Take a moment and look at the Contacts app on your phone. How many names, phone numbers, and email addresses do you store in there? Do you think you could remember all of that information without the app?
The Contacts app on your phone is an example of a customer relationship management system. It stores contact information for you and organizes it in such a way that you’re able to easily find the contact profile you need, when you need it.
What does this have to do with your business? Well, if you can’t remember all of the contacts you have stored in your phone, how are you supposed to remember information for each one of your clients? CRMs are the lifeblood of any client-facing business.
The perfect solution(s)
There are hundreds of CRM systems available to business owners. They serve different industries, goals, and business sizes. Some are built specifically for a business, and others fit a broader range of clients. Some store basic client information, and some are powerful enough to stand in for marketing staffers. The point is, there is a CRM system out there that’s going to work for you and your business goals.
The ideal CRM is one that helps with business processes without becoming overwhelmingly complicated or time-consuming to manage. In particular, there are three CRM marketing superpowers that are most helpful for the small business owner.
The three superpowers of a marketing CRM
At the most basic level, think of a CRM like your Contacts app on steroids. It not only stores basic client information, but tracks their activity related to your business. At a quick glance, you’ll know things like which emails a client received, which they opened, and what they clicked on.
But the power of a CRM is much greater than just contact organization and engagement tracking. Used to their full extent, CRMs help you automate your marketing processes and make smarter marketing decisions.
1. Contact tracking
Once you have an email address associated with an IP address – obtained usually though having your website visitor fill out a form – A CRM system tracks everything that the IP address (i.e. your client or prospect) does online to interact with your brand. You can track website activity, email engagement, and even phone calls. If the client interaction took place offline, it’s easy to manually enter it into their profile.
This level of detail in client information is extremely important for your business. A sales specialist might use a prospect’s website activity to determine which features of the product or service they’re most interested in. An account manager might review the client’s history if there is some kind of problem with the account.
A CRM system takes out the “wait, didn’t you say…” moments of client interaction. Every interaction and every conversation will be documented for you to refer back to, saving you a lot of time and headaches.
It’s great to be able to check client activity at the individual level, but how the heck does that help you with your larger marketing efforts? Enter segmentation.
Let’s consider Pike13. Our software is used by business owners across a lot of different industries, including some that are quite different from each other, like music schools and dog training academies. Owners across those industries aren’t always interested in the same content, so we do our best to make sure each person receives only content that is relevant to them. Without our CRM’s power of segmentation, we wouldn’t be able to do that without a lot of manual sorting work in our contact database.
Across industries isn’t the only way to segment your clients. Maybe you’re promoting an event that’s only relevant to a certain geographical area. Maybe you have an announcement that’s only for new clients within the past 6 months. There are a lot of ways to sort your contact lists based on your marketing needs.
The power to segment your clients using a CRM not only saves you time otherwise spent manually sorting, it makes you a more effective marketer. With narrowly targeted communications, you’ll really be able to focus on the content and make it relevant to your audience. More relevance means more engagement, and more engagement means more success for you.
This is the holy grail of CRM. Marketing automation is a hands-off way of interacting with and nurturing leads into clients. If you’re doing this manually now, you’ve probably already figured out that it’s not easy and requires an enormous amount of effort. Automation is your new best friend.
Because of contact tracking, you know when a prospect visits your website or opens an email. You can use this information to set up your automation workflows. Maybe you want a prospect to receive a welcome email the first time they visit your site. Or maybe you want to send a discount code to someone who has browsed your services page. If you set up the right workflows in your CRM, it can do this for you.
Automation works with email, too. A workflow can be triggered by a client opening an email (or not), sending different content based upon the client’s actions. If you take the time to thoughtfully build your workflows, you can have a high level of engagement with prospects and clients without lifting a finger.
Peace of mind
CRM takes your business to the next level by enabling more sophisticated marketing. But the most important thing a CRM system gives you is peace of mind. Information is available whenever you and your staff need it. You can focus on running your business knowing that your customers are being nurtured with the right content at the right time. And you can devote the time you save in your marketing efforts to making your business shine.
About the Author
Katie Zacharkiw is Content Marketing Manager at Pike13.More Content by Katie Zacharkiw