Marketing with your Customer Resource Management database or CRM is the next step in growing your sales. On page 42 of the July issue of SDM, in an article called a “Well Oiled Sales Machine,” I talked about the value of your salespeople, what makes them tick, how to develop a CRM and why it’s so important to do. Now that you’ve developed or are developing a CRM, let’s talk about what else you can do with it to increase your sales.
First, I suggest that you code your contacts as you enter them by their buying interests and needs. For instance, if your customer is a retailer, they’re listed as such. Develop a simple list of the types of customers you serve and make sure that your salespeople enter each contact into the correct solutions list, based on their specific customer offering. Note if they’re in healthcare, manufacturing, education, defense, home security, or whatever your key sales groups are. And of course always have an “other” category for those who just don’t fit into your list of categories. But ensure that you list what they do, so everyone can speak to them intelligently when interacting with them. In two seconds, a person can see the last notes entered about this customer, what they do or what they need or wanted. Now you’re acting like a group who pays attention to all your customers. If you need to add categories later as the other list has expended to require this, fine. And yes, companies can be in more than one category.
You’ll want to have an email address, a phone number, their title, and their decision making authority. No matter who is dealing with an account, they need to know the person who has responsibility and authority to make decisions. A CRM is not just a billing tool, it’s a business tool.
Once you’ve developed your list, you’ll want to select a tool to push content out to your prospects and buyers. Don’t bombard people with useless blather just to keep your name in front of them; send them intelligent, useful information that allows them to make more informed decisions. Teach them about new tools that are here or coming that resolve the types of problems they face. Teach them how your other clients solved problems they face. Send information by market segment. Become their trusted partner in securing their world.
If you bombard them with blather, they’ll block, never open, or delete your emails or newsletters. We are all faced with information overload; don’t add to this problem. Use a headline that speaks specifically to the issues you are addressing. This will increase your open rates and keep you off the blocked lists. Readers don’t have to open emails to read them. The best thing to look for is content that’s passed along. That’s a home run. Most email resources provide detailed analytics that allow you to monitor your email’s value, open rates and unsubscribe rates; monitor these.
Do surveys. Learn what’s important and design push-outs around your customer’s issues and concerns. Also push out your content through other social media tools: Twitter, Linked-in, and even Facebook! I myself am not the biggest fan of Facebook but I’ve lots of business folks that reach out to me this way. The more available you are to prospects nowadays the better.
The above is essential if you expect your customers to be your customers and not just your salespeople’s customers. I cannot say this enough and I promise to say this again and again but the first thing you sell any customer, ever, is trust. The widgets and solutions you provide are secondary to the trust you develop. Customers want to feel good about their buying decisions. They’re putting their job security in your hands. They won’t do this unless they trust you’re bringing them the right resources. Nobody buys from people they don’t trust and respect unless they believe they’re pulling the wool over your eyes and taking advantage of you. Make sure to back up your product offering with good service or the grapevine will chatter. The perfect balance of sales and service is revenue in your pocket.