CRM – the beating heart of your business!
What is the most valuable thing in your business? If you lost everything that you currently have in your organisation, what would be the one thing you would want to hold on to? What would you really need to restart ?
If you have the means to contact your current clients and prospects you could fairly quickly get back to work. Obviously not a scenario that is likely to happen but it does bring into focus what is at the heart of your business.
At its simplest, a CRM (or Customer Relationship Management) system is a way to manage your leads and clients, maintain their contact information and automate communication. At its most robust, a CRM can help you to analyse client behaviour, customise marketing and sales campaigns based on this data, and create client service strategies that are aligned with their needs.
Let’s look at some of the advantages in more detail;
1. Organise Data
Once you start any marketing activities you’ll start to collect data on your leads. It starts with name and contact details but in addition could include demographic information, company information, preferences, services or products they have shown interest in, what stage they are in the buying process, and any other information that is useful to your particular business. You could use a spreadsheet or general database to do this but a well set up CRM will do this much more efficiently and allow you to segment your list based on any of the data you have collected.
2. Streamline Marketing
The data you’re collecting on your prospects mean you know what they are responding to, what marketing material they read, and what they don’t. You’ll know who are the hot prospects and who are not. You can identify the signals that they are ready to buy and so start to reduce the time from first contact to closing the sale.
The majority of your prospects may not be ready to buy immediately so you can educate and engage, position yourself as the expert, and provide value that keeps you top of mind. For both longer term prospects and your current clients you can continue with the engagement and long term nurturing with personalised, timely and relevant content.
3. Increase sales
At what stage are your prospects. Which ones are ready to buy and which ones need more nurture? Who should we contact today? Using data in your CRM to identify and qualify leads, focus marketing and sales activities and provide timely follow-up is an investment that aligns your efforts with potential clients’ needs; that alignment equals more sales. By knowing where your prospects are on the sales pipeline you can prioritise your time and focus on the activities that will bring in revenue.
4. Better Customer Service
Organisation, tracking, documentation and automation are all features that CRM can utilise to help you focus on customer service excellence. A CRM will improve client communication by capturing contact information, reduce response time and customise ongoing marketing and engagement to meet individual client preferences.
When you establish a process that provides more timely, consistent communication, you’ll delight and retain happy clients. A CRM allows you to stay attuned to your customer needs, respond consistently and strategically. A satisfied customer is more likely to be a returning customer and bring in referrals—and that equals business growth.
5. Your time is too valuable NOT to have a CRM
You could continue to track names and contact information on spreadsheets. And, you could record sales and feedback in documents and folders. What is the real cost of maintaining everything manually? What’s the cost of scrambling and digging for data on which of your marketing campaigns have been most successful? And how much are you losing in time and sales when leads get lost in the process or interested prospects lose interest for lack of timely follow-up?
Even if you are in the (fortunate) position of being able to ignore the lost opportunities your time is far too valuable to waste. Make sure you are spending it doing what you are best at.