CRM (a customer relationship management system) is at the heart of many successful businesses today.
What is CRM? CRM software is a set of policies, technologies and applications that businesses use to collect and store customer data. This can include everything from customers’ personal information to shopping habits to purchase histories.
Though brands have diverse data objectives – most use CRMs to strengthen customer relationships.
While CRMs help brands better understand their target markets, they fall short in a key area – providing a way for personnel to use the aggregated information. More specifically, they don’t offer a way for businesses to communicate with customers to gain maximum value from each, and every, customer.
CRMS make a difference
CRMs help businesses manage, and analyze customer interactions, throughout their transactions and relationships. Data collected typically falls into one of two categories: Personal data and data that tracks the customer journey.
Personal data includes information such as physical address, email address, telephone number, business website, social media accounts and more.
Customer journey data meanwhile, covers purchase history, shopping behaviors, buying preferences and the length of the customer relationship. It also includes information on how a customer discovered a brand, where they are in the buyer journey, and the points of contact they have with a brand.
Sales teams use the information stored in CRMs to improve the rapport between their salespeople and their customers, boost sales and increase customer retention rates.
CRMs make a difference:
- Small businesses that utilize them achieve at least 65% of their sales quotas
- Organizations that don’t fail to convert an average of 79% of leads into sales
Though a 65% conversion rate is impressive, there is room for improvement. The 45% gap could be closed if businesses also used CRMs to boost customer engagement.
Most CRMs ignore the last mile
While it may be easy to explain away a smaller difference of 10-20% with a “businesses aren’t using the data effectively” argument – a 45% difference suggests the technology itself is wanting … and it is.
While CRM systems help businesses better understand their customers, they ignore the last mile – how to use that information to help businesses improve engagement with their audiences.
CRMs, in short, lack communication features. As a result, businesses are responsible for connecting the systems with third-party applications or software.
Due to lack of time, knowhow or inclination however, many brands fail to take this final step, leaving a huge gap between two crucial business processes: data collection and management and customer engagement.
Fortunately, there are tools and tips to help businesses bridge this gap.
Bridging the gap between CRM and customer communications
Many brands currently develop communication processes based on what works for them while ignoring the needs and wants of their audiences.
The 9 to 5 customer service model is a good example of this.
While this model is convenient for businesses and their employees, it’s not for working folks who don’t have time to sit on hold during normal business hours.
Communications departments would realize this if they could access data in CRMs – and more importantly – be trained on how to use it.
Opening up CRM data to all the departments and systems within an organization can pose significant operational challenges – it would also require significant investment.
Given these barriers, businesses need today, a secure, controlled environment that enables them to make information readily available to customer service, marketing and other departments – agile CRM, in other words. Here are a few tips for integrating CRM data with other channels to enhance agility.
Identify goals for integrating CRM with communication channels
To optimize the potential of an integrated system you need to set customer relationship goals. While these vary from organization to organization, common ones include:
- Identifying upsell or cross-sell opportunities
- Weed out the bad leads
- Communicate consistently with customers and prospects on topics that appeal to them
- Personalize the buying journey
- Anticipate customers’ needs and respond to them accordingly
- Create and send out well-timed offers
- Build rapport with individual customers
Each of these micro-objectives will help accomplish broader macro goals such as increasing customer engagement and ROI.
Personalization is probably the most effective marketing strategy right now.
According to the research, nearly 50% of consumers pay more attention to brands that personalize messages to them. An even greater percentage have come to expect personalization from the brands with which they do business.
If you make CRM data available to other departments, make sure they use it – common uses include:
- Follow-up with customers to ensure they leave each interaction with a positive impression of your brand
- Track important dates for customers, such as birthdays and anniversaries, and schedule personalized notifications to go out on those dates.
- Analyze shopping behavior and send out offers for products or services customers show the most interest in
The success – or otherwise – of integrating your CRM with other systems depends on the people using it. Teams should be trained on a departmental basis, rather than individually, to get mass buy-in. Training should also focus on ways to use data rather than just functionality of the system.
One of the greatest benefits of CRMs is their ability to improve collaboration across organizations. To fully realize this benefit, focus on strengthening your team’s combined efforts. Break down barriers between departments by encouraging company-wide rather than department-wide communication and training employees as you onboard them.
Integrate other tools
One of the fastest, easiest ways to bridge the gap between communications and CRMs is to integrate your system with purpose-built tools designed to streamline communication with your customers.
NotifyMe, a secure content creation platform ticks these boxes while also offering the ability to:
- Segment subscribers into groups based on criteria you define
- Manually segment populations, or let the platform analyze CRM data and segment it for you
NotifyMe makes it easier for your team to use CRM data as well.
For instance, say your marketing department discovers that a large subset of your subscribers has shown heightened interest in X product. Given this information, the team can develop content specifically for said product and send it exclusively to interested parties.
NotifyMe helps you bridge the gap between your data systems and customer service – find out more about its innovative benefits and how it can help you learn more about, and get closer to your customers.