How to Nurture Your Customers (and Save Masses of Time!) with a CRM
“I haven’t got time to set-up and then keep updating a CRM!”
I hear these words all the time from stressed-out micro business owners and side-hustlers. You could be nodding along as you read this, too.
But at this point I’ll usually ask the following question:
How do you keep up with your customer data now?
Replies usually include a sophisticated pen-and-paper system, or if we’re getting technical, an Excel spreadsheet – but often, it’s a bit haphazard with slips of paper and sticky notes.
These are the methods we all tend to use as we start our micro businesses, unsure as to how successful we’re going to become.
As we continue, gaining more and more customers along the way, these makeshift data-capturing routines start to become invisible. Recording, updating, and checking information is just another item on our unthinking, everyday ‘to do’ list.
In other words: you’re probably already updating some sort of system.
And, if it’s manual I can bet it’s inconsistent and time consuming.
Oh, and if you’re not updating anything at all, your business either hasn’t got many customers yet, or you’ve got a photographic memory!
Whichever it is, I bet customers, and more importantly, potential customers and leads, are falling through massive cracks.
How a CRM Helps You Nurture Your Customers
In my last blog post, I explained more about what a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is: software or technology that specifically helps a business to manage interactions with existing and potential customers.
Your CRM can therefore be used to record each customer’s contact information, personal details, and the interactions they make with your business.
Over time, you will be able to create a personalised, individual view of each and every customer. This will help enormously when it comes to tailoring your customer experience – ensuring that when you go the extra mile, your efforts will be appreciated.
If you know, for example, that a particular customer prefers to be contacted by email rather than over the phone, you won’t irritate them by calling to check up on a recent purchase.
If you know they’ve got a birthday coming up, you could send a surprise gift, a discount for something they’ve bought before, or offer something that complements a previous purchase (think socks to go with newly-bought trainers, or access to an exclusive ‘add-on’ training session).
Effort like this shows that you’re interested in the people who buy from you. You don’t want to treat them as faceless customers. Instead, you want to offer them a happy, personally tailored experience with your company.
That’s Exactly What I Mean by 'Nurturing'!
How a CRM Saves You Time
All very well, you may be thinking now, but you still don’t have time to keep updating a CRM!
You’d have to set it all up from scratch, after all, and who’s got the energy for that?
But what if I told you that the time you put into setting up your system now will save you lots more of it in future?
Once your new system is ready to go, here are some of the things you should be able to do with it:
- Access customer contact information
- Track customer purchase history
- Segment your customers into different contact groups (for example, you could have a group for customers who have bought a specific product or service before)
- Manage your marketing funnel activity and results
- Nurture people who aren’t customers yet, but who have engaged with your company, such as following your social media pages
- Share information with other people in your business
- Link directly with other systems, such as email management, payment apps, and accounting software
Now tell me if you still plan to stick with those scraps of paper, or that Excel spreadsheet!
How a CRM Supports Your Marketing Funnel Activity
(If you’re not sure what a marketing funnel is, read my previous blog post).
One of the best books I’ve read about funnel building and customer nurturing is Joseph Jaffe’s Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones.
Why? Because it’s well-known that attracting new customers costs more than nurturing existing ones. Around seven times more, in fact.
So it makes a lot of sense to take care of those people who have bought from you before, by planning some of your marketing funnel activity in reverse.
This means that you should focus some of your marketing effort, attention, and budget on those people who have already made it to the bottom of your funnel, rather than constantly trying to ‘pour’ new people in at the top.
Your CRM can act as a true ‘partner’ as you plan your reverse-funnel activity. You’ll be able to use your customers’ purchase histories to create tempting offers and tailored promotions that will be far too good to resist!
The best news? Investing in a CRM is achievable even on a micro-business budget, with plenty of low-cost options available. Some basic versions are even free of charge.