Beyond Black Friday: 7 CRM Efficiency Commandments


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Help consumers get the message.

Welcome to the final few days of calm before that annual U.S. shopping frenzy known as Black Friday, followed swiftly by the smorgasbord of one-day deals, discounts, and free-shipping on Cyber Monday.

Market watchers are predicting record sales this year, and consumer electronics will feature heavily: who doesn’t want an Android smartphone, Apple iPhone 4S (and Siri), Amazon Kindle Fire, iPad, LCD television, Blu-ray player, laptop, MP3 player, gaming console, or oodles of accessories?

But if manufacturers of must-have consumer goods have their Black Friday and Cyber Monday retail strategies polished, it’s worth asking: How about the following 363 days of the year? Interestingly, while this week’s watchword is “sale,” almost every manufacturer bar Apple (which is in a position to do whatever it pleases) has been operating with a different mantra: efficiency. And they’re using CRM to maximize these efficiency gains.

Why Efficiency Is King For B2C

In a down economy, with constrained consumer spending, efficiency has become the de facto B2C manufacturer business strategy. Of course, all it takes is one must-have new product, and consumers will buy in. Accordingly, manufacturers are playing it smart, and prioritizing internal efficiency — rather than growth, or the customer experience — to budget as much money as possible for world-class R&D and product design. Once they build The Next Great Thing, they can capitalize on their success by switching back into growth mode.

7 CRM Strategies Deliver Increased Business Efficiency

Given the mandate to increase business efficiency, what’s the best strategy? Primarily, we’re seeing these approaches produce the biggest results:

  • Social customer service: Many consumer electronics companies are investing heavily in social media for customer service. Their thinking: with more customers spending more time on social networks, why not differentiate themselves from the competition by offering service via Facebook or Twitter, and resolving complaints issued on those channels in a more timely and transparent manner?
  • Social network tie-ins: Some electronics companies are also enabling social media connections from their products. On the business front, for example, technology from Enterasys can be used to connect equipment — say, a router — to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Chatter, for broadcasting everything from real-time alerts to suggested solutions to problems.
  • Field sales and service leads: Many manufacturers with field service teams are tasking them with generating hot new leads for the sales team. This ensures that repair teams aren’t simultaneously serving as pitchmen, while still garnering valuable up-sell and cross-sell intel for salespeople.
  • Contact center consolidation: Many consumer electronics manufacturers can consolidate their contact centers, thanks to having made investments in automated customer service processes — from developing online communities to facilitate self-service and self-diagnosis, to enabling faster resolution times for the contact center.
  • Sales group consolidation: One consumer electronics manufacturer we’re working with is consolidating its sales and distribution teams. When sales grow rapidly, it often makes sense to invest in specialist sales teams to capture all potential spend. But as the market matures, businesses often benefit from having a simpler, more efficient sales team structure.
  • Leaner marketing: With the slow economy, a consumer electronics manufacturer with multiple divisions needed to reduce its marketing spending, and identified overlapping communications — from its different divisions — to customers as a great place to start. Accordingly, Innoveer helped the company create a consolidated view of each customer, to enable it to spend its marketing dollars more wisely.
  • Tighter distribution: Some of Innoveer’s manufacturing customers have begun acquiring their distribution channels, and that creates CRM challenges. Namely, how do you consolidate customer data, integrate various systems with CRM, and coordinate multiple sales teams? Innoveer is helping manufacturers address these issues to ensure that their move to own their distribution channel leads to demonstrable increases in business efficiency, thanks to the savvy application of CRM.

Learn More

Want to create a CRM program that excels? Review our “top 10” marketing, sales and service steps to see how your current program compares to best practices and our benchmarks. Also understand how social CRM can help you to quickly reach more customers and build your brand.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user John Henderson.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.


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