The venture of an entrepreneur is built upon the longevity of nurturing and maintaining client relationships which is the lifeline of your business. This alone is challenging to build, maintain and keep a happy and satisfied customer.
The dependence on others to buy or want your product or service provides an enormous amount of pressure for the entrepreneur. It pushes you to consistently build your client base without sacrificing the quality of your product or service.
At any given moment, a client may just walk away. It may not necessarily mean that your company delivered unsatisfactory products or had poor business practices, but simply because they may not need the product or service any longer.
The hunt for new leads can be a daunting process. How does a small business generate the correct practices, strategies and technologies to manage and build their brand?
Customer relationship management utilizes a combination of tools to help manage and analyze a customer’s interaction. It also measures a variety of existing data throughout a customer’s lifecycle.
The main priority is to develop solid business relationships, resolve customer issues and drive revenue and sales. Here are a few ways on how to achieve those objectives.
Seven Tips for Improving Customer Relationship Management (CRM):
- Find Clients in Unexpected Ways
You must constantly look for unconventional ways to meet others in your daily routine. Always remember that each person that you meet has the potential of becoming a prospective client. Having a creative lead generation practice is vital to the health of your business. There are many hidden markets and venues that will open new opportunities for networking and exposing your business. Always scout out opportunities that provides open communication and an exchange of contact information. Never be pushy or anxious. Let conversation flow naturally. Public records, external databases and sales and marketing tools are helpful ways to find potential leads.
- Search for the Best CRM Software for Your Specific Needs
Selecting the right CRM software specifically to fit the needs for your business will definitely improve lead generation. The software extracts and compiles data such as company websites, phone numbers, live chats, direct mail, marketing materials and social media profile feeds.
There is a several types of CRM software available. The most popular ones for larger corporations are: Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP and Oracle.
However, you can use a third party company that specializes in CRM like Dunn & Bradstreet, Hoover or Convergys. If you prefer, there are many online websites that offer the same services.
Here are some helpful sites to learn more:
If you want to evaluate a variety of CRM services, you can find comparative ratings here: www.comparesoftwareadvice.com
- Data Analytics is Critical to Sourcing Your Clients
Collecting and compiling a cross-reference of customer information is vital to enhancing sales prospects. You should validate information such as personal information, purchase histories, buying preferences, customer’s complaints, issues and concerns.
A variety of automation tools is essential: Here is the breakdown:
Marketing Automation is used to target new customers by email or social media with marketing campaigns, surveys, customer feedback, questionnaires and other marketing tools
Salesforce Automation tracks all contacts between the sales team which prevents receiving duplicate information.
Contact Center Automation handles customer’s request or issues by using recorded audio to simplify the customer service processes.
Geo-location Technology searches a specific location and generates geographical marketing campaigns and targets customers in a particular region.
Cloud-based CRM also known as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is where information and data is stored externally with remote accessibility. With the assistance of a third party company, they will monitor all data, installation and maintenance issues. Larger corporations are concerned about digital security. Unfortunately, company’s computer files are being breached, so there is usually a high concern for any potential cyber hacks.
Social Media CRM educates businesses on the customer’s interest, online activities and concerns. There is much to gain from social engagement and interacting with customers on a social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and in some cases Pinterest. Using various platforms, provides you with an overview of your customer’s satisfaction, feedback, recommendations and product or service mentions that will help you craft your marketing campaigns and key strategies.
- Marketing Strategies are the Next Step
Marketing techniques are equally important to securing a client base. No one enjoys being bombarded with a hard sell. Suggestive selling is a subtle method which has an advantage to sell more. A soft pitch of your product or service provides a well-awarding experience for both the consumer and the business owner.
Cold calling is a traditional marketing method of contact, but it’s still a relevant in today’s business practices to find and secure appropriate leads. However with the growth of technology, email copywriting or social media marketing is the new norm to reach a potential client or customer.
Having a strategic sales funnel is mandatory in generating successful lead campaigns. Emphasis the benefits of why your product or service should be valued over your competition.
Using a combination of these methods is a win, win. Don’t forget to use your creativity and imagination in your overall selling strategy. Also, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. Pitch your product or service with a customer’s problems in mind.
- Pay Attention to Who Represents Your Company
Starting and maintaining a business can be very stressful because you are solely relying on yourself or a small team to make things happen. Maintaining a positive attitude despite challenges and discouragement is critical to your business. Be aware of your tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. Make sure your voice reflects a smile through phone conversations and as you delegate responsibilities to your staff.
You do not want to project a lack of enthusiasm, sense of frustration, fear, doubt or complacency. You also do not want to appear desperate for a sale. It may be a turnoff to a potential customer. Negative energy or a bad attitude is never attractive.
Believe in your brand and in yourself emphasizing integrity, authenticity, confidence and a high level of trust. Make sure your staff reflects the professional image you want to portray to your partners, vendors, customers and team players.
- Get Social With Your Customers
Value each business relationship and learn the expectations and needs of your client. Get to know them genuinely. Interact with them, Listen to their questions or suggestions. Building lasting business relationships will provide satisfaction for both parties involved.
In some cases, customers can be hard to deal with or please. Even though the customer is not always right, you must be flexible with responding to their suggestions, opinions and yes, their complaints.
Not all clients will fit your professional work style, so be selective with the projects you choose. But, also understand how to accommodate a difficult client because they are the foundation and the purpose for your business. Take the encounter as a learning experience which will help you grow and establish your company. Constructive criticism can work in your favor.
- Identify Issues, Complaints and Concerns
Production and delivery is equally important. Never despise small beginnings. Build slowly and consistently. It’s much better to have a small quantity of inventory with a slow, steady workflow vs. high volumes of inventory with stagnant sales.
Pay attention to your work orders. You should have enough staff onboard to fulfill orders and meet deadlines. You definitely do not want to have a small staff with a high volume of sales where orders cannot be fulfilled by expected shipping dates. Also, vendors should also be on hand to provide supplies when needed.
Understand that the overall presentation including product packaging and the delivery process communicates the global image of your brand. Sloppy customer service processes leaves a lasting impression and is a direct representation of your company. Strategic planning, organization and execution takes precedence.
With these few tips, it will be valuable in developing your overall objectives as you step into a new sphere of customer relationship management practices.
“A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. He is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so serve him.” Ghandi