As technology has evolved, so has CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Historically, CRM tended to focus on internal operational effectiveness. It was all about providing easier access to information for employees and ideally help promote collaboration between departments within the company. It was a little black book on steroids, designed to help store a company’s valuable contact data and it grew to include the ability to generate automatic follow ups and beyond.
Today’s CRM has to take into account social media, mobile marketing and more. CRM captures the attention of prospects with relevant content and makes sure that content is available via multiple channels. It’s an integrated customer experience via various touch-points. It’s a much more social CRM model, using blog posts, videos, podcasts, tweets and other social media posts to disseminate information, educate prospects, invite conversation and develop relationships.
CRM is not only for the “big” guys in business. Today, businesses can find the right fit for their budget and their strategic needs with software products that streamline everything. Software as a service (SaaS) has created an even playing field, allowing companies of all sizes to implement CRM tools and strategies at a much more reduced cost than was required in the past.
When you combine the current philosophy of social CRM and the right software package, you can have a match made in heaven. You have the process in place to help coordinate efforts, but you have the strategies that embrace the conversational nature of CRM that helps develop relationships. It is sort of a yin-yang thing. You want to balance the internal operational efforts with your outside lead development.
With today’s CRM, if you get a complaint on Facebook, you face it head on and contact the customer. You work out a solution. But it doesn’t end there. You make sure the practices and procedures are in place internally so that the issue doesn’t arise again. And, you may even turn the whole situation into a case study, versus yesteryear’s sweeping issues under the proverbial rug.
Look at the little things – talk to your current clients and prospects via your website blog by inviting comments, on your YouTube channel and other social media profiles. Ask and engage. What are their likes and dislikes? What are their suggestions? Thoughtful or stupid, they all may at least have a little merit.
In the end, successful CRM is all about a synchronistic collaboration – between sales, marketing, customer service, social media, and a great software platform. Every company (well, the ones that want to make money and stand the test of time) wants to develop strong, lasting relationships with their customers. And in order to do that, a company needs to understand their customers’ needs and behaviors. How can you cross-sell or upsell if you don’t fully understand your customer’s needs? You can’t.
You need all the pieces in place in order to succeed.