Customer relationship management can help you take your marketing to the next level — if you take care to choose the right software and make the most of its clever features.
CRM — helping you manage relationships
Customer relationship management (CRM) includes both software and practices you can use to understand your customers and improve your relationship with them.
CRM software lets you record and organise information about your customers. For example:
- your customers’ contact details
- their social media activity
- any requests or complaints they’ve made
- their preferences for how you communicate with them
- history of all your communications with them
- history of their purchases from you
- status of any orders they have with you.
Anything you do to build your relationship with your customer can be recorded in your CRM software. This information will give you a complete record of your relationship with each customer over time, plus insights you can use in future. You can learn to relate to each customer in the way that best works for them — and for your business.
CRM software also allows you to segment your customers efficiently. This means dividing your customers into groups with similar characteristics. For example, you could segment your customers by age, by gender, by purchasing history, or by special interest. Segmenting your customers lets you target specific groups with specific marketing messages, which can be much more effective than sending the same thing to everyone.
CRM software and sales software often go hand in hand. Together, they let you easily manage the entire sales process, from initial leads, to managing opportunities, to closing deals, to forecasting. Some CRM software, such as Salesforce, actually includes these sales management tools, so you don’t need to pair it with sales software.
Cloud-based CRM software — the best option
Cloud-based (online) CRMs are particularly useful for small-to-medium businesses. They’re cost effective, secure, reliable, and quick to get up and running. You can access the software from anywhere, on any device, and you don’t need IT staff to update and maintain it.
Some examples of cloud-based CRMs are:
Improve your marketing using CRM
One of the things you can use CRM for is structuring your approach to marketing. You can use your CRM software to track marketing campaigns over various channels, including phone calls, traditional mail, email, search, and social media.
For example, email marketing using your CRM software can be far more effective than traditional email marketing. With traditional email marketing, you’d send out email in bulk to all possible customers. Many of those emails would be ignored or unwelcome — they’d go straight into spam folders or encourage people to unsubscribe.
Using your CRM software, you can make sure emails appeal to customers rather than being intrusive. You can tailor your marketing campaigns so that emails match customer interests or needs. Far from being an unsolicited annoyance, your emails become valuable notifications to people who are already interested. Hopefully, your campaigns will lead to personalised and long-term relationships.
Using CRM software for marketing gives you:
- One source of truth — manage a single database rather than separate systems for client info and marketing campaigns
- Data you can trust — update info when you interact with your customers so it’s up to date for your next marketing campaign
- Targeted messaging — develop content based on segmentation for more personalised marketing and fewer ‘unsubscribes’
- Better sales insights — see in real time who’s opening emails and clicking on links
- Triggers for action — set marketing actions depending on specific data, such as customer contracts that are about to expire
- Data about value — record the costs of each campaign as well as the outcomes to determine your return on investment
Making the most of your CRM
Follow these tips for a better chance of setting up an effective cloud-based CRM system.
- Collect the data — commit to an ongoing process, including an opt-in form on your website and regular communications with subscribers
- Keep the data current — regularly update or remove out-of-date contacts
- Segment your database — group customers in a way that makes sense for your business
- Include triggers — make sure your data includes triggers (such as renewal dates) to prompt specific actions.
Need help? Get in touch!
We’re alway happy to help out with any questions you may have on using CRM. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s chat!
By Stuart Dillon-Roberts