January 21, 2016
Anyone can utilize a CRM, but is it enough for maintaining your business' relationships and needs? Since you're reading a CRM software's blog right now, you may assume that we'll say of course! Sign up for our product and that's the only thing you'll ever need for your business. Well, you may have assumed a little bit wrong. We'll explain why just using a CRM isn't enough for the upkeep of your relationships.
While of course we advocate for the use of a CRM for businesses big and small, we also say that you need to do more than just blindly follow the prompts of your CRM software of choice. Don't panic! A CRM is an excellent addition to your business' arsenal of products and extra help, but it's not the one-stop-shop for creating new relationships for your business.
What exactly is a CRM anyway? For those of you feeling a little perplexed, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. <strong(If you need help deciding on a CRM, check out our Help! I need a CRM guide to answer some questions you have.)
Generally a CRM software is one that helps to manage, analyze, and automate some processes as your customers move through the sales cycle. Sounds pretty handy, huh? And it's true, it is helpful and probably one of the best things you implement for your business if you're working with clients and customers on a regular basis.
There are plenty of great CRM softwares out there for you to choose from and in doing so, you'll need to analyze exactly what your business will need it for. Are you looking to nurture your customers through the sales cycle? Or a reliable system to remind you when it's time to follow-up with your contacts to maintain your relationships?
Whatever your intention may be for your future CRM, you must make sure the software's capabilities match up with what you want to do with it. Step back and ask yourself what your goal is for your CRM before making the big decision. Once you do, you'll need to take the time to set it up. That's right, you must put some work in to get your CRM running smoothly!
The CRM that you currently use or the one that you choose for your business is a database. That database stores information like your contacts, your sales pipeline, or your email correspondence all in one place where you can easily access it. But where do you go from there? Your CRM is no longer enough or effective when you don't have a strategy for utilizing and implementing the information you have stored there.
You can track every interaction you have with a customer to kingdom come but what good does that do for you and your business? 73% of companies have no strategy for re-engaging their leads after they go through the sales cycle. That's crazy!
For realtors, that means every customer you send through the sales pipeline via your CRM, you may never be prompted to reach out to them again. Which begs the question, how will you get all those crucial client referrals or know if your clients are ready to buy again? It's definitely time to go beyond your CRM or at least start using it more effectively!
Like we said before, there's nothing wrong with using a CRM, it's an excellent tool to have in your arsenal. But there are some easy ways you can up the ante and do more with it and create a better experience for your clients, customers and and all those future clients you'll be bringing in.
Sit down with your calendar and schedule out your special CRM time for about an hour each week. Don't spend this time sending out emails through the software, or throw more people into your flow. Maintaining your CRM requires consistent love and care, use this weekly time to check up on the emails that you're sending out and make sure that they're still relevant, along with the people they're going to.
While we all wish for a 'smart' CRM that gets it all done for us, that's not an option yet, which means that you need to be smart in how you set up and regularly check up on your CRM. Yes, that means routine maintenance!
Outside of maintenance, take the time to update your contact information, go through and audit any contacts that may not be useful any longer or even throw some new notes in about individual clients. Save any useful information on what types of gifts they may enjoy or what you chatted about the last time you saw each other.
While this all sounds like small things to take note of, if you keep it up regularly, you'll have robust contact information all stored in your CRM, giving you plenty of options to get creative with how you reach out to your contacts and what you share with them!
[caption id="attachment_6857" align="aligncenter" width="812"] Personalization is key with customers via Acquia[/caption]
You know all those notes you take on your customers and store in your CRM? Utilize them! If one of those notes says that one client prefers to speak on the phone, then when your CRM reminds you that it's time to reach out then go ahead and give them a call. Keep them out of the automatic nurture flow of emails you have set up that they may not even be reading or getting annoyed with, a quick way to lose a customer if you ask us!
You store your notes in your CRM for a reason, make sure you utilize them...even if it means having to make an actual phone call to a customer. Similar to notes, some CRM's will offer the feature to tag your customers or contacts. This is another easy way to keep track of traits that are applicable to several of your contacts, for example you can tag any realtors in the Washington, DC area with those two tags. When you're looking to reach out to other realtors in the local area, you can search by that tag and easily pull all who qualify up!
Properly segment and organize your contacts. This one is huge. You can dedicate some of your weekly CRM time to this task but make sure it's up to date! Not all of your contacts can be treated the same way, you cannot set yourself up for success if you toss them all into the same bucket when you're organizing your contacts. Sending follow-up emails can be easily planned and scheduled out but the timing shouldn't be the same for all of your contacts.
Remember the old adage, you don't talk to your mother the same way you talk to your friends? The same logic applies here. Treat your contacts and customers as individuals (or as much as you can), thus creating the most individualized and personal experience for each and every one of them.
Once you start thinking about your CRM as more of a tool and less of your solution, you can begin to integrate it into your relationship habits. For instance, when was the last time you did some good ol' fashioned networking? Like went to a conference or a local meet up for professionals? With a CRM, you can really use those business cards and info you collect at these types of events.
Your CRM has now become the best tool in your arsenal for networking and the first thing you should seek out after you go to an event. How many times have you forgotten to follow-up with people you met at a conference, only months later to find their business card at the bottom of your bag? Make it a habit to get these contacts immediately into your CRM and into a nurture flow that'll allow you to keep in touch with those new, key contacts.
Finally, a CRM is a great way to help you set goals and hold yourself to them. If your goal for the next 6 months is to effectively follow up with your contacts and bring in 50 new leads or referrals, then your CRM is the best tool you could possibly utilize. But don't expect it to do the work for you. Set useful reminders for yourself within the software to keep you on top of working towards your goal. That routine maintenance is key in making sure you working towards the goal and a good way to keep your CRM usage in check.
Ask yourself, is sending this monthly newsletter to all of my contacts with a low open rate helping me gain more referrals or work towards my goal? If the answer is no, then you may need to reassess that newsletter, or who exactly you're sending it to. Remember a CRM is a tool that you actually need to use, in order for it to work to your benefit.
As one of our sales guys so aptly put it, you don't close a sale with an email, do you? People still want to interact with humans and create a genuine relationship with the person they're buying from...especially if it's a big purchase like their home. At the end of the day, it's about creating an honest and genuine experience with your customers or people in your network who you know can help you build up your business.
Your CRM is a tool and you've been given one very useful tool but you must use it effectively. Up to 78% of customers with the intention of making a purchase have backed out because of a poor customer service experience. Keep that stat in mind the next time you throw someone into an email campaign just because it's the easiest thing to do...it may not be what your customer needs or wants.