How to Rock Customer Relationship Management

Posted by David Kindervater on May 2, 2019

Customer relationship management (aka CRM) is a way of managing your brand's communications with your current and prospective customers. The technology allows you to store their contact information, find sales opportunities, record service issues, and manage marketing campaigns all in one place. That way, every interaction you have with a customer is available for authorized users at your company to see.

CRM is effective. From 2017 to 2018, overall usage increased 18%. Many businesses benefit from it and it's easy to understand why. Studies show it helps increase revenue by 41% on average. Still, about half the companies that use it are doing it wrong. Don't be one of them.

Here's how your brand can rock customer relationship management to help you keep your current customers and earn new business.

What Type of CRM is Right for You? - 2019-04-30T085520.583Not all CRMs are the same. In fact, there are three different types you can choose from to meet your business goals. Selecting the best one depends on your objectives and the customer management problems you need to address. Some CRMs work together to help you achieve your business goals.

Operational CRM

This is the most common type of CRM, allowing you to manage your everyday marketing, sales, and customer service operations. Some examples would be a call center or a website. For instance, let's say your brand receives a large amount of telephone calls on a daily basis. That's probably a good thing, but if you can't accomplish everything you want to on those calls, you've got a problem. You need answers to questions from your customers so you know how you're doing. So you turn to customer relationship management.

You want to know:

  • How's my business doing?
  • What do our customers think of our product?
  • Are they happy with our customer service?
  • How do they feel about their overall experience with our brand?

Unfortunately, there's no time to ask these questions over the phone because of the high volume. That's where CRM helps you become more efficient. Customers can visit your website and login to see the details of their account. This is where you can ask those questions. It's a proactive effort on your part and you don't need to take the time to make phone calls. But best of all, your customer is happy with your service.

Analytical CRM

If you have a large amount of data to collect and analyze, an analytical CRM will help you with customer acquisition, retention, and data management. It's different from an operational system, where there's direct interaction with customers to determine their needs. 

In the example above, the analytical CRM will use the collected data to look for patterns and predictions. Then, it analyzes that information and resolves any problems to make the customer experience better. Analysis happens with every aspect of the business, from marketing, to sales, to service.

Collaborative CRM

To really improve your customer's experience, a collaborative CRM streamlines the communication process between the customer and all the departments and stakeholders within your company. For example, you could have the sales team, technical support staff, and the marketing department sharing the customer information they collect from each interaction.

So customer feedback from a tech support session could let the marketing staff know that a particular customer has an interest in certain products and services. The goal is to improve customer service, which in turn increases customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Develop a CRM Strategy

In a survey of 150 different companies who were experiencing problems with their CRM initiatives, almost 20% had a faulty strategy. Without a proper game plan in place, businesses aren't providing their best customer value. Since CRM is a strategy (in addition to a technology and a process), you'll need to incorporate some strategizing tips to keep you moving in the right direction.

Identify Your Brand's CRM Goals - 2019-04-30T093358.851-1You should sync your customer relationship management with your brand's goals. Break down how you're going to reach your goals by setting up smaller objectives or benchmarks. It's like a roadmap. To get where you're going, you need to know how to get there, one step at a time. Begin by developing an informative, at-a-glance home base for your CRM. This can be a starting point for your entire team to refer to anytime they want.

Create a Dashboard

A dashboard will provide an overview of your brand's CRM performance. Think of it as a control panel that highlights your sales goals. You'll see how your team is progressing in an instant.

For example, if your goal was to sell more of a certain product this month, you could setup a breakdown of that product according to weekly (or daily) benchmarks. If you want your sales reps to accomplish specific activities on any given day, you can provide a section that shows what activities have been completed thus far. This keeps everyone accountable, incentivized, and on the same page.

Prioritize Your Customers

You want to treat all your customers really well, but the truth is, some customers need more attention than others. Prioritize your patrons based on how profitable they are (or how profitable they're projected to be). Here's a simple example. On average, returning customers spend twice as much as new customers. With that in mind, you'll likely want to segment your accounts so you can concentrate on how you're going to keep your current customers.

Your brand may have a different definition of what makes a customer valuable, so cater to that group's needs. You can create metric effectiveness by identifying the traits you look for in a customer.

Customize Settings

Every business operates a bit differently. Typically, you'll see a CRM include stages like "lead," "opportunity," and "customer." If you're not sure how your sales process works, take some time to evaluate it before setting up the stages your customers go through. Then lay it out so it makes sense for your business.

Educate Your Employees - 2019-04-30T094933.401Make sure your employees know what's going on with your CRM strategy. You may have a lot of data that's available to a wide variety of people within your company, but if they don't know what any of it means or why you're collecting it, it's unlikely you'll meet your goals. When you educate them with customer relationship management training, you're getting your entire team on board with the plan.

