Business Skills: Customer Relationship Management

We spend a lot of time trying to get prospects to our business blogs, making sure it looks appealing when they get there and capturing their information. But unless we have a good place to store this information and an easy way to retrieve it, the leads won’t do us much good.

customer-relationship-managementAs your business grows, you will likely need to switch to a more robust organizational tool. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a necessity for most businesses. These databases store all of your information in a system that facilitates easy retrieval and accurate reporting. You can add notes, tasks and a variety of other details that will help you lead your prospects through the sales cycle, and your customers through the retention cycle.

There are many benefits that come with a good Customer Relationship Management.

1. Easy Data Entry

A good CRM should allow you to easily input data. Your CRM should be linked to your web form, for example, to minimize manual data entry. Many times, a CRM will be a good storage facility for your information, but getting it in and out of storage takes more work. Make sure that the CRM you use allows you to easily capture information. Manually entering information is okay at first, but once your list starts growing it will be difficult, if not impossible, to keep up with the demand. Many of our email marketing competitors allow you to build data lists, so that may be a good place to start.

2. Get More Details

It is also important to put your Customer Relationship Management to work in labeling your prospects and customers with as many details as possible. You should be able to add data that will help you know them better. Depending on your business, you may want to know and track details such as age, gender, marital status, location, propensity to read emails, purchase history, time spent on your website, webinar attendance and more. The more details you know about someone, the better your marketing will be. So how do you collect more data about your prospects and customers?

Here are a few ideas:

• Do a survey
• Take a poll
• Hold a contest
• Give something away
• Jot down notes when you have a conversation with someone
• Send an email asking contacts to update their info
• Invite them to take part in your new email series

Real-time information can also be very helpful in marketing to your prospects. Would it be helpful to know when a prospect is watching your demo, for example, and call them immediately? Or to know which products have piqued the interest of a certain prospect? Think of the things you can do with accurate, real-time information. That’s where a powerful system comes into play.

A CRM will host all of the information you need to see about your prospects and customers. Using a CRM for a static list of information, however, is greatly under-utilizing the power of a central database. Utilizing a Customer Relationship Management to segment your prospect list into targeted groups will help your marketing process. You should be able to, for instance, categorize your list by the actions they’ve taken (such as watching an online demo or ordering an ebook), what they’ve purchased, when they last talked to you, where they live, etc. With this information, you can easily send out targeted marketing campaigns that speak directly to the individual and his/her interests.

3. Targetted Marketing

Once you know details about your prospects, it’s time to send out targeted messages. Use this information to send out emails, direct mail, invitations, coupons or whatever else will encourage them to act. Set up automatic sequences that can be applied to prospects who fit certain criteria.

If your Customer Relationship Management has the capabilities to communicate with your marketing activities (such as email marketing), that’s even better.

4. No More Mass-Mailers or Email Blasts

With a good CRM, you’ll know what interests your prospects and what information they’ve already received. There’s no need to send out generic email blasts or postcards to your entire list. Work on sending out different messages depending on the group. Pinpointing your marketing will get you a much greater return for your efforts.