Today, most businesses understand that creating a consistently great customer experience is the key to success. But customer expectations can be like the rising tide. Turn your back, stop paying attention and you’ll find you’re knee deep in the water. And with changes to customer buying behavior in recent years, such as the increase in research potential customers spend on your products, information about your company and your past customer experiences (which are readily available on blogs and review sites), it’s more important than ever to deliver the best customer experience possible. And CRM can be the key to not only delivering a better experience, but also to increasing sales and developing more effective sales and marketing strategies.
Countless successful brands have managed to create memorable customer experiences. The key to their success is knowing their customers well and anticipating what they want. And technology plays a crucial part in this.
Given that it costs many times more to attract a new customers as it does to keep existing ones, the imperative for businesses to retain customers, build loyalty and create stronger relationships has never been greater. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are now so cost effective, and with fast deployment, that you can benefit from the same functionality which those successful brands have been using to deliver excellent and consistent customer experiences – and continue to fuel growth.
Turn the Customer Experience Into the Ultimate Competitive Advantage
Personalisation can make a big difference to how your customers, or potential customers, perceive your communications. And the key to getting quick and easy personalisation in place is by using CRM. A CRM will record and give you back information about your customers in a way that’s easy to understand. Not only can it give you a more complete picture of your customers, but can also make your communications truly personal. For more information on CRM, have a read of our article CRM – The Eureka Moment.
Personalisation itself doesn’t have to be complex. It can be as simple as addressing someone by their name in a marketing email or using some customised text based on prior behavior, such as “We know you prefer to order 2000 units of product X towards the end of the month; would you like to us to reserve those units for you, so we can ensure stock availability and immediate delivery?”
Simple personalisation like this can help remind your customers that you’re considering their needs, that they’re a valued part of your business and that you’re wanting to connect with them. Sure, you can achieve similar results using spreadsheets and mail merges, but with the right technology it’s easier, faster, can work based on real-time data when you’re using a cloud based solution and will help you anticipate your customers’ requirements and cater for their future needs.
Let’s have a look at five ways you can make your sales and marketing efforts more strategic and see a higher return on investment (ROI):
CONSOLIDATE & CONNECT | Store All Customer Information in One Place
If you’ve been using spreadsheets, documents and information stored in different places, you can leverage huge benefits from consolidating your customer information into one central repository. And you can manage all customer contacts in a controlled and effective manner with a CRM solution. You’ll also have access to a complete 360-degree view of your customers, vendors and partners. If you’re using a cloud based solution, this will all be available to you in real-time and accessible from anywhere with an internet connection. This helps you cut out wasted time searching for contact information across multiple sources such as spreadsheets or on-premise databases, or flicking through business cards or desktop documents from your sales team.
LISTEN & LEARN | Create More Effective Sales and Marketing Strategies
With everyone in your company connected to your customer information and referencing the same, central source of information, you’ll be able to access valuable insights about customer purchasing behaviours, their preferences and feedback. This is what you need to create more effective sales and marketing strategies. For example, you can:
- Target the right customers with the right products at the right time
- View leads according to their level of interest
- Cross-sell and up-sell more effectively
- Track the contact that your sales employees have with your customers to see if it’s hitting the mark or needs ramping up
- Identify new opportunities by examining sales trends
- Increase the accuracy of your stock purchases, matching to demand and minimizing the impact on your cashflow
One of the biggest challenges that businesses face is following up on leads from both existing customers and prospects. If the process is completed too late, the opportunity will be lost. CRM can help eliminate this challenge by automating follow-up alerts including sales appointments, leads and post-sale actions. This can help you increase your opportunity to grow sales from your existing customer base and convert prospects into sales, faster.
PERSONALISE & RESPOND | Provide Better Customer Service
Once you’ve started getting to know your customers better, use that information to provide more responsive service. Examine all customer interactions stored in your CRM system including feedback, inquiries and opinions. You can even set alerts for this. For example, track if your top clients slip from a happy rating to an unhappy one. Then, take action to address these quickly and efficiently – and make sure you personalise your responses. By shortening the feedback loop, you can improve and refine the customer experience and start deepening your customer relationships.
ANALYSE & TARGET | Get to Know Your Customers Better
When it comes to establishing an emotional connection with your customers, CRM can be a game-changer. Especially when it’s integrated with your sales and purchasing data. By keeping track of your customer interactions, their purchasing trends, habits and preferences, you then can create a unique customer experience, which your competitors aren’t providing. With this incredible visibility into your business, you can analyse your customer data and look for opportunities where you can cross-sell and up-sell. For example, you can pitch related products or you can target special offers at particular times to increase your stock turns and boost your cashflow.
Human nature is such that we all want to be recognised for our individuality – the same applies to your customers. Understanding their needs, challenges and objectives will help create long-term brand loyalty and encourage them to recommend your products to others in their networks (particularly social ones).
CRM can also provide information about your most successful customers – both in terms or revenue and profitability. It’s common for most businesses that 20% of your customers will represent 80% of your business. A CRM that’s integrated with your sales data will identify who your most profitable customers are so you can invest your resources in the right areas. You’ll want to achieve a balance between investing in your profitable customers and growing those who are not so profitable. Your CRM system is your key to unlocking this valuable information.
EMPOWER & SELL | Improve Sales and Management
Having limited sales manpower in a business shouldn’t restrict your sales ability or growth objectives. A CRM that’s integrated with your sales system, or that simply works as part of your ERP system, can also help your sales people work more efficiently as they can take advantage of automated processes and communicate more effectively. You can keep track of your overall sales performance without taking your eye off the ball. An integrated CRM will let you generate instant reports to view important metrics such as lead conversion rate, pending deals and completed sales to identify your top sales performers and zero in on those who need help. By having access to sales KPIs and trends through your ERP’s dashboard, you’ll be able to see your pipeline clearly. This will help ensure you have the right sales strategies in place to meet your sales targets.
In addition, CRM can enhance communication across your business as all departments have access to the same customer information or one version of the truth. This information will empower your sales team to make decisions about your customers with confidence.
Ride the Wave of Getting More Leads and Selling More
If you’re still unsure about whether you need a CRM in your business – consider these findings from Nucleus Research – “CRM pays back $8.71 for every dollar spent.” That’s not a bad return on investment, especially if you choose a cloud based solution with smaller upfront costs than more traditional, on-premise systems.
Understanding CRM and what it can do for you can be the key to taking your business growth to the next level. Progressive companies that have riding the CRM wave are reaping the benefits of centralising, simplifying and personalising their sales engagement to drive growth and profitability. They’re generating quality leads, tracking prospects and closing sales faster, while keeping their existing customers happy and operating more productively by storing all information in one central location. And, they’re seeing the bigger picture so they’re in better control of their business and its growth.
To start a conversation on how CRM can help your business grow faster, get in touch to talk with someone who knows and understands it.