This is a guest post by Mike.
In the world of business, companies of all sizes and across all industries are relentlessly trying to find new ways to market themselves and reach a wider audience, marketing is a competitive practice and right now being effective is more important than ever.
Photo credit: Sean MacEntee
But as a small business owner it can be pretty overwhelming knowing what to do, and what is and isn’t working. Some business owners throw themselves into as many marketing techniques as possible, but that can sometimes lead to disaster.
One great way to manage and optimize your marketing efforts is to use CRM software. Unfortunately not many small businesses know where to start, so here is a quick guide:
What is CRM?
CMR stands for Customer Relationship Management. Using CRM software can be a huge step in the right direction, and help make your marketing much more effective in the long term.
which was three times the average of all enterprise software categories.
Instead of blindly attempting to deal with a variety of channels, CRM software manages your businesses interactions with customers right across the board. By tracking and measuring interactions it enables you to see which marketing channels are most effective and what your customers need from you.
The tools available depend on the specific CRM package you go with, but most options include integration that lets you track customer communication via:
- Telephone Calls
- Email & Contact Forms
- Support Tickets
- Social Media (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ etc.)
By tracking all of these communications in one place you can see how CRM can make you better at looking after your customers… Imagine that you receive an email from an existing customer, you can quickly pull them up on your system and see every other interaction you have ever had with them, good or bad.
A good CRM system can help you deliver a far more measured and direct marketing strategy, because you will have your customer’s views, opinions and responses to the way your business operates right in front of you.
Saving Time & Making Connections
A good CRM can also save you a great deal of time and effort by automating actions that you need to take in the future. By integrating your marketing channels in one place you can easily provide better customer support:
Say for instance that a lead gets in touch asking about a particular product but they never make the purchase. Your CRM system could send them a follow up a couple of months later asking if they managed to find what they needed and whether they need any help if they are still looking.
Or if the customer does make the purchase, you can email them 6 months later asking if they are happy with their purchase and whether they need anything else…
Listening To Customers
Different businesses use CRM in different ways and the options are practically endless, but in all cases the biggest advantage of a well-executed CRM system is the ability to listen to your customers and remember them and their needs.
- If you have a sales aspect in your business, you can take advantage of all of the available information before speaking to a client or potential client.
- If your business is more focussed on marketing, you can use your CRM to make personalised offers based on your customer’s past purchases or purchasing behaviour.
Why not have a promotion specifically for those of your customers who like to use social media that encourages them to Tweet about your business in return for a discount?
For the customers who prefer to use email, ask them to recommend your business to their friends via email instead.
About The Author
Hi, my name is Mike, I work at Advantage.co.uk. We are specialists in MS Dynamics which is a particularly popular CRM package from Microsoft. Please visit our site to learn more.