You won’t find many people in business arguing against the idea that customers should be at the heart of everything they do.
Especially in the modern digital age, much of the talk about business strategy and success revolves around creating the right kind of customer experience, retaining customers and maximising their lifetime value to your company.
It’s little wonder, then, that customer relationship management, or CRM, has become such a hot topic of conversation. CRM is synonymous with a type of business software that combines advanced contact and lead management with omnichannel comms integration, data analytics, automation and more.
At its core, CRM software is all about aligning marketing, sales and service. By making data about customers and their interactions with your business available across all teams, a CRM system can be the trigger to better collaboration, common understanding, and a shared sense of purpose.
But CRM is also about more than just the software. It’s about adopting a particular customer-focused mindset or culture. One that doesn’t just put customers first, but recognises that the way you engage with customers, how you nurture them and keep them coming back time and time again, has a fundamental impact on business success.
A sound CRM strategy puts your customers front and centre of every decision, and ensures everyone is working towards delivering the optimum experience, end to end. At a time when, thanks to the accessibility of the internet, there has never been so much competition in business, when customer expectations are sky high and they will readily tell the world when you don’t meet them, building your business strategy around strong customer relationships is close to being essential.
Here’s how revamping your approach to CRM can add significant value to your business.
Data is at the heart of CRM. Put to work in the right way, data means knowledge. And we all know what knowledge gives us.
CRM systems specialise in collating data about your customers from across your organisation. When someone responds to an advert or signs up to a newsletter, when they browse products on your site, when they like something you post on social media, when they make contact with a query about a product or service, CRM software logs it.
Over time, this builds up a detailed picture of your relationships with every single customer. Supported by the right analytics tools, this gives you a better understanding of who your customers are, what their buying habits are, what motivates them to buy, what puts them off, what matters most to them. That knowledge forms the foundation of any customer-centric business strategy.
Deeper understanding of your customers leads to many benefits. An obvious one is that it puts you in a position to give your customers more of what they want. A good CRM strategy goes hand in hand with creating winning customer experiences. If you know what motivates your customers to buy more, you can create experiences accordingly.
Customer insights drawn from CRM can inform your marketing, your sales pipelines, your content, your choice of channels, branding, fulfilment, product development … in a word, everything. CRM intelligence also means you can leave behind the days of a one-size-fits-all approach. You can target and personalise marketing, sales and service to suit different groups and individuals.
A staggering 80% of consumers say they are now more likely to buy from companies offering personalised, tailored experiences. The end result is more conversions and higher average sale values.
Following on from creating better, more personalised experiences that tap into what your customers really want, you increase satisfaction. Happy customers stay loyal. Research shows that the longer you retain a customer, the more they spend. On average, people spend 67% more per purchase after three years buying from the same company versus new customers.
A strong CRM strategy helps you understand your customers well enough on an individual level to keep them happy and loyal. Investing time and effort in nurturing long term relationships pays off with lifetime customer value that accelerates in growth the longer it goes on.
As anyone in business knows, you’re never going to turn every person who buys from you into a highly engaged, high spending loyal brand ambassador.
The problem is, without proper knowledge about your customers, identifying who is likely to become a valuable long-term customer is just guesswork. You end up wasting a lot of time and resources on a scattergun approach trying to lock in loyalty from customers who are never going to be of high value.
But if you can predict who is more likely to become one of your better customers at an early stage, you can focus your efforts on nurturing the relationships that return the highest value.
CRM data lets you do things like lead scoring, or sifting out the most likely prospects from the rest. Two thirds of high performing marketers identify lead scoring as a key tool in driving revenue gains.
Although lead scoring helps you identify and focus on your most likely customers, according to Gartner, 70% of promising leads are lost because they are not followed up properly.
A good CRM strategy is also about acting on information. Whether you want to follow up a hot lead or create personalised marketing campaign, CRM software helps by automating workflows. You can set up messaging, campaigns and prompts so they are triggered by customer behaviour, meaning you never miss an opportunity and actions happen with high efficiency in real time.
Equally, CRM pools data and lets you create shared, transparent workflows across teams, helping to establish a culture of knowledge sharing so the right people can act at the right time.
The sum impact of lead prioritisation, personalised pipelines, marketing and sales automation and more is more efficient sales processes, leading ultimately to more conversions and more revenue. You will often hear people talk about the sales journey becoming ‘shorter’ when a good CRM strategy is in place, which really means making it easier for customers to buy. So they do.
According to CRM vendor Salesforce, CRM can increase sales by 29% and boost sales productivity by 34%. It also increases average sales value by using data about a customer’s preferences and sales history to make targeted upsell and cross-sell recommendations.
Want to find out more about how CRM can add value to your business? At Key Element, we specialise in end to end CRM solutions. We can help you map out your customer journeys and build a strategy accordingly, we will identify, customise and implement the right CRM platform for your business, and we provide the expertise in data modelling to make sure you get the best intelligence possible. Get in touch with us today to find out more.