Using CRM to Invest in Customers

CRM turns existing customers into revenue

With 50% of Fortune 1000 companies not seeing a return on their CRM investments, it’s time to take a closer look and perhaps reinvent tools that help capture the right data and insight to grow business.

When talking about CRM for Midsize business, the folks at IBM created an Infographic (click here to view full size) specifically focused around customer growth and retention. Being a visual learner, I like to see some of the facts they mention in a creative form because it drives some real key points home.

There are three issues when it comes to you, your customers, your partners, and the information you work to keep about them. This data now can give customers a better customer experience and it can give you insight on things your customers like and don’t like. But the issues remain:

  • Integration issues – connecting all the data in-house for sales, marketing, product teams, strategy, and finance
  • Lack of Use issues – you have data, but you do nothing with it (or very little).
  • Social Integration issues – without a plan on how your social strategies ties into marketing which ties into sales, you won’t have much consistent success.

For years sales reps have been in the field gaining insights that are not put into CRM systems enough. In some cases it is just a common lack of time, in other cases it is a defiant move for the sales rep to keep as much information in his or her own head.

These days systems are easier for field reps, with tablets and smartphones enabled for basic data to be put in as they are going from meeting to meeting. By not having to create a trip report at the end of a week, the data is fresh and more accurate.

The statistic that got my attention the most was this one:

57% of best-in-class organizations are able to view customer data at an individual level – maximizing the time spent marketing, selling, and servicing.

I want to know what the OTHER 43% of best-in-class companies are doing? They are still sending you general emails and offering you the same experience on their website whether you've been to it once or five times.

Haven’t you signed up for a business event and for months you kept getting those general emails from them about signing up for it? In one case I am a sponsor of an event, and I am getting emails weekly telling me why I really should participate. It is beyond irritating.

This is NOT a good customer experience. Since I can’t write a letter to every single company that does this to me, I’m blogging about it. We need to give our customers a more personal experience. When a customer gets tired of being treated like a number – as I often feel with a handful of our vendors and partners – they can just walk away, taking your revenues with them.

What else can you do with data to keep customers and grow business with them?

What data do you need to exceed their expectations?

Is leadership committed to this where you work?

What are your next steps?

IBMThis post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2013" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management for 2013". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.

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Topics: B2B

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