Learn how customer relationship management tools can help you grow your business.
Originally published on MailChimp Blog
Whether you’re a brand new e-commerce startup, an established technology company that develops software, a brick-and-mortar clothing store with a single location, or anything in between, using customer relationship management (CRM) tools can pay dividends for your business. In this article, we’ll highlight the key benefits of CRM and explain how it can help you organize all of your data and build lasting relationships with your clients and customers.
(Note: If you’re new to CRM software and you’re not quite sure what it is or what it does, check out our CRM Guide for Marketers to learn how CRM tools work and how they can help you understand audience data.)
CRM Benefit #1: Target—and build relationships with—new customers
Each time someone makes a purchase from your online store, subscribes to your newsletter, or clicks on one of your ads, they’re providing you with valuable new data about your audience. And when you collect all of that data in a CRM, you can start using it to make smart decisions about who your target audience is and how best to reach them.
One of the most effective tools that businesses can use to attract new customers is social media advertising. Most social media platforms will allow you to advertise to people based on certain factors—like keywords they use in their posts or profile, their interests, or their industry, just to name a few—but when you have all your customer information stored in one place (like Mailchimp’s all-in-one platform, for example), you unlock a powerful new social media advertising option.
When you create a Facebook or Instagram ad in Mailchimp, for instance, you can use all your existing customer data to create lookalike audiences of your biggest fans and most loyal customers. Then, you can target that new audience with an ad promoting your products, services, or any aspect of your brand that you think might appeal to them. Targeting folks who are likely to love your business is a great way to make your advertising budget go further—and grow your audience, too.
As new people interact with your business by making a purchase or signing up for your mailing list, they’ll be entered into your CRM database too, so you can quickly identify them and send follow up emails, thank you notes, or anything else that might help you start building a relationship with them. And once they’ve become big fans and loyal customers themselves, you’ll be able to use their information to help create the next lookalike social media audience you advertise to. It’s like the circle of marketing life!
CRM Benefit #2: Strengthen relationships with your current customers
Research shows that finding new customers can be 5 to 25 times more expensive than keeping the customers you already have, so while it’s always important to reach new audiences, you should aim to keep your current customers active and engaged, too. And when you consolidate all of your customer data into a CRM, it’s easy to keep track of who’s buying your stuff, who’s interacting with your marketing campaigns, and who might need a nudge or two to get them back on track. That way, you’ll always have the information you need to create and send marketing campaigns that keep your existing customers feeling appreciated—and coming back to buy more stuff.
You can use the data collected in your CRM to create unique, personalized marketing campaigns for your customers. Include their name, content tailored to their interests, and a personal message to thank them for their support and patronage over the years. If you’re using Mailchimp’s Marketing CRM you could also include personalized product recommendations based on each customer’s purchase history and use our send time optimization feature to send your emails when folks are most likely to engage with them.
You may also decide to use your sales data to target lapsed customers and tell them all about your latest products or offer them an incentive (like a discount or free shipping) to make another purchase. And with MailChimp, you’ll even have access to tools like purchase likelihood and customer lifetime value, so you can identify the customers who are most (or least) likely to repurchase from you, get a general estimate of how much they’ll spend, and target your marketing accordingly.
CRM Benefit #3: View your audience holistically
No matter what type of business you operate, a CRM will allow you to view all of your contacts in a single audience dashboard, and then organize them in a way that makes sense for your business. Maybe you’d like to group people based on their behavior, such as their engagement with your last campaign or their purchase history. You can do that with a CRM. Or, maybe you want to group people based on their location, birthday, or demographics like age and gender. You can do that with a CRM, too. Since a CRM provides you with an aggregate view of your audience data, it’s easy to sift through everything at once and use the stuff you already know about folks to build stronger relationships with them.
Many CRMs will also allow you to apply customized tags to your audience. Tags are unique identifiers that can help you add extra insights for certain audience members that might not have otherwise appeared within your data. For example, if someone has made a purchase from your store and opted into your marketing, you’ll probably already know their purchase history, shopping preferences, name, and maybe even their location and demographics, too.
But there are other things your existing data might not inherently tell you, like if they’re a well known social media influencer, or if they’re a prospective client that you met at a trade show, or if they volunteered at one of your recent events—and that’s where tags can help. When you use tags to add those extra details to your contacts, you’ll always have that information at your fingertips when you need it. And if Mailchimp is your Marketing CRM, you can even segment and send targeted campaigns based on the tags you’ve created, including automated email campaigns that trigger at the moment you add a specific tag to a contact. Learn more about managing your audience with tags, groups, and segments in MailChimp.
