– How do you monitor and nurture CRM?
– What are the key tools you can be using?

Customer relationship management provides an overview of your client’s data and involves a variety of technologies and platforms to bring your sales and marketing teams closer to achieve your customer service goals and gain the best possible ROI in the long run. It is important to create a structure for CRM that is both consistent and effective.

Efficient Data
I start here for a specific reason as it is important to know who you have in your database, in order to structure a way to manage and improve relations with them! Ask yourself, how much of your data is outdated or irrelevant? It could be a mixture made up of years of collecting this data by yourselves or you have acquired data from a company that provides data. Either way, you need to know that every campaign you create has the best possible chance of reaching the correct and relevant audience.

Data Cleansing is something that we here at Penguins have worked very hard on in the past year or so. This has involved sending e-shots to our entire database providing them the opportunity to update their contact details and also what interests them the most regarding events. This is critical to ensuring that in the future we are sending out relevant content that the recipient can relate to and more importantly engage with.

From this we have found many unsubscribes and many contacts replying with “This person no longer works here” or “This Company no longer exists”. The replies are vast and varied, but what does this tell us? Well for me it says I should both scrap these contacts and free up space in my database or I need to find out exactly what is going on with the Company in question – and it is the latter that should be focused on more than anything! Who has taken over? Are they in search for our services? Can we provide a solution to them? – Get the contact details updated, organise a meeting or conversation over the phone – begin the relationship as you did once before – introduce yourself!

Social Media
Social Media has blown up in the past few years and we have more emphasis on it than ever before. SM is key to ensuring your brand is pushed out as far as possible and vitally ensures that it links the reader to your company website. It is another form of keeping existing and potential clients’ in the loop’ with what you are doing on a company level. Subtle reminders that you are still there to do business with!

Repeat business is fundamental in this current era of financial and economic difficulty, as finding new business can sometimes be difficult. The reasons vary but the ones that stick out are financial barriers and companies having preferred suppliers or long lasting relationships with them. I will come back to this particular point in a moment once I have gone over the aftercare aspect!
Gaining trust over a period of time does not guarantee business, but it certainly does increase your chances of doing so. What is important is the aftercare of your clients, and this starts with ‘feedback’ which is an integral part of ‘closing the file’ on a project or account, this ensures you are aiming to give the best service possible, it also shows you care what your clients think about you and you want to improve to benefit them in the future. Leaving a good impression will stick in the minds of the clients that you have done business with.

It is what you do after this feedback and beyond that really counts towards managing your customer relationships…

Email Marketing
Email Marketing is a large part of your customer relationship management as it is the most effective way to keep your clients up to date with your company’s activities and provides an opportunity to consistently remind them that you are there! You must remember though that it is quality not quantity, the last thing you want is to have a large amount of unsubscribes and increase in bounces because their domains block your emails coming through, not to mention a bad reputation! Think WOM!

The relevancy and quality of each email is highly important to ensure high ‘open’ levels in your reports. The language needs to be right and to do this the first thing you need to do is categorise your existing data into different sections. So for example, collate all your contacts who are senior management and separate them from the pack. Essentially what you can begin to do is create one piece of content but provide variations of that content. In our case, senior management are more interested in the ROI and how an event will engage their target audience, how will it be most effective, compared to event organisers who will be more interested in both the logistics and creativity elements, i.e. the doers. These are two separate levels of communication.

There are also various ways you can communicate and remind your clients of what you can do for them. The simplest form of email communication would be a newsletter – providing useful and interesting content on a regular basis – ensuring you attack the purchasing process throughout the year.

How often should I send out newsletters?

We began by sending our newsletters out on a monthly; however there were two observations that made us change this strategy very quickly. One was the increase in unsubscribes and the reasons for them. E.g. “Too frequent” – the other observation came from using Google Analytics which showed us when recipients were clicking on to the web page via the links on the website. (This is monitored by using URL builders – Links about this can be found at the end of this article). We could see that even in January a significant amount of people were still opening the November newsletter! This made us switch to a quarterly newsletter format designed to go out just as the purchasing behaviours were increasing which were based on analysis of when clients enquired about events and when they booked them for, making sure we hit them early with our presence.

On top of our newsletters we occasionally send out promotional e-shots for various campaigns and reasons, but this has been strategically organised based on a communications map for the year and categorising our data to ensure the right information goes out to the right people.

The power of conversation
Picking up the phone to give your clients a call once in a while should never be seen as a chore. Within your CRM plan you should have an integrated timeline of when to call your clients throughout the year to offer your services and remind them that you are there as well having a catch up. This can lead on to potential face to face meetings if appropriate but initially the spark of a conversation can go a long way. If you have a good relationship with your clients anyway, then this will only strengthen it. Imagine leaving a smile on all their faces and the feeling that “it was really good to speak with her; I haven’t spoken to her in ages”. What if next week they were asked to organise an event? – who are they going to remember speaking to the week before! You should have a notes system or timeline implemented where you structure throughout the year when you communicate with your database. Whether it is quarterly, or in six month intervals, you need to have a system in place and you need to manage it.