Why Lack Of CRM Can Kill Your Sales (And Your Business)
I write about how to grow businesses all the time. In fact, as a marketing consultant, I have the best job in the world. I get to climb inside people’s heads and understand their business models, their prospects, and their customers. I look at their operations, break apart what they’re doing, and then put it all back together in way that’s designed to result in customer acquisition, growth, and profitability. It’s unavoidable, then, that in my personal business experiences, I see things happen all the time that make me crazy and that I’d like to be able to fix. The most prevalent: how many businesses lose sales because they don’t use a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Here’s a real-life example, from my real life, that I will 100% guarantee will make you agree with me on this front.
A real-life example: the upholstery-cleaning company
I am a customer of what has been called the very best upholstery-cleaning company in the city in which I live. When decorators and people in the trades say something like that, I pay attention. So when I needed my upholstery cleaned, of course I called the best and scheduled a cleaning. This company did a fabulous job and I’ve since recommended them to friends.
Do you have children? I do. Do you have a dog? I do. Does your upholstery get dirty? Mine sure as heck does!
So the thing about making a sale to a customer like me is that if you’re paying even the slightest bit of attention, you’re going to figure I’m going to need your services again. And again, and again. Oh, add to that the fact that all my furniture is white, and triple the frequency, Kenneth.
Lost opportunity #1: no tracking
The Golden Rule of Business is simple: An existing customer is exponentially more valuable and more profitable for just about any business than a new customer. Having a CRM system allows you to put customers into a database and track important information that relates to the products or services you sell them—and want to keep selling them.
In my case, the cleaning company could have easily tracked what pieces of furniture were in need of cleaning, along with simple (yet vital) customer information—like about those kids and pets, and all the white. This is your key to business continuity and building strong relationships with existing customers instead of always chasing new business. Without a CRM system, it’s pretty much impossible to do that, either keeping information in an Excel spreadsheet, in someone’s head, or not at all.
Lost opportunity #2: No follow-up, repeat sale
A CRM system allows you to track the service you provided to a customer and to follow up with them at regular intervals to see if they want more service. In the case of an upholstery cleaning company, it’s not likely that your furniture won’t get dirty on the regular. Having no follow up process in place to encourage repeat business is, well, let’s just say considerably hampering your opportunities for growth.
Lost opportunity #3: no inbound follow-up process
As you might suspect, my white furniture needs cleaning again. In fact, it has needed to be cleaned now for probably the last twelve weeks. One day in early October, I remembered while at the office that my upholstery was overdue for cleaning. So that I wouldn’t forget (again), I popped over to the upholstery company’s website. As an aside, I loathe making phone calls. If I can do, or buy, or schedule, something online, I’m all over that, all day long.
I couldn’t schedule an appointment online (lost opportunity), but I did submit a contact form advising that I was an existing customer and needed to schedule an appointment, and asked someone to contact me.
Two days later (not that day, or the next day, two days later), someone called me to follow up. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a meeting and, while I quickly answered the call, I explained that I was busy and asked whether I could call back to schedule an appointment. The answer was affirmative.
But here’s the thing: I’m busy. We’re ALL busy. Do you think I remembered to call them back? Of course not!
And once again, here’s where a CRM could have played a big role. The process should look like this:
Day 1: Customer submits contact form, lead is passed to salesperson.
Same day: Or within 24 hours at a minimum, salesperson contacts customer, appointment scheduled. Sale booked.
Follow-up contact: When I foiled the upholstery company’s salesperson by not being able to book when she called me, she should have been able to immediately make a notation in a CRM and schedule a reminder in case I didn’t follow through with my promise to call back. Surely this happens all the time, so it’s not an isolated incident.
That was in early October. You know when I finally remembered to call and schedule an appointment to have my furniture cleaned? January 21. Think about that for a minute: My furniture needed to be cleaned in October. Because the vendor put the onus on me, the customer, to remember I wanted their service, I didn’t get around to finally scheduling an appointment until almost 110 days later. That’s almost one-third of a year.
You know what’s crazy? The upholstery company could have booked me for a cleaning when I first needed it, in October, and then sold me all over again, in January. And you know what could have helped them do that? A CRM system.
Where we go from here: CRM
There you have it. A real-life story from the trenches. Please don’t forget that your customers are busy people leading busy lives. When you put the onus on them to remember you exist, you are overlooking a fundamental business opportunity: that it is your mission to serve them (or at least it should be). Your mission is to make their lives easier with the products or services you sell. When you let them drive the relationship because you don’t use technology that can help connect you more closely to them, you are missing opportunities to serve them. And that impacts your ability to grow your business and revenue. It really is that simple.
Simple and inexpensive tools, like a CRM system, and tactics, like regularly touching your customers by way of email marketing, allow deeper connections to both your existing customers as well as your prospective customers. Not having a CRM system? Well, it’s not only hurting your sales, it’s hampering everything about making your business as profitable as it can possibly be.
CRM can be a game-changer
And if you’re interested in other tips on how to grow your business in the coming year, I teamed up with the folks at SAP for a webinar. We covered the benefits of CRM systems, the role that email marketing can play in business growth, how marketing automation is a game-changer, and many other topics that might be helpful to you and your business. If you’re not yet doing some of these things, you’re not alone. 60% of the respondents we polled during the live webinar indicated they hadn’t yet embraced the use of a CRM (or marketing automation), but that it was on their list for 2017. If it’s on your list for this year, make time to watch the webinar on demand. I think you’ll be glad you did.
If you’d like to access the webinar on demand, you can do that here—All Cylinders Go: How to Supercharge Your Marketing to Drive Growth and Profitability.
This article has been brought to you in part by SAP Digital CRM, but the thoughts here are my own. I could not be more serious when I say that every business needs a CRM system! SAP Digital CRM is not only affordable; it can be an integral part of your business operations. And it can absolutely help supercharge your marketing and help you sell more. Visit the SAP Store and register for the free 30-day trial and give it a test run.