From a communications perspective, now that sales has become less transactional and more interactive, companies have the ability to take a macro view of each customer profile, using social media as both a communication tool and a source of marketing data, analysing digital behaviour and customising content accordingly. CRM software has a huge role to play in giving businesses this ability and is now considered a fundamental element which sits at the centre of the IT infrastructure.
InFusion’s Data Marketing Specialist, Lianne Marie, explains how to make your CRM work hard for the money.
CRM – An origins story
Back in the 1970s (before the first independent mainframes were introduced as a digital backup) a mainstream CRM or Customer Relationship Management system consisted of nothing more sophisticated than index cards in a filing cabinet used for lead generation.
With the introduction of direct marketing in the 1980s, access to the company database was vital for sales growth and so the first system, ACT, was accessible to teams of telesales people churning out phone calls. Data became more valuable and sophisticated with the introduction of sales force automation in the 1990s, the dawn of the email campaign as a marketing tool. New technology was necessary to support systems going mobile in the early 2000s as the internet led the customer acquisition landscape, then by the 2010s cloud based BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) became commonplace.
In 2016 and beyond CRM software is an increasingly sophisticated tool at the heart of many sales pipelines, customer services, marketing, accounting and other operational functions. They can hold a lot of valuable data, but many businesses aren’t taking full advantage of the wealth of information at their fingertips.
How a CRM system can support your marketing strategy
It’s all about the accuracy of data. Within the business each department may take a different view on the company data. For example, creating and sending a campaign is only possible if accurate data can be drawn from the system so, for those using CRM software in sales or customer service, understanding which fields are used by marketing is key to adding the correct information to the data fields.
As personalisation in marketing becomes the default approach for many marketers, recording data to profile customers’ age, gender, location, income, interests, and buying habits, turns the CRM system into a powerful tool to determine who to contact, how to contact them (post, email, SMS, social media message or advertisement) what content to send (images, text, video) and how often.
This can be taken even further and drilled down into the social media activity of the people you’d like to connect with. Are your potential customers chatting and posting on Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit or Twitter? Sharing visuals on Pinterest or Instagram? Uploading videos on YouTube? Creating networks on LinkedIn? Choosing where to like, comment or share, utilising check ins and feedback on social media is as valuable a lead generation activity now as leaving a voicemail or sending an email was ten years ago.
Use CRM data to give people what they want, not what you think they should have
Like an artist painting a complex scene all this data comes together to build a comprehensive picture of a person and it’s where understanding and considered communications comes to the fore. Use the accumulated information to send out tailored and useful communications and information that people have an interest in at times when they’re likely to engage with it. If that’s a round up once a quarter, great, do that, or if it’s a daily social post on a relevant, topic make sure to hit that post button.
Remember, building a CRM system is just half the process, putting it to work by delivering well-crafted and personalised content and establishing a strong online presence is the other half of the key to success.
If you need help creating or putting a CRM system in place and creating new ways to tell people about your brand, product or service, we’ll happily join you for a brew to talk it over.