It is so much harder to gain a new customer than to keep an existing customer, so, why are businesses so obsessed with new sales, rather than the success of their current clients? In this article, I will take you through why you need to focus on delighting your current customers, and why this will lead to more sales in the long run than spending all your time on new prospects. When you look at your sales pipeline, you must ensure that the steps that take the lead from becoming aware of your business, through to becoming a prospect and finally a client, doesn't stop there. In fact, instead of thinking of your pipeline as a funnel, think of it as a circle. Your clients still need nurturing after the sale as much as beforehand. To make sure that you know where your contacts are on the journey from lead to customer, you need to keep track of your customer relationships. Unless you are a micro-business that knows each of your clients personally, then you need to consider whether it is the time to get something to help you.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems are like a super-powered black book. They keep information on your leads, prospects and customers, as well as, their current and past relationship with your business. A CRM shouldn't be thought about as a phone directory, but as the system that runs your entire sales and aftercare service. It should help you to understand your customers in depth, allowing you to record answers to custom questions against the client profile. Your CRM should also keep track of all the past contact that you have had between your business and the client.
Not all of your clients will be significant assets to your business, in fact, the Pareto prinicple suggests that you will get 80% of your returns for 20% of your effort, or even from 20% of your clients. The rest of your customer base will help you to diversify and spread the risk of some of your larger clients, but some customers may be costing you money. The customer may always be right, but they may not always be right for your business. Another company may be better to serve their needs than yours. Your CRM should help you to identify the customers that cause you problems but bring in very little revenue or client referrals.
You will have to make many decisions as a business owner and to make great decisions you will need the evidence to back up your choices. Having a system that can provide you with managment information about which products and services are performing well can be vital to putting your resources into the right investment. With information at your fingertips, you can see what has given a high return on investment (ROI) in the past, and double-down in the future.
If you implement a system that expands further than a classic CRM, then you could incorporate performance information of your in-house staff. Having key performance indicators (KPIs) about the productivity of your team can help you to drive out inefficiencies and boost productivity.
Another great way that having a system to manage your clients can help is by automating your contact with them. Automation may be as fundamental as having email templates that you can ensure consistent messaging with your clients, or it may be fully-automated nurturing programs that automatically send emails to your clients or other messages based on specific actions or time intervals.
Once all your client information is in on place, it also becomes searchable, thereby enabling you to have all the information that you need at your fingertips. Instead of trying to find that business card you filed in a desk drawer, you can get to the phone number of that person you met at the recent conference which was interested in the particular service about which you spoke. It is all recorded in your CRM.
If collating all this data about your clients sounds like a lot of work, but you can see the benefits then there is some more good news. Many systems that have CRM features, also can integrate with your existing systems. Integrations may be as simple as connecting your email address book, or even your website, allowing prospects who interact with you via email or a form on your website to drop straight into your CRM, with any future contact also being recorded against their CRM account.
So, how have you run your business for so long without a CRM? You can maintain and enhance your relationships with your valued customers. I also promised that it would get you more sales, well you can get these in two ways. Firstly, sell to your current clients, whether that is renewals if your offer an annual or monthly service, or even an upgrade, your existing clients already trust you, and if you delight them, then they will want to buy more. Secondly, most people are sceptical of new businesses, and the best way to get new clients is through a third party endorsement. Who is better to give you that endorsement, than the clients that you have been continually delighting? Just don't forget to ask. When you have really pleased a client, and have gone above and beyond, don't forget to ask for a review, a testimonial or even if they know anyone else who may be interested in your products or services. Deliver delight daily to your clients, and they will return the favour. SwiftCase helps thriving businesses, swamped by growing demand, automate and organise, to focus on what matters — loved by 1000s of users across Insurance, Finance, Legal, Service & Contractor sectors.