by Joe Taylor Jr.
For years, marketing managers have enjoyed the latest innovations in CRM software that integrate marketing automation with product fulfillment. Lately, CEOs and other company managers have discovered that the data inside a robust CRM application can actually help delegate responsibility for key decisions. Customer service experts recommend five strategies for allowing CRM systems to help determine the right paths for customer satisfaction.
CRM Software Helps Buyers Target Advertising
Most CRM systems now include marketing automation tools that integrate with Web sites, call centers, and direct mail responses. By connecting the dots between the initial intake of customer information into a CRM application and an eventual purchase, marketers can learn which advertising channels introduced the most profitable customers. At the same time, ad buyers can use hard data from customer profiles to weed out less effective advertising and marketing platforms.
Real Estate Professionals Use CRM Data to Locate Hot Spots
For brick-and-mortar retailers, identifying the right location can be a challenging and expensive gamble. Leveraging customer information from a CRM application can shed light on where prospective customers live, work, and travel. Real estate professionals within a company can make their responsibilities easier by mapping customer "hot spots." Even virtual retailers and seasonal businesses can use CRM data to scout locations for special events and temporary, "pop-up retail" experiences.
Word of Mouth Marketers Use CRM Applications to Build Buzz
Companies that use their CRM systems as more than glorified address books often notice a significant increase in customer referrals. Smart marketers take the time to learn how customers like to be contacted, what kinds of information they wish to receive, and their circles of influence. Later, a sales team can use contests or rewards to elicit new referrals. In other cases, simply telling compelling stories about how customers use a product or service can generate the kinds of discussions that lead to new business.
Marketing Planners Create Return Visits Using CRM Data
Veteran sales professionals already understand the classic principle of "asking for the sale." Sales teams that use the latest CRM applications also know how to ask for sales again and again, without alienating or annoying long-time customers. By aligning information from customer profiles with product development cycles, marketers can often predict the times when satisfied customers are most likely considering making a follow-up purchase. Sales leaders that take responsibility for synchronizing customer feedback with promotional campaigns often see stronger return on investment than marketers who rely on blanket ad buys.
Customer Service Agents Use CRM Systems to Offer Exceptional Experiences
Some companies use CRM data to send birthday greetings or anniversary reminders. Other organizations can review CRM profiles to make product recommendations or to adjust shipping charges. Even a single customer service agent with access to a CRM database can use their company knowledge to offer insightful conversation. While company growth might make it impossible for every organization to dedicate a single sales agent to each customer, the right application of a CRM system can provide the kind of personalized service that customers crave.
CRM Software Offers Benefits Beyond Company Convenience
As these five tactics illustrate, CRM software can provide more than just a convenient way for company staff members to store customer information. When used effectively, CRM applications can revolutionize a company's overall strategy, affecting everything from advertising plans to physical presence. Company leaders can use customer profiles to justify capital expenses and policy changes. Best of all, real time data can show the effects of major changes without waiting for quarterly reports.
Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.