Awareness. Consideration. Action. Loyalty.
So goes the formula of the traditional marketing funnel. Part of your job rests on executing strategies that impact target customers along this path, moving leads beyond passive recognition into enthusiastic advocates whose identities come to be entwined with your brand.
Or so you’ve been told. In reality, this seems to be an art many preach but few know how to master. That’s where customer relationship management comes in.
The Role of CRM
CRM is a strategic system that harmonizes all prospect and customer data so businesses can leverage unique, tactical and ultimately profitable customer touchpoints.
More than half of all consumers (64% and growing) say they want personalized touchpoints from businesses. Of that group, 57% are willing to trade private information in exchange for curated news, content, product offerings, discounts, reward offers and more straight from a brand.
CRM allows businesses of any size to execute on aggregated customer data. Cutting through today’s copious data clutter, CRM software organizes and streamlines all client and customer information, interactions and history into one system — plus similar information from leads who are peeking at you from the sidelines but haven’t yet taken the plunge.
How? The typical CRM software process works as follows:
- Customer data is collected (typically online after visiting your website).
- Data is categorized and stored within the software.
- You access and analyze customer habits from that data, all compiled conveniently within one program.
- You glean suggestions for future marketing touchpoint tactics based on that data.
- You ultimately create enhanced customer experiences that impress, influence and convert.
This interplay between collecting and using data for better customer interactions is the central purpose of CRM. Every type of business can benefit from implementing CRM methods and technologies. CRM lets your organization “go the extra mile.” And in many cases, it does so while reducing yesterday’s manual sales and marketing workflows.
How Do I Know If I Need CRM?
Consider the following situations. Do any strike a chord regarding your vision for the future of your business?
- You have sales goals: Looking to break from an MRR plateau? Improve your lead conversion rate? Boost your average deal or order size? These (and more) are KPIs related to sales. The best CRM cycles support sales goals by informing you about ways to reach and engage segmented audiences.
- You want to be more organized: Say “goodbye” to siloed departmental databases. How refreshing would it be to have all customer information, communication preferences, purchasing history, lifetime values, opened emails, clicked links, website traffic and even product/inventory data housed in one place?
- You want better marketing: CRM improves your understanding of how, when, where and even why people interact with your products or services. You can use that information to map specific customer segments, then funnel hyper-relevant content marketing their way.
- You want to boost customer service and support: When you engage with customers beyond the transactional, you establish a value-adding relationship based on mutually shared consideration and interests. Their brand loyalty and engagement rates skyrocket as a result.
- You wish to save time: Time is your most precious resource. CRM technology streamlines many of the lead nurturing, marketing funnel and sales tasks and touchpoints necessary to run a profitable business.
If you answered “yes” to any of the above scenarios, then CRM is right for you.
The Functions of CRM
CRM operates in two forms. It is, at once, a process as well as a specific type of enterprise technology:
- CRM process: Businesses that seek to better understand their customers and then translate that understanding into more dynamic communications are, in fact, participating in CRM. The tactics and activities they devise to support strategic communications become their CRM process.
- CRM technology: The actual software used to collect, sort and analyze customer data. When launching or re-launching a CRM process, your organization will more than likely adopt some form of CRM software.
Together, CRM processes and software platforms support growth opportunities across the following business functions:
- Lead nurturing: The secret to lead nurturing lies in providing answers to a segment’s questions, concerns or pain points at every stage of the buyer’s journey. CRM helps you better identify exactly what those questions and pain points are. For example, CRM software will note a customer who consistently opens emails with “how to” subject lines. Using that knowledge, you can create product, service or industry-related how-to tutorials that relate to your business and link back to your sales pages.
- Contact list automation: Contact lists are your segmented audiences. CRM helps you create more specific contact lists and set up automated touchpoints relaying segment-relevant messages to those lists, instead of broad, “catch-all” content.
- Pipeline execution: CRM pipelines sharpen the actual sales strategies and tactics for new and existing customer segments. CRM platforms contain sales campaigns you can set to trigger automatically based on user data, ensuring you don’t miss a single sales opportunity.
- Data and analytics analysis: Given their repository nature, CRM software is the one-stop tool to collect, review and leverage data to tweak marketing and sales operations and launch new, data-backed objectives.
- Inside sales expansion: CRM tracks your most effective sales channels, including via phone and email, and ensures you don’t forget to sustain value-adding relationships with your current customers alongside prospect acquisition.
- Overall sales and marketing harmony: The two departments access the same programs, see the same data and utilize the same reports, helping their operations run more congruently.
Reasons Your Business Needs CRM Software
The global $120 billion SaaS CRM marketplace is no fleeting trend. Industry research shows that the average ROI on CRM software is $8.71 for every dollar invested and that it can increase sales by 29% and sales forecast accuracy by 42%.
If those figures alone don’t pique your interest, consider these leading benefits that CRM software and processes stand to bring to your business:
1. Sharpen Your Sales Funnel
Traditional sales funnels break down into roughly four key stages, each served by the workflow management and automated functions of CRM software:
- Awareness: CRM programs help initiate early emails, phone calls, face-to-face meetings and similar touchpoints with prospective leads. Data gleaned from these touchpoints can help you assign a sales rep to reach out, as well as determine a lead’s qualification (i.e. how viably positioned they are to move through the funnel toward a purchase).
- Interest and consideration: CRMs continue to lead-nurture by pinpointing the interests, concerns and pain points of the prospect in order to funnel value-adding communications and collateral their way (e.g. sending product tutorials to a lead after they visit a particular product’s page.). These materials begin to establish a deeper, solutions-based relationship between your brand and the lead.
