Top 5 Reasons You Need a CRM System
The promotional products business is the perfect example of a relationship-based business. Typically, clients can have a very long lifetime value, so developing rapport over time comes naturally.
When you close on a new client, that can be a client for life. Most of the time, you can count on them allocating money in their budgets for branded merchandise, year after year, and if you fulfill your end of the bargain, they'll stick around for years.
However, in today’s fast paced world, your clients’ needs are in constant change. They are really busy, often juggling multiple projects at the same time. Quite often, they’ll put off ordering promotional products for that upcoming event to the point that rush orders are the only solution. Or they might even decide not to order at all. These are sales that could have happened but didn't.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system can help you be on top of things for your clients, making yourself very useful and making them look like heroes to their bosses, while increasing your sales. A win-win.
But repeat business is not enough. If you’re looking to grow, you need to add new clients on a regular basis, so you must always be prospecting for new business. A CRM will help you stay on top of all the touches needed to convert a lead to a prospect and eventually to a client.
There are many ways a CRM can help you be more effective in your sales process and business growth, these are the top five:
1. Organize Your Database
A CRM system provides a place to keep all the pertinent contact information in one central location. Easy to access and update from anywhere, any device, by anyone on your team.
This means all basic information, notes, emails and even social profiles are kept in one accessible place. It also allows you to segment your contacts according to your own criteria, so you can keep clients, leads, prospects, vendors, etc., in separate groups.
2. Build Relationships
By having your client’s history at your fingertips, you can have more meaningful conversations with them. This kind of personal attention is what helps build long-term relationships.
3. Foster Opportunities for Repeat Business and Upsells
By keeping your clients' information organized and what's important to them—their events and upcoming projects—you can get in touch in a timely manner.
For example, you can set a reminder on your calendar for three months before the anniversary of your client’s order, to ask if they’ll be having that event again. These types of emails often start conversations about upcoming projects.
You could also let your clients know, from time to time, that you also provide other types of products, such as uniforms and awards, that you know they might be using but getting from other vendors.
4. Prospect in a Methodical Way
Leads go through a different process, and it makes sense to keep them separate from your active clients. You’ll want your leads to go through a qualification filter, which can make the initial stages time consuming, so keeping them organized is vital for efficiency.
By creating your own pipeline with sales stages that suit your business and sales process, you can quickly have an overview of your sales prospecting activity. This gives you greater control, and the ability to see the bottlenecks and close more sales.
5. Automate Processes and Communications
There is a huge time savings benefit to using a CRM. Besides the fact that you can find anything quickly, it also allows you to set things up ahead of time so you don’t have to rely on memory.
You can set reminders as in the example before, create tasks automatically when a contact takes a certain action, set automated emails, etc. You can also create email templates, automated welcome or thank-you emails, etc.
For example, you can set 12 personal emails for a particular client segment, with a couple of product ideas that you know are a good fit. Then you schedule the emails to go out once a month. This involves finding 24 products and writing and scheduling 12 simple emails.
You will have to spend a couple of hours on your drip emails, but you’ll be touching your clients 12 times during the year in a personalized way, without having to think about it.
You'll be in front of your clients, providing relevant information, another 12 times in a year, reminding them of your creative ideas.
In today’s technology-driven world, business owners must leverage the tools available to run their business more efficiently and stay ahead of the competition.
Unless you only have a handful of clients and are satisfied with that, keeping it all in your head is not a reliable method to manage your contacts and business opportunities.
If you are serious about growing your business, and you don’t use a CRM system, this is the time to start. There are plenty to choose from in the market, it all depends on your preference and the industry specific software you use.
This article was first published at Action Marketing. For more marketing articles, free webinars and guides specific to the promo business, visit the Resources section of ActionMarketingCo.com.
Gloria Lafont is a mother, grandmother and business owner. Throughout her business career she has started, bought and sold a dozen businesses in the branding and marketing field, including a distributor company. She’s currently president of Action Marketing Co., founded in 2007. Her company focuses on helping distributors increase visibility, generate awareness and drive traffic so they can connect with more of their ideal clients and generate more leads and sales.
Gloria is a big fan and supporter of education and the cultural arts, volunteering her time and donating marketing support over the years to help various organizations grow in membership and revenue. She also enjoys the South Florida lifestyle mix of business, beaches and arts.