Increasing sales

Does your business need a CRM strategy?

As a business owner, you know that your customers are the beating heart of your organisation. But do you have a strategy in place to nurture those relationships?

 

If you don't, a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy might just be what you need to boost your business. Here's what you should know.

CRM in a nutshell

When you boil it down, every business is essentially about engaging as many customers or clients as possible. So, in order to see your business thrive, you need to continue to find new ways to generate those all-important leads. A CRM strategy is designed to help you do that by building and nurturing customer relationships with the help of data.

What goes into a CRM strategy?

All CRM strategies usually incorporate three key aspects:

1. Learning about the customer and collecting data on them

2. Organising that data to inform your sales process and marketing initiatives

3. Optimising your customer interactions to increase customer satisfaction

That said, not all CRM strategies are created equally. According to Forbes, there are three ways you can go about it, depending on your objective:

  • Operational: An operational CRM strategy typically uses past customer data, such as previous marketing campaigns, purchases and customer feedback, to optimise future communications. For retail and e-commerce businesses that have a short sales cycle, an operational strategy works because it can make CRM much more efficient.
  • Analytical: If you operate in a highly competitive market, an analytical CRM strategy could be the right fit. It detects customer needs and service trends through data mining pattern recognition, which can give you an edge over competitors and increase your customer satisfaction levels.
  • Collaborative: Sometimes, a better solution can be to join forces with another business. That's when a collaborative CRM strategy can be the right choice. It involves sharing customer data with each other so you can expand your insights with an additional set of eyes. This can allow you to spot oddities and trends you might not have seen otherwise.

CRM systems

A CRM system is a nifty piece of technology that collects and stores information about your customers and can help you use these for marketing purposes. However, it's more than just a repository for your clients' email addresses. It can accommodate calendars for upcoming client meetings, additional contact details (phone numbers, addresses, etc.) and information on past purchases and communications.

Your CRM system can analyse this data and then use it to better manage your sales funnel. Documenting all your customer interactions, it can help you guide clients through the buyer journey and provide useful insights for annual sales projections. This can also help you inform and improve your marketing strategy.

Tips for implementing a CRM strategy

1. Provide CRM training: Educate your employees on the purpose of your CRM strategy and how to use the CRM software. This can help you ensure everyone is implementing it correctly and making the most of it.

2. Create guidelines: Make sure everyone understands what kind of data you want to collect, where it's going to be stored, how it's going to be processed and what you're planning on using it for.

3. Set targets: Clearly defined targets and milestones can help you determine the success of your CRM strategy and optimise it along the way.

4. Use the right software: There are a lot of CRM systems to choose from, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Your best bet is to do some research to see which one would suit your business best at this point.

Having a CRM strategy in place in this day and age is crucial for long-term business success. It can help you stay on top of your customers' needs and close sales that otherwise would have dropped off the face of the earth.

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