Thanks to the web, we have an acronym for every moment in our personal relationships, from TTYL (talk to you later) to BFF (best friends forever). Naturally, digital marketing professionals have an acronym to describe business relationships: CRM, or customer relationship management. Sounds so sterile, doesn’t it? You don’t “manage” your friendships. I’d prefer to call it CRE: Customer Relationship Engagement.
Do you need to define your CRM cycle? Take this easy quiz:
1) Do you have customers?
Yes: You need a CRM plan.
No: You need a business plan. Or maybe a loan.
If 100 percent of your communications focus on getting the sale, you’re the business equivalent of a pick-up artist. That’s a short-sighted plan which ignores the lifetime value of a customer in favor of the quick hit of a weekend sale.
Communication shouldn’t end at the sale. Customer relationship engagement means keeping your clients engaged, even if they’ve recently purchased or performed whatever action constitutes a conversion for your business. It’s about cultivating a meaningful, personal relationship with your customers.
Your post-sale or post-conversion message doesn’t need to be an upsell, like an add-on or extending a warranty. You can offer insights on how they can get the most out of your product or service. Provide suggestions for maximizing the life of your product. The key is identifying the ideal touchpoints in your customer lifecycle, then crafting a communication schedule to coincide with them to keep you present in the customer’s mind.
Unfortunately, people often think they “can’t do CRM” because they confuse the process of CRM with buying a pricey CRM software. The most sophisticated $50,000 a year CRM software won’t help you engage customers if you don’t have a thoughtful plan for inspiring and retaining their loyalty.
If you do have a well-considered plan to keep in touch with customers, sent at the right frequency, with messaging which speaks to their needs, you can manage it even with the most basic tools. You just need information you or your sales team probably already has:
Who are your customers?
What’s important to them?
When are logical opportunities to connect with them?
The bottom line? Relationships are important to your business. Unless your strategy is to compete on price, you want customers to choose you because they like you. So put some time and effort into those relationships. If you do, your customers will be your brand’s BFFs.