As a business, customers are at the center of everything. Customer relationship management (CRM) has evolved through the years to provide new opportunities to manage contacts and deliver a better customer experience. CRM began in the 1980’s with the famous rotating file device known as the Rolodex. True CRM software began in the 90’s when innovators, such as Brock Control Systems, explored the automation possibilities of new database systems. This is also the decade when CRM got its name. From there, CRM software began to transform the sales industry. This revolutionary product continues to grow, adapting to the market to include new features.
Today, big data and artificial intelligence have taken over modern CRM systems. Because of this shift, many processes today have become automated. The convenience is invaluable to a business but many consumers are growing tired of the lack of human interaction. While companies implement exciting new innovations, real relationships with customers have started to suffer. Once a customer relationship has been formed, it’s crucial to maintain it. Studies show it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an old one. These relationships are key to remaining competitive.
This doesn’t mean that companies should get rid of CRM technology. On the contrary, the technology available can help your business manage customer relationships in an authentic way. It can also provide what your customers are looking for before the competition can. The following are measures to leverage CRM software most effectively to focus on customer relationships.
Creating Relationship-Based Touchpoints
To begin, how do you get customers to respond to outreach efforts? It can become frustrating when customers don’t respond to the majority of attempts. The key is to create a high number of personalized touchpoints. It often takes several touchpoints for consumers to gather and fully process information about a brand. There’s a balance that needs to happen, though, so you’re not sending out too many messages. Additionally, these messages need to be scheduled for the most effective times through the most relevant channels. Conduct research to find what works best for your audience.
It’s usually very obvious when a message is sent by a sales robot and not an actual human. It’s in a company’s best interest to stay away from sounding mechanic. Make touchpoints personal by responding individually to a customer’s own questions and needs. Don’t make it seem like they’re just another name on a mailing list Finding software that gives a quick, visual overview of customer interactions with the brand can help sales teams find the best approach for touchpoints with each customer.
Finding the Right Amount of Touchpoints
Every consumer is different, but marketing professional Jeff Hoffman suggests using between five and seven touchpoints. Over time, look at historical data of successful sale opportunities to determine the optimal number of outreach attempts. You can test customer demographics to break it down further, finding commonalities across different groups. This will help your campaigns in the future, saving you time and increasing your chances of success.
Optimizing Customer Data
CRM systems are filled with data, providing valuable insights across an entire business. One of the most valuable pieces of information is the customer pipeline, which tells you what buying stage a customer is in. The optimal CRM system will allow you to see all of the touchpoints with a customer displayed on one single page. It can also include a broad overview of each department, customer segment, and buying stage. These insights are the building blocks of a solid customer relationship. They can help you plan future outreach messages and analyze business growth. They also offer opportunities to spot trends, and spark ideas for the business to implement.
Building Relationships Through Emotional Connection
Many people claim they make decisions based solely on facts, but the truth is that most choices are based on emotion and subconscious rationales. Several studies have shown that 90 percent of decisions are emotion-based, demonstrating that most choices are not strictly rational. Facts should definitely still be used during customer touchpoints, but they shouldn’t be the sole component.
So, how can you create an emotional connection in your outreach attempts? The first thing you need to do with prospective buyers is show them you are on their side. You can accomplish this by using your CRM software to gain insight into consumer interests and trends. Every outreach attempt should engage with the principal interests of your audience. Through these efforts, create a cohesive “brand personality” that will connect with consumers.
Imagine how much more effective a touchpoint is when it makes a customer feel like they’re being contacted by someone they know, rather than a message that is targeted to thousands of other people. This might sound impossible to enact with your entire database, but the right technology can make it happen. Use software that tracks interactions and gives you actionable steps to deliver the right outreach messages so you can research, organize, and prepare this messaging in advance, balancing preparation and automation with personalization.
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Integrations allow your favorite tools to connect with your CRM, providing maximum coverage and optimal contact. They reduce the amount of time spent transferring and analyzing data, which is the best case scenario. They also eliminate the need to enter the same data more than once by propagating entries across relevant fields automatically.
Some integration options include email marketing, invoicing and accounting, quotes and proposals, and help desk software. You can ensure that your outreach attempts remain focused on relationships based on which integrations you use. For example, a relationship could permanently break if you keep sending emails to someone who has unsubscribed from your email marketing list. But with client information all in one place due to integrating different apps and services, it’s easier to see the entire picture and avoid these mistakes. Integrations allow one holistic view of the customer to build a clear picture before getting in touch. This helps create stronger campaigns that build respect and trust, leading to that coveted final sale.
A true CRM can help forge meaningful relationships with customers, the basis for success in business. This all begins with the employee touchpoint. It doesn’t need to be an automated, mechanical process. It should be a personal, connected outreach effort. Cultivating these relationships through CRM software will lead to an increase in customer loyalty and the number of dedicated customers.