Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are not just for big companies with large sales forces or customer service departments. A CRM system can be a great tool for helping retain your existing customers as well as acquiring new ones. Here are 6 ways professional service firms can use a CRM system to improve strengthen their professional relationships:
- Track Your Ideal Customer Profile – there is often a gap between belief and reality when it comes to the profile characteristics of our ideal customers. Using a CRM system to capture demographic, psychographic, and behavioral (what they refer, do they refer, etc.) can help gain a better understanding of our ideal customers and prospects. Reviewing this data can alert us to changes in our business that need to be addressed.
- Provide a personal touch – Sometimes the little things can make all the difference. Use your CRM system to “remember” things like food and beverage preferences, important dates, preferred method of communication (phone, email, etc.), favorite activities and causes, etc.
- Automate a process – Marketing is all about setting expectations and it is important to make sure those expectations are met when a prospect or customer interacts with your business. One way to make expectations are met is to have processes that are consistently followed by everyone in your company. Most CRM systems allow you create action item sequences that can be assigned to the relevant person at the appropriate time. Take advantage of this feature to create a consistent, high quality experience for everyone who interacts with your business.
- Be a better referral source – Having a searchable database that allows to quickly identify members of your network by expertise and other traits will help you be a more valuable resource to your customers and your referral network.
- Stay in touch with referral partners – Speaking of referrals, one of the keys to nurturing a strong referral partner network is to keep in touch with them on a regular basis. Combine the items listed above to stay in touch and build a vibrant referral network.
- Make your email campaigns more relevant – Email marketing is alive and well. These days, however, sending out a monthly, generic blast may not be very effective. Use the information you capture in your CRM system to create segments that allow you to send more targeted and relevant messages.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant