What is a CRM?
If you’re in business, you’ve likely heard people talk about getting a CRM. Well, what is that really? What does that mean?
A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is exactly what it sounds like. It helps you and your team manage your customer relationships.
It’s like having a whole team to help you manage your customer’s needs:
- Handle basic interactions (i.e. Meeting scheduling, support requests, status updates, etc)
- Timely notification to your entire customer base about new features and product enhancements
- Helps keep your humans on task and focused on important work instead of drudgery
- Ensures your processes, branding, and messages are strategic and complimentary
Why is this important?
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.
Engaging with your customers in a consistent and measured manner is critical to business growth. In the early days when you’re figuring things out and molding your processes, you need the flexibility of doing things manually. But what do you do once you have figured out your processes? Or more important than that, how do you know that you actually have figured it out?
Using a CRM will allow you to automate and digitize your processes. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your whole process is run by robots, though. Codifying your process into a CRM will help keep your team on track and consistent. It could be as simple as providing the necessary prompts and data for your staff to excel and be efficient at their job.
Your initial result with a CRM will be sales data. You will be able to see what marketing is working and what marketing is not working. It will allow you to get unbiased feedback about your processes and methods which ultimately can be used to improve your marketing and support strategies.
Empower Your People
One of the big advantages of a CRM is the amount of time-savings your business can realize from having a well thought out CRM configuration. But, you first have to understand what we mean by saving time.
CRMs excel at automating mundane tasks and communications. So the first way you save time is simply by eliminating all of those tasks from your day to day activities. For instance, let’s use a simple scenario where you send out thank you notes for attendees of your most recent workshop.
You might be doing that by sending an email in Outlook/Gmail to all your attendees. Let’s break that down. There’s a few key steps to this process for most of us:
- Assembling the list of attendees’ email addresses (10 minutes)
- Drafting up an email with the appropriate content (20 minutes)
That might only be 30 minutes of your time for this one class, but what if you have 2 classes each week of the year? That’s 3,120 minutes of your time you are spending on this — give or take…
A CRM can literally eliminate all of that and reduce the time spent on this to zero. There’s countless other mundane tasks in your business that you take for granted. What else can you streamline? In just this instance, you potentially save $780 a year if you are paying someone $15/hr to do this. But the real benefit is you are gaining back 52 solid hours of manpower that could be put on something more important than this.
In addition to streamlining your existing mundane drudgery, once you realize the power of a CRM, you will find you are able to accomplish so much more than you ever considered possible because you didn’t have the manpower. Things like:
- Scanning social media for opportunities to engage and respond
- Reaching out to customers who put products into their carts but never committed to a purchase (maybe offer them a discount?)
- Uniting separate silos of business operations toward a common goal — imagine if Sales, Support, and R&D acted like one team
- Gather and analyze valuable engagement data to help set your business strategy around your customer needs
- Keep leadership informed of the current state of the business at-a-glance and on-demand — aren’t you sick of those regular status meetings yet?
- A/B testing of your marketing content that intelligently selects the best content to show to an individual based on their interests and needs
Finally, all the time your team spends trying to figure out what the “next step” is for a particular process is eliminated. Your staff will enjoy the relief of having a system that will prompt them along the appropriate steps so they can concentrate on doing whatever it is they need to do and not on figuring out what the best choice is (and likely interrupting leadership for guidance).
It’s not about replacing people. It’s about empowering them to achieve more.
Engage With Customers 24/7
We talked about engaging customers who may have abandoned their online shopping carts to offer them a discount if they purchase. This is just one great example of how a CRM can interact with your customers. Most of these interactions can be done 24/7 and without any human interaction at all. They say it takes 7 interactions before a typical customer considers purchasing. Let’s make those first 5 interactions something that happens behind the scenes so that your team only has to get involved for the last 2!
Engage with customers and leads in other ways too:
- Share free educational information to help customers make the right decisions (i.e. to buy YOUR product)
- Engage with customers in a personalized manner relevant to their individual needs based on how they interact with your website, social media, or even your staff — this could simply be your newsletter or it could be as fancy as having your website present different views to different people
- Audit your customer’s satisfaction and gather valuable quality data
- Schedule meetings of all kinds without the back and forth “are you free on Tuesday?” madness
- Communicate your proposals and present contracts at just the right time without a human having to be involved at all
- Present a professionalism with your customers that only comes with intimate knowledge of their individual profile — your entire team has this data at their fingertips now!
- Manage support requests and build checks and balances to be sure all customers are being taken care of and not left by the wayside