- Decision: The CRM program continues to inform how and when to contact leads, as well as through which channels. These continued marketing efforts aim to guide the lead ultimately toward a purchase.
- Action: After that lead makes their purchase (and subsequently is no longer a lead), CRM software will log all transactional information for future access and continued relationship management.
Note that the best sales funnels truly bring value to their end users. They don’t spam leads with sales calls or send email blasts on flash sales or 24-hour discount codes. These are useful marketing strategies with a time and a place — but they’re far from the only uses for CRM software.
2. Synchronize Your Data
CRM software serves as a central database for both marketing and sales efforts. Everything from initial email campaigns sent after a lead joins your listserve down to the most recent invoices for a 10-year B2B client is housed in one place for both teams to access.
The result? Unsiloed communications and streamlined inter-departmental decision-making. Plus, your sales and marketing personnel are unburdened from the days of separate databases and limited-access files managed by one but needed by the other. Employees in both domains can access any target customer information with just a few clicks.
What’s more, many of today’s top CRM platforms are hosted in the cloud, making customer information, transaction and touchpoint history accessible from virtually anywhere. Inside sales reps working while at an industry conference? Marketing promotions manager working from home? No problem — they’ll still be able to utilize the software and its buffet of data to execute their roles remotely.
3. Be Scalable
No more managing unorganized Excel spreadsheets that spiral into multiple versions as they’re shared and updated across teams and departments. Cloud-based CRMs automatically input and categorize new and old data alike. Make scaling your operations even easier with customizable yet user-friendly program algorithms that can be adapted over time to match new campaigns and priorities.
In short, as your sales, contact lists and product or service pipelines expand, your CRM platform expands right along with it.
4. Master Data-Backed Decision-Making
Without real-time sales and marketing data, departments can quickly feel like they’re making decisions in the dark. CRM data logs and analytics reports help you make sound choices when it comes to executing customer touchpoints without confusion or downstream data misinterpretation.
You’ll have instant access to a wealth of tracked performance measurements and profiling data like:
- Contact information
- Purchase history
- Calling activity
- Social media engagement
- Email engagement
- Support tickets
- Conversion rates
- How the customer first found your business
- Many other actionable data categories
Leverage these insights to create new campaigns or pivot existing ones to contribute to shortened sales cycles while simultaneously increasing customer retention rates, upsells and loyalty. It’s a win-win for you and your clients.
5. Excel at Customer Service
Even your poster child sales reps can’t remember every single element of client transaction history, preferences, pain points and engagements off the tops of their heads. Yet, these can be the details that distinguish you from the competition.
CRM, however, can remember granular information. Equip sales representatives with all the information they need, and then some, with comprehensive CRM platforms housing personalized insights. During follow-up calls, customers will be blown away by the level of attention your reps provide and the amount of tailored information they share. Recommend products and services, review deals, discuss relevant campaigns and more, and ultimately turn sales pitches into impressive two-way conversations.
6. Increase Customer Satisfaction
CRM technology and processes let you deliver what your customers actually value.
Consistently giving customers what they want — perhaps even before they know they want it — is a foundation of nurturing customer loyalty. Your clients will feel pampered in all the right ways. They begin to associate that feeling with your brand’s product and service deliverables.
Once this kind of emotional connection forms, few things can stop your customer satisfaction rates from soaring. Certain repeat segments can even be persuaded to become brand evangelists. They’ll be so delighted by your business that they advocate for it on their own and generate additional leads for further CRM success.
7. Create Meaningful Bonds
They don’t put the “relationship” in “customer relationship management” for nothing.
CRM transforms your business away from tired, one-way sales tactics and into evergreen, mutually beneficial connections. You aren’t just another business trying to sell a product. You’re a business delivering tangible value — through your products and services all the way down to your blog posts, white papers, tutorials and more, all strategically funneled toward your customers and clients because of CRM.
There are few things more valuable to today’s businesses than retained customers. On average, it costs five times more to acquire a new client than to nurture and retain a current one. Those repeat clients, too, will end up spending around 20% more per transaction, making their lifetime value far greater than their first-time counterparts in the cycle of customer acquisition.
8. Know Your Customers Better
Customers today expect more from businesses than one-and-done sales. To deliver on these expectations, your business needs tools to help anticipate end-user needs, interests, instructions, entertainment and more — plus package it all with a little personality and personalization.
Sound like too much for one business? Not with CRM. Small, medium and large enterprises can all unlock the data they need to peer behind the curtain of customer insights and engage in meaningful data analysis.
As a result, your organization can fulfill customer needs to boost satisfaction and loyalty. In some cases, CRM can even structure preemptive retention campaigns and help you wield these to your advantage as you send the right promotional messages to the right segments each and every time.
Want to Know What Makes Your Customers Tick?
You don’t have to wonder what connects with your customers — and, just as importantly, what doesn’t.
LeadMaster’s CRM Platform was created to help businesses like yours grow and know their customers, both new and old. Learn what your customers truly value when engaging with your brand, then tailor all of your interactions appropriately to maximize their impact and forge a lasting relationship.
Our CRM software system is a streamlined solution with leading CRM SaaS features, including:
- Cloud-based system
- Scalable and affordable, with a straightforward per-user cost structure
- Easily integrates with other enterprise software
- User-friendly design
- Contemporary cybersecurity perimeters
- Ongoing LeadMaster support
- And more
Get to know your customers with LeadMaster’s free, no-credit-card-required CRM Platform trial today.