By Pranav Ahuja
When it comes to CRM or Customer Relationship Management, many people think of it as a repository to store all their customer contacts. However, a CRM is more than just an address book. It is a tool that helps businesses manage, track and organize their relationships with customers.
A CRM collects all the customer data and analyzes their history or past interactions with the brand. It includes the name, email, phone number, and communication preferences of every customer. This helps a business in building better relationships with the customers to ultimately drive sales and revenue. Businesses today can use CRM software to remove silos in customer information by gathering it in a central place and providing a 360º view of all your customer data.
How can CRM change things around your business?
Introducing a CRM in your business can be your wisest decision in 2022. Here’s why:
1. Improved customer satisfaction
We all know that a CRM captures all the essential details of a customer such as demographics, messages, and purchase records. This way a CRM makes it possible for every employee of your company to have customers’ information at their fingertips. They can work according to the customers’ requirements in a better way and hence improve customer satisfaction.
2. Classification of customers
Many businesses lack customer nurturing which is a virtue of CRM software. A CRM automatically manages new, prospective customers and alters the employees when they must take an action and communicate with them. This way your sales and marketing teams can spend their energy on the right customer at the right time.
3. Increased sales
A CRM software helps you understand your customers in a better way using individual customer profiles and personas. This leads to better segmentation of customers and allows you to run relevant campaigns accordingly to boost your sales.
4. Better analytics
Since a CRM provides a centralized location for all the customer-related data, it is the best source of insights. It can help break down data into important information and easily understood metrics. For example, click-through rates and bounce rates can help you identify the success of a marketing campaign.
5. Balanced internal communication
Clear internal communication within your team members is necessary to maintain a unified voice of your business on the upfront. A CRM can help you achieve this as well. With the help of a CRM, every employee knows how to communicate with a particular customer.
But, there’s a problem! Not every business can leverage all these benefits of using a CRM.
Despite deploying a centralized system for tracking and monitoring customer data, marketers, entrepreneurs, and sales teams are facing many problems such as:
1. No clear prediction
Marketers these days are facing one major difficulty: there is no singular view of a particular customer. It has been seen that every loyal customer has at least six different identities.
2. No deep customer understanding
As we mentioned in point 1 of this section, every customer has more than one identity. This is because customers are interacting with a business using various channels and with each channel, they have different preferences. Matching this data to a single customer is difficult for marketers.
3. No personalisation
There is a lack of personalization in marketing. Mostly, customers receive the same communication from various channels. Marketers are relying on generic messages since segmenting the audience is difficult for them.
4. No customer differentiation
Since there is no fixed identity of a customer, it becomes difficult for marketers to differentiate between new and old customers. Generally, every customer is treated as a new customer which makes the process of conversion more tedious.
Five focus areas behind a successful CRM strategy
The above-mentioned points clearly state that just deploying a CRM would not suffice. You need a well-planned CRM strategy to ensure success. A powerful, AI-driven CRM helps you understand and segment your customers in a better way so that you can run more relevant campaigns. Here are 5 key areas and build a successful CRM strategy for your business.
1. Generate customer data
The first step to building a successful CRM strategy is to generate customer data. The collection of customer data is necessary to truly know your audience and target them in a better way.
Few of the most effective ways of data collection are:
1) eReceipts: An e-receipt displays the transaction name, transaction details along with the date and time stamp.
2) Loyalty programs: A loyalty program, on the other hand, can help you collect data such as demographics, interests, and location of a customer. All this data
3) Incentive Program: Introduce an incentive program for store managers to ensure that data was collected properly.
2. Bring all customer data to one place
The next step to build a successful CRM strategy is creating a CDP or a Customer Data Platform to store customer data from different sources. A CDP is a unified persistent database that stores behavioral, transactional, structured, and unstructured data from multiple sources into a single repository. This data can further be used to build a unified profile around an individual customer.
3. Create a single customer view for every customer
Now that you have collected all the relevant data from various sources in one place. It is time to clean that data and create personas for every individual customer.
4. Deep customer understanding
Every interaction with a customer, whether positive or negative, is recorded in a CRM. This helps the employees understand how to interact with a customer. A CRM can help you generate retail-specific reports and gain insights regarding customers.
Step-by-step plan to implement and incorporate CRM
Adding a CRM to your business does not guarantee immediate results. In fact, the implementation of CRM is the most crucial step. How you implement your CRM decides whether you will achieve a higher return on investment. Here is a step-by-step plan for you to implement and incorporate CRM in your business.
Phase 1: 0-6 Months
For the first six months of implementing your CRM, your goal should be to capture maximum details about the customer. Create a single customer view and run campaigns through different channels such as SMS, Email, Facebook, etc. to bring in more customers.
Phase 2: 6-12 Months
For the next six months of your implementation and incorporation of a CRM, your goals should be to segment your customers and run personalized campaigns using those segmentations.
Phase 3: 12-18 Months
The third phase calls for level 2 personalized campaigns based on products, offers, stores, etc. You must also set up an automated customer campaign journey.
Phase 4: 18-24 Months
This is the last phase for the implementation of your CRM. By now you have enough customer databases to run level 3 personalized campaigns based on respective channels. You must also start studying customer behavior at a deeper level in this phase.
All in all, a CRM can do great things for your business if implemented correctly. A well executed CRM program is your cheatsheet to understanding your customer base better, making better business decisions and reaching to your customers with personalised and targetted campaigns.
The author is co-founder and CEO, Xeno