Financial Poise
Business-Customer Relationship

The Best Strategy to Utilize CRM Software and Retain Your Customers

Let’s Make This (Customer) Relationship Work

The customer relationship is one of the most important relationships a business will have. As companies grow, expanding their customer base, their sales and marketing activities can become vastly more complicated. Companies that have more than ten customers and two employees need to manage customer relationships in a way that benefits the business and the customer. This is called Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM)?

CRM allows a business to manage its relationships with its customers. CRM systems are useful, because it is impossible for businesses to remember all of their customer’s data and details. Knowing customer details can mean the difference between business success and failure.

Having names, addresses, phone numbers, billing and shipping information. are just the basics required for your sales and marketing activities to win in any competitive environment. To efficiently scale and grow, many businesses need to go even further.

  • What did the customer buy before?
  • What information have we sent them in past interactions?
  • When is their birthday?
  • What are their kids, pets or spouse’s names?
  • What are their likes and dislikes?

Why Do I Need CRM Software?

Businesses need and rely on customer data to help personalize and develop stronger bonds with clients. Why? Because no matter the size or enormity of your brand, people want to do business with people they like. Customers view their relationship to a business positively when a business personalizes the customer experience.

Positive relationships can lead to repeat customers. Think about visiting your local neighborhood restaurant where the owner greets you by name. When a restaurant remembers your birthday, your favorite drink or how you mentioned a recent vacation, you feel like you matter to that business. You love that restaurant. You want to go back again and again. You probably recommend it to your friends. Those same feelings can hold true in any customer-facing business, even if you are an insurance broker, attorney or consultant.

How Do I Get Started?

I’ve had small and medium-sized business clients use everything from Microsoft Excel to expensive CRM tools like Salesforce. What system, software or procedure you decide to use depends on several factors like the type of business, size of your business and customer requirements.

Here are three things that will ring true, no matter the solution you choose:

  1. It doesn’t work unless the data is uploaded and people are committed to using the system. That takes time, training and dedication. Train everyone that needs access to the data, then train others as a redundancy. Don’t ever skimp on this.
  2. CRM data must be kept up to date, so build it into your daily sales and marketing process. Don’t think you or someone else will/can go back and enter the data later. Later always comes, but the data never gets entered. Or worse, bad data happens when someone enters data from memory and forgets important details.
  3. The CRM tool must be flexible because you’ll need to be able to grow with it, and maybe even into it. Especially with smaller businesses, it’s important that everybody understand the CRM system. No business can afford to simply stop and start over when the only person managing the CRM changes jobs, calls in sick, or worse, is hit by a bus.

Find the Right CRM System for Your Business

Many people use Excel when they first start out. It’s free and that’s great if you are a whiz at Excel. Sadly, most people are not. Look at what others in your industry are using when determining what CRM software suits your business needs.

Here are my recommendations:

  • For the smallest businesses, I like Hubspot and Insightly, because they offer a free version for one or two users, making them good budget options.
  • For medium-sized companies with some level of marketing sophistication, the premium features of Hubspot and Insightly can be good options, as well as Zoho and Salesforce.

Other similar CRM software options include:

  • Pipedrive
  • SugarCRM
  • Oracle Netsuite
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Zendesk
  • Freshworks
  • Apptivo CRM

If you want to see how important a CRM tool is to a business, just Google “CRM statistics 2020.” I warn you: you’ll see lots of stats from CRM companies, but they are all basically saying the same thing—proper use of a CRM system gives your business the opportunity to grow.

It is up to you to build a relationship with your clients and CRM can help. CRM will help manage and evolve business-client relationships for continual growth.

[Editor’s Note: To learn more about this and related topics, you may want to attend the following webinars: Growing Your Practice and Digital Marketing Tips for the New (or Old!) Business Owner. This is an updated version of an article originally published on October 25, 2018.]

©All Rights Reserved. April, 2021.  DailyDACTM, LLC d/b/a/ Financial PoiseTM

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About Scott Steer

Scott Steer is a New York-based marketing strategy/engagement/activation consultant focused on optimizing omni-channel marketing. Share this page:

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