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Why you need to crack CRM

It’s no secret that good business is built on relationships. The better a business can manage its relationships with its clients, its suppliers, its stakeholders and its referrers, the more successful it will be.

Building and maintaining these key relationships can feel daunting for those unfamiliar with it – but this is where a good customer relationship management system, or CRM, can make all the difference.

What is CRM?

Most of us are used to hearing about CRM in the context of increasing profitability and sales. However, it also enables businesses to focus on all types of relationships, not just transactional ones, and ensuring they’re reaching their full potential.

A CRM system can help track and manage the interactions your business has with employees, prospects and stakeholders. It also assists with keeping track of future business opportunities and flagging required follow-ups.

Within the course of any given day, an average Australian company is likely to communicate with hundreds of other businesses and individuals – and no matter how sharp your team is, or how good your memory, keeping track of all these contacts and where they fit within the context of your business presents a serious challenge. With a CRM system, all these interactions can be recorded and stored away for future use.

The Benefits of Customer Relationship Management

So what exactly will a CRM system do for you? Well, for starters:

  • Improved knowledge of stakeholders: Information that can benefit and strengthen your key relationships will live in your CRM system. Not only are names, email address, contact numbers, postal addresses and websites recorded, but also important knowledge including a contact’s position in the company, their relations to other contacts and where they previously worked are noted. Even personal information like birthdays, which sporting teams they support and where someone grew up can be recorded to make sure your key relationships are about more than just business.
  • Improved retention: CRM is a great tool for keeping your stakeholders happy. CRM can prompt you to reach out to connections who have not been contacted in a while – which may lead to new opportunities, and at the very least will ensure that relationship is maintained and the channels remain open.
  • Improved stakeholder segmentation: CRM allows you to sort stakeholders based on specific criteria. For example, if you need to accumulate a list of managing directors located within a particular region, CRM can export these contacts in a matter of seconds – saving you and your team a lot of time, and allowing you to move quickly when an opportunity arises.

How Companies are Failing at Customer Relationship Management

Sounds straightforward, right? For the most part, it is – but while CRM is considered to be a simple tool, there are still a couple of key mistakes businesses are making.

  • Forgetting to take notes: A common mistake is failing to record previous relationship history and stakeholder complaints. For example, with Christmas approaching you wouldn’t want to send a cheery company Christmas card to a stakeholder who complained about your latest project. Maintaining notes in CRM can help to avoid this kind of pitfall. Similarly, when somebody within a business takes a position elsewhere the contact is often deleted in CRM systems. When this occurs, all prior relationship history is gone. It’s important to keep these contacts within your system in case their name or a previous project is mentioned again.
  • Forgetting to update details: Updating details such as email addresses, contact numbers and job titles is more of a high priority task then you might think. When these details are not regularly validated and updated, a number of issues can occur. For example, if your company is holding their annual event and wants somebody in particular to attend but they’ve moved companies, their invite isn’t going to reach them. In the long run, losing touch with a potentially valuable contact – whether a client, referrer or even just part of your broader business network – could mean losing out on future opportunities.

So how do you get it right?

Do your research, find the right system for your business size and needs, and above all make sure you keep your CRM up to date – and if you find you need help, call in some support to ensure you’re getting the value out of one of the most important and undervalued assets your business has.

Courtney Hull is Cannings Purple’s Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) specialist, with responsibility for validating and maintaining CRM databases belonging to a range of key clients. 

 

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