Managing customer relationships is essential to finding new customers, keeping existing customers and beating the competition at "WOW!"ing customers. A great tool for this is CRM software.
The ideal customer relationship management (CRM) system provides what's called a "360 degree view" of the customer. The idea is for employees to see everything there is to know about the customer all in one place. That means notes about calls, proposals, contracts, billing and payment status, email archival, support and service tickets and more.
For example, the accounting department should be able to quickly pull up the email the sales person sent to a customer with the proposal attached to verify terms and commitments made. The sales person should be able to see the outstanding balance of a customer before they take the next order.
Meanwhile, the marketing team is broadcasting email newsletters, promotional offers and more to the same customers via an email marketing solution. And, unfortunately, many companies leave the marketing aspect outside this crucial customer management system.
CRM and Email Marketing Technology that Talk to Each Other
Although both CRM and email marketing technologies have been hugely popular in recent years, one of the greatest opportunities for improving sales and customer satisfaction still eludes even very large and sophisticated companies.
Sending emails to prospects offering free content -- videos, reports, articles, etc. -- is a great way to identify which prospects are interested in a given subject, product or service. However, in most companies, marketing sends the emails, yet the results of the campaign - which prospects opened or clicked on the emails, for example - never makes it back to the CRM for the sales team to use.
Likewise, email can be a great way to identify dissatisfied customers. Sending an email inviting the customer to contact customer service, view a troubleshooting guide or even file a complaint allows customers with problems to easily "raise their hands." Thus, it's important to bring the email campaign results into CRM so that a coordinated effort can be organized to reach out to them.
Below are a few simple tips to follow to help facilitate incorporating email marketing intelligence into the CRM.
- Update your CRM with a simple note that identifies what contacts got which email message. The method for doing this varies depending on the platform but, it can usually be done with little effort.
- A few days after an email blast is sent, update the CRM so the recipients that opened and/or clicked on the email are noted or flagged; this can be valuable to the sales people.
- Keep the organization of contacts and lists within the CRM and Email Marketing solutions consistent to make correlations easy.
- Compare email response rates to segments, territories and markets in the CRM. It should be straight forward to lookup lists of customers or prospects in a given territory or industry vertical. Match the open and click rates from the email marketing solution to those "segments". Opportunities and subtle improvements in the email messaging will quickly emerge.
- Get in the habit of exporting the list of contacts receiving an email to excel just to be sure you'll know in the future. This is an insurance policy against challenges with your particular solution.
No matter the technology chosen, following these simple steps will lead to unexpected opportunities, targeting interested prospects and elevate customers into fans.
Photo credit: hongkiat.com
Craig Klein is CEO and Founder of SalesNexus.com, a leading web based customer relationship management (CRM) and email marketing solution for small business sales teams. Craig's a sales process guy. His passion is helping small businesses hire, train, measure, and manage sales people through their sales process. Craig's the author of "Double Your Sales This Year" and several other popular e-books and is a contributor to Small Business Today Magazine and has appeared as a featured speaker at the TEANA 2012 Conference and many other exhibitions and conferences.