Businesses fail for many reasons, but a common thread in all these stories of business failure is that they all focused on the wrong things.
They may even focus on the wrong thing before they open their doors for business. They focus on how to organize the business, yet fail to pay attention to how to build a strong customer base.
When organizing a company, business owners often list the following 6 functions as their main priorities by order of importance:
What’s missing from this list?
Here’s a clue from the father of management science, Peter Drucker: “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
What’s missing is “marketing and innovation,” which should be at the top.
Why does this matter so much? It’s because without them, you have no customer, and without customers, you have no business.
How to Keep Track of Customers
How do you keep track of your customers?
In the old days, you kept a black book of contact information or a filing cabinet. Today, automation has replaced clumsy manual processes and the most efficient way to keep track of customers is through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
This software performs many useful functions like helping the sales department become more effective and improving customer retention.
SelectHub, who publishes a CRM Software Selection Quick Start Guide, says that the marketing analysis group Gartner, projects the market at $23.9 billion. Before buying this software for your company, they recommend you research, source, validate, and perform due diligence on what’s available in the marketplace.
4 Good Reasons to Use CRM Software
CRM software will help you cultivate profitable relationships, access customer information, fill the sales pipeline with profitable leads, and analyze your customer relationships.
Let’s look at each of these benefits a little closer.
- Cultivate profitable relationships.
Profitable relationships come by making your customer interactions more effective. You do this, of course, by making your customer’s happy.
What do customers want from a business?
They want more than a product that satisfies a need. They want to know how to use the product or reassurance that it will work for them.
When things don’t work out, they want to know that you stand behind your product with a guarantee or after-sales service.
If they do work out, they want to know if can offer other products to help them get to the next level.
- Access customer information
A salesperson visiting a customer needs to access information that will help close the sale.
It might be notes about earlier conversations, email discussions, or previous sales history.
This information needs to be accessible whether the salesperson is at the office using a desktop, at home using a laptop, or on the road using a mobile phone.
CRM software allows a salesperson to work wherever they are at the moment by linking their device to the company database. As a result, they are always working with up-to-date information.
A sales conversation has to be a meaningful dialogue to close the sale.
This can be difficult if the sales person has forgotten the results of the previous interactions or transactions.
While a salesperson may deal with hundreds of people a week, from the customer’s perspective, they are the only ones that the salesperson should have kept top of mind. By accessing customer information on the fly, a salesperson can help pull off this feat of refreshing the conversation in the mind of the sales person.
- Fill the sales pipeline with qualified leads.
Consistent revenue depends on reliable lead generation. Reliable leads are qualified customers.
How do you know if a customer is interested in what you’re offering?
CRM software allows you to get metrics on who opens your emails and reads them. It identifies what parts they found most interesting. Then it auto creates a call list for you on your most interested prospects.
Businesses that thrive are those that limit the ebb and flow of customers. Rather than going through cycles of feast or famine, they keep a steady flow of customers coming in to offset the flow of customers leaving.
- Analyze your customer relationships.
You can identify opportunities by analyzing business and performance metrics.
You can also head off potential problems at the pass before they arise.
Which sales people need additional coaching?
Where should you direct the focus of your sales efforts?
What problems are brewing that can be defused before they blow out of proportion?
You never know what hidden opportunities exist in your marketplace unless you have metrics that help you spot trends.
Organize How You Get and Keep Customers
The companies who treat their customers like gold are the companies who prosper. However, before they can offer exemplary service, they must understand how to organize all their customer information in a practical way. This is why the Gartner group has called CRM software “the heart of digital initiatives.”