Customer Relationship Management: Not Just a System
Today, most people think of software when they hear “customer relationship management.”
But as successful sales leaders know, there is much more to it than that.
Customer relationship management also refers to the strategy and processes for ensuring optimal customer acquisition and retention. Achieving each of these goals requires a concerted approach.
In this article, we will discuss how to fulfill the three pillars of effective customer relationship management.
1. Customer relationship management as a software
In the age of digital transformation, the most common way to think of customer relationship management is a platform that houses all of a company’s information relating to customers, current, prospects, and past leads.
A CRM is central to the work of several departments such as sales, marketing, and customer success.
Sharing information helps break down silos between departments and enables better coordination in pursuit of acquiring and retaining business. It also ensures that all stakeholders in the organization are privy to the same information at each step of the sales funnel.
Optimizing the use of your CRM software is fundamental. First, access to the information inside depends on having a high level of usability. Second, in the event of a merger or an acquisition, effective CRM use enables you to aggregate information on customers and makes the transition easier.
2. Customer relationship management as a strategy
Customer relationship management also means adhering to a more customer-centric strategy to help grow sales and improve customer service.
92% of companies collect customer data in a centralized location. This creates a great opportunity to analyze that data, identify trends, and amend the strategy accordingly.
Whether that comes in the form of personalized marketing campaigns and special offers or just communicating with the customer on an individual level, this will all help the customer feel valued and help foster brand loyalty.
Customer relationship management strategy should also include how customers interact with your product. What does the customer experience look like? How do customers perceive your brand? Who is the competition, and how can you set yourself apart? These are all questions you should be asking.
3. Customer relationship management as a process
Customer Relationship Management also refers to the process of nurturing and managing those relationships throughout their lifecycle.
Routinely analyzing the customer journey will help your customer success and sales teams notice trends in customer behavior and identify potential “trouble spots” in their lifecycle. Based on these insights, you can put provisions in place to preempt issues before they occur.
Learning customer behavior and developing a strong relationship takes time.
The customer needs to trust the company and the product. Cultivating this trust requires ongoing dialogue between your company and customers. A big part of this is accepting customer feedback, positive or negative, and considering how to use it to improve the customer experience.
CRM as a process is therefore about seeing the full lifecycle of the customer, treating it as a relationship and enabling a two-way dialog.
Strengthen these 3 pillars of CRM to maintain customer success
These three pillars of customer relationship management are integral to building your book of business, upselling to current customers, and maintaining a positive brand image.
It is about keeping a finger on the pulse of the customer journey. It’s about having all the data in one place so your teams in sales, marketing, and customer success can share information and take a customer-centric approach. Finally, its nurturing a relationship that is beneficial for both the company and the customer.