By: David Boender | 11/06/2018
The contents of your CRM is among the most important data your company possesses. It is your inventory of current customers who may be ready to buy again. It is your list of potential leads who could convert at any time. Many companies use it as a convenient record of industry contacts they work with today or would like to work with in the future. Your CRM contains not just contact information, but hopefully, a complete record of your previous interactions with each customer – whether it be notes from a phone call or meeting, past purchase details, and any information that you would want to remember about a customer.
And, no matter how you use your CRM, one thing is certain: no one is in there who hasn't had an entry made for them. Customers win a spot in your CRM by making an account and completing a purchase. Leads make their place by engaging in lead-qualification steps and offering their contact info. However, this system has one fatal flaw. It can leave out important contacts who don't go through the normal channels.
In today's lively digital eCommerce environment, every important contact does not comes through traditional channels. A great lead might read every blog you write but never choose to directly provide you with their email address. A great business contact may come to you through three steps of references instead of 'signing up' in a way that creates a record in your CRM. If you want to make the best possible use of your CRM, it's important to identify these missing entries and make them yourself.
Let's take a look at four different categories of people who should be in your CRM, but might not be.
Your social media presence can be one of the most important aspects of your digital marketing strategy. Here is where hundreds, thousands, or potentially millions of people can find and become a part of your brand organically. They may join contests, jump into discussions, or simply like and share the funny Gifs your team creates. Some people even seek a relationship or customer service through a company's social media page.
While it's true that not every social media follower you collect is an important contact, some absolutely are. Some social media followers become dynamic and attractive pillars of your discussion threads, contribute a string of fun and appealing photos of your product in use, or even offer customer service to other social media followers who ask questions. Your most active social media followers undeniably deserve their own CRM entries, but may not have one yet. Challenge your marketing team to identify the social media shining stars and manually create an entry for them so that they are included in all your best deals, offers, and even job opportunities in the future.
Another 'shadow' category of your brand community are people who receive your products or services as gifts. These are people who may love your products and enthusiastically express their joy in using them, but they’ve never created an account or ordered anything off your website. Many people who are great at giving gifts incidentally create a CRM entry for themselves while becoming secondary purveyors of your goods to friends, family, and business contacts who might never have found your brand on their own.
If you sell cookware through an online store, for example, the people in your CRM may actually be buying gifts for their mothers who never learned to shop online but delight in your high-quality pans and spices as Christmas and Birthday gifts each year. If you sell software, you might have dozens of customers who use your products happily but gained access through a service that recommended, bought, and installed your software for them.
The solution is a surprisingly simple one: Ask. During the checkout process, ask a few quick non-invasive questions about whether the purchase is a gift or business purchase and who the real user will be. Present it as a customer service procedure, ensuring that you can offer a full warranty and verified customer support to the true user of the product as part of the value of the gift. Then happily add the offered names and contact info when it is provided.
The secretaries, assistant managers, and personal assistants of the world are often the true decision makers or gatekeepers to the real decision making power. When looking for a new business client or partner, marketers tend to focus on the big name on the moniker. They create a CRM entry for department heads, team leads, and procurement officers when they would make far more headway by knowing the intermediate people to talk to. The name on the building may sign the final paperwork, but their signature is usually based off of the recommendations of their support staff.
Marketers cannot ignore the importance of the person who answers your calls, asks qualifying questions, and ultimately decides who their boss speaks with and which services are considered. Don't miss an easy opportunity. Create a separate CRM entry for the intermediate decision-makers and get savvy about who to call for which decisions that need to be made. This way, you'll spend less time on hold and far more time talking to the people who can immediately schedule a meeting, put in a good word, or pass your message along to the right people without the corporate run-around. With a well-built CRM, you will have a full record of the right numbers to call and who to talk to in order to make things happen.
Finally, depending on your business, consider that your employees could likely be customers or at least, sources of referrals Employees are in a unique position to know just how valuable your products and services are and could be a great source of referrals because they are well versed in your offerings.
Make sure that your CRM includes basic entries on your customers and never make the mistake of accidentally treating an employee-customer as just another customer. Keep track of when employees buy and use your products. Encourage organic choice by creating a unique automated marketing category for employees who choose to also be customers or sources of referrals.
Does your CRM include every valuable contact, organized so you know exactly how to market or interact with them? Chances are, no. We all have ways our CRM and customer management practices could be improved. By adding these four categories to your CRM, you are one step closer to better managing your contacts and optimizing your marketing strategy. For more CRM best practices and insider tips, contact us today!