Here are some common customer relationship management terms you should be aware of.

  • Contact. This is an individual person. Most CRMs capture a full name and email address, but you could also ask for their job title, company name, and company revenue.
  • Lead. This is someone who's interested in your product or service. There are two types of leads. A marketing qualified lead has had some interaction with your content. Meanwhile, a sales-qualified lead has been identified by one of your sales reps as a good fit. 
  • Deal. This is a potential sale that should move through the entire sales process. If you're a salesperson and you're working with the CMO and Marketing Director on a deal, include them in the record for that deal.
  • Company. If you're selling to a business, make sure to associate all the relevant contacts and deals with their business or brand.
  • Source. Where do your leads come from? Website form? Trade show? Referral? This is the source. Leads manually added by marketing or sales team members often list "offline" as their source.
  • Activity. You can probably guess that this is the accumulation of actions, like telephone calls, emails, an updated field, a demo, etc.

Add Salespeople to Your CRM

You'll need to get your salespeople on board with the CRM process, so begin by introducing them to the process and its benefits. Explain how it's going to help both the company, the salesperson, and the customer.

Gradually Introduce New Policies

Let's go back to why you're implementing customer relationship management in the first place. You want to improve your business relationships. If you feel like things aren't going the way you envisioned—that you're not meeting your goals and you're headed in the wrong direction—you might want to change everything all at once as a quick fix. Instead, do it gradually. Your employees will appreciate it and they'll be more productive as a result. This is change management.

  1. Plan for the Change. Identify everyone who will be involved with the change. Then determine how they relate to one another and the project at hand. This will help you to see any potential pitfalls from the outset, plus you can figure out what resources you need and how much work's involved. 
  2. Design a Communications Strategy. Your employees should understand that the changes will help them to be more productive and efficient. This will help them "buy into" the process. 
  3. Involve and Evolve. Change management is an ongoing process. Involve your employees by asking for their feedback. As you measure your results, you'll get the information you need to make better decisions moving forward.

Follow the Entire Customer Journey - 2019-04-30T095326.408A customer relationship management tool allows you to follow a customer through every stage of the buyer's journey—from awareness, to consideration, to decision.

Begin by collecting the information your prospective customers share across their social media accounts. This connection is sometimes known as social CRM and it gives you an advantage in understanding what they want now and what they expect down the road.

Essentially, social CRM prepares you for your initial contact with a lead. When you integrate social data with your CRM, you can discover the social actions your contacts take. In turn, each action can trigger a workflow within your CRM. You can discover the number of times someone visits links from your posts, and if they reply, share, like, or favorite them. Third-party data allows you to connect more information to your CRM, like number of Twitter followers, what topics they blog about, and their LinkedIn profile address. 

The more information you have about your leads, the better chance you have of successfully moving them through the buyer's journey. 

Sync Your CRM

If your customer relationship management tool doesn't automatically update with data from your other applications, be sure to sync it with any other programs you're using. That way you can track notes, appointments, even the aforementioned social data, etc. You'll likely want to import all your current information from whatever system you're using now to the CRM. It may be as simple as uploading a .CSV file full of contacts.

Evaluate Your CRM

Installing a CRM should provide a boost for your productivity and revenue, but it isn't perfect. Always evaluate what you're doing and consider a new approach if necessary. It's important to know what's not working, but it's just as important as knowing what is. 

Set Up Essential Reports

There are five essential reports you should know about. After all, data without reports is useless. 

  • Pipeline. These are the details of all open opportunities including the customer's info, who's involved, and the actions completed and scheduled. If you follow this closely enough, you may be able to predict when an opportunity will turn into a sale.
  • Activity. This allows you to track the activities (calls, appointments, etc.) of sales reps and customer service agents from week to week.
  • Open Issues. This is a simple report that tackles problems. What's the problem? Who's working on it? What's been done about it so far? 
  • Leads. A weekly report shows who your prospects are along with their contact info, what they're interested in, where they came from, what their last action was, etc.
  • Lost Sales. This is not a popular report, but it's an important one. It's a list of all the sales you didn't get with the reasons why they didn't work out. Learn from the data so you can make the appropriate changes in the future. 

Let's Talk About Customer Relationship Management Rewards

At the heart of your customer relationship management efforts is the way you treat your customers. That's why you're taking the time to track each one and figure out the best way to cater to their particular behaviors and habits. Knowing this will make it easy for you to reward them for their loyalty. You can start with a handwritten note of thanks.

Simply Written makes handwritten correspondence easier than ever. Plus, we can evaluate a potential integration of Simply Written mailings into the leading CRM solutions. Contact us to learn how handwritten notes can help you give your customers the royal treatment they deserve.

Topics: Customer Experience, customer retention, customer satisfaction, CRM, customer relationship management