Being the leader of my own marketing agency has taught me firsthand just how quickly market trends can shift. The consumers of yesterday, are not the same consumers of today. Your customers and clients expect a personalized experience that is carefully tailored to their individual interests. In order to effectively meet these expectations, you need to understand the needs and wants of your target audience, as well as how you can cater to their demands better than your competition. In today’s episode, we will explore the topic of CRM, or Customer Relationship Management. We’ll cover all the bases–––what it is, why modern-day companies are using CRM software to engage with their target audience, and how you can use your CRM to run a successful customer-oriented business. 

What is CRM?

I’d like to first start off by sharing a quote which, in my opinion, explains the importance of CRM perfectly:

“Excellent customer service is the number one job in any company! It is the personality of the company and the reason customers come back. Without customers, there is no company!” – Connie Edler

At the end of the day, no matter what kind of business you run, customers are your bread and butter. Their voice and opinions matter because their satisfaction is directly linked to the longevity of your success. Even though many people understand this, they may not necessarily understand the concepts behind maintaining customer relationships. That’s where CRM comes in.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and it’s the process of managing the interactions your team has with existing and prospective clients. It refers to the different strategies and software solutions your business uses to optimize your customer relations.

According to Buyer Zone, 91% of companies with more than 11 employees use some type of CRM software. In fact, the CRM software industry is one of the biggest markets in the world and is projected to reach $80 billion in revenue by 2025. So, why do many companies choose to utilize CRM software? Microsoft says it’s because they increase your profitability by streamlining administrative processes in your sales, marketing, and service divisions, allowing you to shift your focus on building and maintaining customer relationships that actually matter.

CRM software is a multi-faceted platform that develops, improves, and retains your customer relationships. It allows you to make the most out of your personal and business connections. Without its smart integration, your company can miss out on major growth opportunities and potentially lose revenue. In today’s world, cloud-based CRM platforms are becoming increasingly popular because they allow employees to access the software from any smart device at any time.

Using CRM Software Effectively

However, even with CRM software, your company still needs a strategy that will allow them to justify the cost of their system. There are 5 crucial steps to an effective CRM process. These steps integrate the features of your CRM software with the efforts of your sales and marketing teams.

#1) Generate Brand Awareness

The first step to acquiring new customers is to start by introducing them to your business––what you do, what you’re known for, what industries you serve, what solutions you offer, and so forth. Here at Vonazon, we often get clients who are eager to sell their products or services to their target market right away. However, resourceful marketing is strategic and requires patience. Would you want to receive a marketing email from a company that knows nothing about you? Probably not. That being said, the main goal during this step is to educate your audience. At this time, your marketing team should:

  • Conduct target market research: Look into demographics, interests, preferred channels of communication, what messaging your target audience responds to, and what they care about most.
  • Segment your target market: This is where you create hypothetical consumer personas to segment your target audience into similar groups based on their shared interests or demographics. It will help you figure out what kind of people will most likely become your long-term consumers.
  • Create a marketing campaign that speaks to your target market’s demographics: This is where you focus on determining what campaign measures will help you gain the most promising leads. A/B tests and marketing automation can be used to figure out what attracts your target market and what doesn’t.

CRM software can be beneficial during this initial phase because it lets you analyze patterns from past leads which gives you a better idea of what your consumers desire. It also allows you to analyze sales notes within the platform so that you can understand what past actions led to conversions. By understanding what worked for your leads in the past and what didn’t, your team can create more compelling campaigns.

#2) Acquire Leads

Now that your company has been introduced along with its purpose, it is now time to convince your prospects to learn more about the business on their own. Your marketing team might want to start encouraging your website visitors to use their email addresses to sign up for a company newsletter. Alternatively, your sales team can use your CRM system to set up a live chat feature on your website which you can then use to reach out to website visitors.

If your CRM technology comes with lead enrichment tools or insights, then you’re in luck. With just one single email address, your software will allow you to access detailed information about the person it belongs to. You can then use this data to reach out to them in a manner that sounds highly personalized.

#3) Convert Leads into Customers

You’ve introduced yourself and you’ve piqued the interest of a few prospects or opportunities, now it’s time to turn them into customers. Your sales team can utilize your CRM system to analyze the data from previous successful campaigns to identify which leads will likely convert to a sale. If your leads have similar key attributes to previous clients, then your sales team can start sending them case studies, white papers, and other resources that showcase the success of your products or services. Your sales reps should not have a one-and-done approach when it comes to outreach efforts. Studies have shown that 63% of consumers need to hear a company’s claim 3-5 times before they actually believe it. So, if you don’t have custom whitepapers, blogs, or case studies, then it may be a good time to start curating some.

Here at Vonazon we help clients gate their custom content. When a client has resources that are specifically made for their company website and can’t be found anywhere else on the Internet, we help them set up forms that require unique visitors to hand over an email address to gain access. This email address is then implemented within their company’s CRM software and becomes a valuable resource for their sales team during the lead generation process.

#4) Stress the Importance of Excellent Customer Service

A brand is defined by the customer’s experience. The experience is delivered by the employees.” Shep Hyken

This quote couldn’t be more relevant in today’s world. Just because you gain a lot of customers after a successful campaign, does not mean you can lay back and relax. If these consumers end up leaving your brand for the competition, then you’re right back to where you started. According to a 2020 Trends Report, customer service is the biggest factor that determines a consumer’s brand loyalty. With CRM software, your team has access to client histories which provide them with unique insights when dealing with complaints. In fact, 49% of customers say that having their issues resolved quickly is the most important aspect of good customer service. However, at the end of the day, your CRM software isn’t handling customer claims, your employees are. If you don’t stress the importance of treating customers compassionately, then your employees won’t make it their priority. Having the proper tools isn’t always enough, you need the right people too.

#5) Engage Your Existing Consumer Base

One of the biggest downfalls of many large companies is their lack of engagement with existing clients. This happens a lot with television providers or phone companies. It seems like their main focus is gaining new clientele rather than appreciating the clients they already have. No one wants to feel like they don’t matter after they’ve already made a purchase or signed a contract. Therefore, it is important to use your CRM system to organize your consumers into smart lists based on their purchase histories and start sending them custom emails regarding products that are similar to what they normally buy. You should also inform them about upcoming launches or promotional deals. If you happen to offer a special service, use your CRM to set reminders about scheduling check-in calls or sending out survey emails. It’s ongoing engagements like these that make your existing consumers feel like they still matter.

Benefits of CRM

Since CRM is so diverse, it’s doesn’t only benefit large businesses––small businesses and even freelancers can benefit from a smart CRM process as well. After all, the primary goal of CRM is to increase customer retention so that revenue and profits can increase too.

According to Forbes, here are three of the most promising ways that CRM helps businesses of all sizes.

#1) Learning

CRM helps businesses learn about their customers, including who they are and why they purchase certain products, as well as trends in their purchasing histories. This allows businesses to better anticipate the needs of their target market.

#2) Organizational Features

CRM allows businesses to streamline their sales processes, marketing campaigns, business analytics, and consumer data. This creates a more organized campaign structure.

#3) Optimization

CRM software allows businesses to optimize their customer interactions. This simplifies complex outreach processes; and increases customer satisfaction.

Whether you run your own personal freelance gig or work for a large corporation, a smart CRM process can streamline your operations and increase your customer satisfaction rates. It’s important to remind yourself that your company is there to serve its clients, and a happy customer is a returning customer. Consider investing in, or strengthening, your CRM systems to set your business up for success moving forward.