer accounts grow when there is personal knowledge, personalized outreach, and the basis of a long-term relationship.
Make sure employees feel confident using your new CRM system through training and check-ins, and that it integrates with existing software and systems. If your mailing lists can’t talk to each other, for example, you need a different CRM tool. An expert marketing partner can help with choosing and implementing the right CRM system for you.
Want to know more about how CRM could work for you? At Fontis Solutions, we start with your questions before we propose a solution. It’s our business to see that your business gets precisely what it needs—and we make it easy. Contact a consultant and start your solution today.
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