Building long term relationships with customers is essential for any sustainable business. Research by Reichfield and Schefter (2000) showed that acquring online customers is so expensive (almost 20-30% higher than for traditional businesses) that start up companies may remain unprofitable for at least 2-3 years. The research also shows that by retaining just 5 percent more customers and by using customer relationship manager (CRM) services, online companies can boost their profits by 25 percent to 95%.
So where do you start? The interactive nature of the web combined with e-mail and mobile communications provides an ideal environment to develop customer relationships using CRM platforms. Databases provide a strong foundation of up-to-date customer information to help strengthen customer relationships with improved, personalised services. Using CRM platforms for relationship marketing involves integrating the customer database with websites and messaging to make the relationship targeted and personalised. Through doing this marketing can be improved through:
- Marketing activity brings higher quality leadsthrough continually improving contact segmentation and targeted campaigns.
- Mobile and remote staff work productivelywith reliable access to all the customer and activity information they need via their mobile device.
- Important business processes are aligned in one system.In addition to customers, sales & service process CRM adapts to manage other diverse items like contracts, projects, events, products, applications & property.
- Sales cycles are reducedas teams have clear visibility of which prospects are most likely to close.
- Training costs are reducedby equipping new users with tools they are already familiar with and applying workflow driven processes to guide them and enforce your proven rules and methodology.
- Data can be held in the cloudto align CRM with a company strategy to transition more services to the cloud and benefit from the efficiencies of a hosted platform.
- Improved salesas sales representatives are able to have instant access to the latest sales prospects-ensuring leads are never lost or abandoned.