CRM Benefit #4: Show appreciation to your best customers (and grow your business)
You might not know the Pareto Principle by name, but there’s a good chance that you’re familiar with the concept it supposes: it says that, for many events, 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. When translated for businesses, this principle suggests that 80% of your overall revenue ultimately comes from only 20% of your customers.
Every customer is valuable, but the folks that make up the 20% are your best, most loyal customers. They’re the people who spend the most money, purchase with the most consistency, and are influential in recommending your product or service to others, too. It’s particularly important to maintain a strong relationship with these people, and when you store all of your customer data in a CRM, you’ll be able to quickly identify your biggest spenders (and most frequent buyers) and reach out to them with special offers, exclusive discounts, and more.
If you connect your store to Mailchimp, for example, you can create segments based on the purchase habits of your customers. Then, you can show your best ones how much you appreciate them by sending a unique coupon or promo code, an invitation to a special event, or even give them early access to your newest items. You can even use our best customers automation to automatically reach out to people based on how they shop or spend.
CRM Benefit #5: Track—and improve—your marketing performance
A CRM centralizes all of your audience data, so your whole team can keep a watchful eye on customer behavior. It’s a great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and allows you to monitor what’s working (as well as what isn’t) and identify customers that might need a little extra nurturing going forward.
For example, by simply monitoring your total number of new prospects or customers, you’ll learn if your acquisition efforts are working effectively or if you need to make a few adjustments to your methods or total spend. Similarly, by tracking the status of your existing contacts (with Mailchimp’s thorough campaign reports or our purchase likelihood tool, for instance) and monitoring your overall churn, you’ll be able to determine if your retention efforts are up to speed or if you need to try a bit harder to keep your existing customers happy.
You can also use your CRM to collect and track your sales and marketing data, both on a large scale and an individual level. That way, you can see exactly who’s spending money, what they’re buying, and how they’re interacting with your marketing campaigns. Over time, you’ll notice patterns in the data that not only help you develop more accurate goals for your business but also help you learn what your customers want and talk to them in a smarter, more relevant way. And if you use Mailchimp’s Marketing CRM, you’ll even have access to aggregate data and insights—that you can act on instantly—all in one place on your audience dashboard.
CRM Benefit #6: Save time with automation
If you operate your own business, chances are that you’ve got quite a few things on your plate, and it probably seems like there’s never enough time to take care of all the stuff on your to-do list. Luckily, a CRM makes it easy to organize all your customer data and insights in one convenient location, so you don’t have to waste time searching multiple databases—perhaps even across multiple departments within your organization—every time you need to pull information, look through sales reports, or work on a marketing campaign.
Once you’ve organized your customer data in a way that makes sense for your business, you can use it to automate many of your daily marketing tasks, like welcome emails, purchase follow-ups, order notification messages, and more.
With MailChimp, you can set up automated messages to trigger and send based on specific segments or tags, so you’re always sending the right message to the right people at the right time. If you sell stuff online, you might decide to create abandoned cart emails that send when people add items to their shopping cart and leave without completing the purchase. (Tip: Abandoned cart emails are just as effective as they are easy. With an abandoned cart email series, you can see an average of 34 times more orders per recipient than with bulk email alone.)
Or, if you’ve got a popular blog on your website, you could set up an RSS campaign that allows readers to subscribe and receive an email when you post something new so they never miss important updates.
CRM Benefit #7: Gain insights to better understand your business
If a CRM only helped you organize and track your customer data, or only saved you time, or only made it easier to build and nurture relationships, it would be a valuable solution for your business. But when you combine all of those things, a CRM begins to serve an even more important purpose—it helps you develop a better understanding of your audience and, in turn, your business.
A CRM allows you to take a deep dive into your data, so you can learn exactly who your current customers are, and how they are interacting with your business. With that information, you’ll be able to make adjustments to your marketing and communication strategies and start connecting with folks in a more efficient, relevant, and cost-effective way. You could even use the data collected in a CRM to make important decisions about your product or service offerings.
If you find, for instance, that a certain product performs better than others, you might decide to feature that particular item more prominently in your advertising going forward. Or, if something isn’t performing as well as you expected, it might be time to reach out to your customers—with a survey, perhaps—and ask how you can better serve their needs.
With MailChimp, you’ll have everything you need to organize your audience data, identify patterns in it, and turn your insights into action. Use our audience dashboard to get to know your audience at a glance, and utilize tools like customer lifetime value and purchase likelihood to learn who your most valuable customers are—and who might need extra attention in order to prevent churn. Our segmentation and tagging tools make it easy to find (and talk to) exactly the right people, and we’ve got the automation and personalization features you need to send the right message at the right time, all while making every campaign feel like a 1-on-1 conversation.