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Best practices for effective CRM

One of Jodi Granok’s recommendations in I am a Professional Organizer – Now What? is the implementation of a customer relationship management system, or CRM. A CRM can be a very powerful tool, but like any marketing tool, you can’t just start using it; you need a strategy. These guidelines from digital marketing expert, Christian Abbas, will help you make the most of your CRM system.

customer relationship management system

Customer relationship management (CRM) allows businesses to manage all customer interactions. These systems use technology to streamline all communications with the aim of maximizing productivity and developing customer loyalty.

It may seem relatively simple, but many businesses handle their CRM in a manner which is far from optimal. As a remedy, here are three approaches that will help you to achieve superior results through effective CRM.

Establish a communication timeline

As you will certainly be aware, small businesses are fast-moving organizations and it can be overwhelming to think about communicating with each of your clients without having a streamlining system in place. The solution is to devise a communication strategy, outlining how often you will interact with new customers. Utilising advanced business phone systems at this stage can help to further streamline your communications.

Start off by warmly welcoming them to the company and laying out the foundations of a strong relationship from the outset. Then, provide them with value-adding advice and guidance on how they can get the most out of your services.

You can even integrate additional sales messages into your communications, introducing them to complementary services which may be of interest. However, it is important to keep in mind that your core objective is to develop a lasting bond by giving them absolutely no doubt that they are highly valued customers.  The value-adding advice will also serve to solidify the relationship.

Store all relevant data

Build a detailed profile of your customers by logging all information that you can obtain about them. Keep a record of their industry, how they use your services, geographic information and anything else that you can ascertain. By building up a strong profile for each and every customer you deal with, you will be able to target them more effectively in all communications, thereby allowing you to boost loyalty and create new opportunities to provide add-on services.

Eventually, once you have collated enough data about your existing customer base, you will have developed a much clearer idea about the type of new customers you should be targeting. You can then use this knowledge to send out more effective marketing materials, allowing you to form deeper connections with your target audience.

Personalize your communications

Using the customer profiles you have formed over time will allow you to communicate with your customers in a more personalized manner, further cementing the assertion that they are highly valued by your business. Be sure to demonstrate that they are not merely one of many recipients of a mass mail-out, and that you are taking the necessary time to cater for their exact requirements. Emails can easily be personalized with a little effort, but take care to get the automation process right through plenty of testing.

There is also a lot to be learned from being directly involved with your customers’ needs. Remember that if a relatively general problem is affecting one customer, it is unlikely to be an isolated incident and might well be causing issues for many others. Additionally, you can easily turn a misstep into a positive piece of marketing simply by going above and beyond a customer’s reasonable expectations for a solution.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of rules for practicing effective CRM, but it will certainly set you off on the right footing. Devise your own strategy and start to foster the loyalty that all businesses crave.

Image by Lankitha, used under a Creative Commons license

Christian is a content strategist and web designer from Scotland, UK. He graduated from the University of Edinburgh Business School and went on to set up his own marketing agency, Prime Digital.

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2 Comments

  1. Ian Zafra on May 26, 2015 at 4:14 am

    Establishing a communication timeline will definitely boost a business’ customer relationship management. Knowing that there is a schedule can be most helpful in interacting with customers.

    • Janet Barclay on May 26, 2015 at 6:55 am

      Something I’m continually working to improve on!

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