CRM Solutions Should Account for 4 Overlooked Consumer Demand Factors

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Keeping track of customer demand in CRM solutions may seem like a simple proposition. All a business has to do is monitor sales over a certain a period of time to see when consumers respond to specific new products, marketing campaigns or yearly events. A centralized business software solution allows all sales teams, marketers and customer service representatives to record relevant information, so decision-makers can observe how popular specific merchandise is within a given context.

Some companies may have a limited view of which data is relevant, however. A CRM solution is only as effective as the details users capture, manage and analyze in the system. While time periods and advertising are important factors to understanding customer behavior, your company has to account for these four external influences that play a big part in demand:

1. Economy
The most obvious external influence on consumer demand is the current economy. No matter how clever marketing is, or how much audiences voice excitement over products, nobody will buy merchandise if they can't afford it. shared a variety of financial factors businesses must consider in order to see if their products will sell.

An organization needs to know if their product is a luxury good that would be critically affected by a downturn in the general economy or if it's a basic need that can survive. Outside economic data should work in conjunction with customer records to indicate pricing and how to advertise goods.

Companies must have solutions in place to monitor the market for its products and similar merchandise. For example, when oil prices rise the demand for solar panels or other clean energy systems may grow substantially.

2. Sales tax
U.S. consumers don't just set money aside for a business's goods; they have to take sales tax into consideration when planning their shopping expenditures. Demand Media suggested regions or periods with high sales tax may have an indirect effect on consumer interest and cause businesses to lower prices to respond.

Not to mention, certain products and states have sales tax holidays. Companies that make school supplies or Halloween candy may see great demand at the beginning of fall because customers want to take advantage of government breaks.

Companies should talk with their CRM consultant about tools to automatically adjust financial data to regional tax laws or other shifts in government compliance. A system that instantly updates demand based on sales tax can provide a visual representation of the effect it has on consumer behavior.

3. Social media
A great marketing campaign may cause customer interest to spike. The content produced by the company, however, isn't the only way consumers hear news about a brand. A study conducted by Tsinghua University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found company Twitter messages increase consumer demand for TV shows by 77 percent, and so do retweets by social media users - 33 percent.

Popular opinion has been known to make or break small businesses, and social media provides a platform for public sharing of consumer experiences and questions about products. Companies need business software like Microsoft Dynamics CRM that can monitor and collect data from social media channels. With the right CRM features, an organization may find a new consumer group interested in certain products or services, or it can measure responses to marketing campaigns.

4. Weather
Small businesses can see substantial changes to demand caused by any number of events particular to a certain industry, region or community, but everybody has to deal with the weather. Rain and snow are excellent examples of outside events that can seriously alter projections or suddenly increase demand.

The effect of the weather on customer demand goes beyond the obvious. It's not just athletic gear manufacturers and snow blowing services that have to look out for an increased number of sunny days. Almost every supply chain needs clear roads to make deliveries and water shortages hurt most economies. There are also less obvious influencers. The ComQi technology company reported Wal-Mart used in-store sensors to discover that sunny, clear forecasts led to increased demand for salad ingredients.

The smarter a company's data collection procedures, the more likely it will find unexpected influences on customer behavior. Modern CRM solutions provide mobile and cloud-deployed features that allow store workers and intelligent machines to add their findings to sales team, marketer and care agent reports. With a complete picture of internal and external factors, a company may discover what its customers really want and when.

by The TM Group


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