CRM Optimization: 5 New Ways To Grow Existing “Customer” Relationships

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I began this series on CRM optimization and the evolving needs of our clients by writing about the shift in focus and expectations regarding CRM systems. When an organization changes their mindset from viewing CRM as a tool to seeing it as a performing asset, they see, as many of our clients have, that their CRM system actually helps them achieve the outcomes set forth in their business objectives. As I’ve mentioned before, this shift will translate to improved customer relationships, optimized and efficient business practices, and the creation of an all-around better experience for all users.

The focus of this post will be to highlight how a business-aligned CRM solution can provide new ways to grow existing “customer” relationships, by improving the customer/client experience, increasing team/organization productivity, and driving more profitable revenue.

So why should I care? Most organizations (both product based and services focused) have their business defined by territories (whether with field teams, internals sales teams, or a combination) within which they have a responsibility to provide products and/or services to companies with whom they have had previous transactions. So while most CRM systems focus on “managing the opportunity” within the sales process, most do not have a focus on “growing the relationship”. How can you grow a relationship when you are unaware of the most recent encounter or the needs of your customers? How do your customers view you? Consider the challenges faced across your organization; “Do more with less”; have information and answers at the ready when our prospects/customers/clients make requests – regardless of who they asked; provide coverage and hit quotas for period revenue; provide account management and relationship services; and above all, provide exemplary customer service. For these reasons, and some we haven’t mentioned, it has become necessary to have a system that can help you proactively advance both the client relationship and your business goals simultaneously.

Contemplate these industry insights:

  • The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-25% depending on the business, but selling more to an existing customer can be as high as 60-70+%.
  • The lifetime value (in revenue, not profit) of a customer who deems you a strategic partner can be up to 10x more than a single product/project/deal customer.
  • Most companies build sales plans and track performance against a territory quota (based on historical data), not on the territory potential – even if they have defined all of the potential prospects within their territories.
  • Most existing CRM systems focus on reactive tracking, for activities and activity planning, by sales teams individually; not proactively assisting the team with system generated suggestions and prompts, automatically added to task lists for easy execution.
  • Organizations implementing digital transformation (CRM solutions) can generate up to 8% more operating income than peers that have not made the change.

All too often our sales team members aren’t spending their valuable time working strategically with your top tier “A” and “B” customers, let alone giving attention to your high value prospects. Instead, they are focused on tactical transactions, concerned with what comes next, and extinguishing fires, ultimately cheating themselves, the organization, and your customers out of time that could have been spent generating quality results.

Here are 5 examples that illustrate how an advanced CRM solution can provide superior returns:

Example #1: Use Analytics to evaluate existing customers and their interactions with the organization.

  • Profile elite customers, then develop programs to cultivate more “elite performers”
  • Use interaction and purchase history to build, distribute, and track sales programs that increase interactions, thus generating additional volume with existing lines, and cross selling new lines/solutions
  • Package” offer upgrades or accessories in an effort to increase customer satisfaction, while driving additional revenue at the time of the order
  • Identify “target” prospects, or territory locations, advancing a broader product/solution engagement within existing base

Example #2: Using the system for customer proactive “prompts” to improve the relationship

  • Provide prompts for activities to be taken by sales teams (internal and external) if a customer has not been contacted recently, changes order patterns, changes business (adds locations, product lines/services, has staff changes)
  • Use marketing integration to provide “unique” landing pages and follow-up that can walk a customer through preliminary sales steps while maintaining a personal touch
  • Provide Visibility to leadership on changes in customer activities – even prompting for leadership activities, should certain events occur (thank you for a large order, growth, business change, etc.)

Example #3: Generate tailored communications that provide specific value to the recipient

  • Provide customized messages based on role, customer type, season, products/solutions targeted
  • Share and track customer service, warranty, and other non-sales communication faster and easier using the same system – with full visibility for all team members
  • Single platform team communication based on your customers desired communication preferences (phone, letter, e-mail, text, social)

Example #4: Provide visibility to all team members, and best practice effective use

  • Share information affecting the relationship in real time, allowing all Internal departments access to the customer interactions so that they may respond appropriately
  • Consolidate activities for better customer interaction, and gain valuable insights for creating larger, or cross sell, opportunities among sales teams who support enterprise-geographically variant accounts, or for organizations that have distinct sales teams for the various product/services lines providing service to a single organization
  • Reduce internal administrative time spent searching for information, or asking for a customer status update, and returning the focus to proactive activities, while facilitating rapid, accurate inquiry responses

Example #5: Gather/track information on customers and their competitors to provide insights to better serve these customers and help them remain competitive

  • Track information on key customers, build talking points for upcoming interactions by using integrated business intelligence and reporting tools
  • Build a key customer “customer and competitors” list, designed to track their activities and identify common points of interest/access that may benefit your customer contacts
  • Track industry trends that can be reflected in messaging and interactions to highlight benefits of the relationship to the customer that can provide additional value or opportunities, depending on the trends

It has become critical to use your systems to their full potential. Many of your competitors have systems that were implemented three, four or more years ago, and have not been updated or maintained. By providing the tools and processes your team needs, they are able to communicate with and support your prospects/customers/clients, giving you the competitive advantage necessary for success in today’s fast paced, ever changing environment.

In my next post, I’ll focus on how our customers are making this shift and using their CRM systems to increase the value of the inside sales team.

If you would like to discuss how your team could benefit from realigning your CRM system with your business goals, please contact me here and I’ll be happy to coordinate time to talk with you and your team.

Moving your business forward faster.

Read the other blog posts related to the Affiliated series on CRM Optimization:

How Client Expectations are Changing for their CRM Solution 

The Benefits of Optimizing CRM Visibility within your Organization

How to Optimize CRM Team Work & Collaboration

CRM Optimization:  How to Improve Marketing & Communication Integration

Why Affiliated for Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM Implimentation and Integration

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