CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, and relates to a process rather than a piece of software. The vast majority of companies do use software to manage the CRM process.
The basics of customer relationship management centre around your customers, the people you deal with within those customers, how to interact with them and what interactions you have had with them, e.g. telephone calls, orders placed, emails and so on.
CRM and Pipeline Management
Pipeline Management is the next level up from basic CRM. Pipeline Management revolves around knowing where your work is coming from, both in the past and in the future. Your pipeline should tell you what leads you have with your customers (or potential customers). Also, which deals you are currently negotiating, and what orders have been placed.
Getting organised around CRM and pipeline management should allow you to see which customers you do the most business with, which ones you don’t, and what kind of contact frequency you have with them. It may be that you spend most of your time talking to customer A when actually it is customer B who spends the most money with you, your CRM should tell you this.
CRM software tools
Most CRM software tools should cover the above, some will extend into helping you manage your invoices and quotations as well and some may provide integration with third party tools such as MailChimp (for mass emailing) and Sage (for accounting).
The ultimate goal in customer relationship management is to really understand what makes your customers tick and to align your sales approach to the needs and desires of the people you deal with. This level of CRM is called Strategic Contact Management.
Strategic contact management
Strategic Contact Management is like having the CRM black-belt. For each of your customers you will need to identify the key stakeholders. These are people who have an interest in either placing an order with you or preventing it from happening.
Whether they are positive or negative towards you it is useful to know why.
Positive feelings can arise from knowing that if they purchase your product or service they will look good with their boss. This will help them get a reward such as that pay rise. Negative feelings can arise from knowing that they have already promised someone else the work. Talking to you is therefore causing them problems.
Close that deal!
Understanding the reasons behind a customer’s behaviour towards you helps you adapt your sales approach. You can then develop a strategy for closing the sale. Building that relationship is key so that you can maximise your chance of an open conversation and close that deal.
For more information on this subject email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below, and we’ll try our best to guide you in the right direction.