As humans, we live for connection. We seek out ways to relate and engage. We are not solitary animals—we are social creatures by nature. The rise of digital communication prompted a kink in our very own human nature. The connection we crave as humans is so different than the connections we make online.. This so-called ‘connection’ is hollow. Nothing compares to a conversation between two very much alive and present human beings.
I don’t want to be misunderstood—I am not saying that the digital revolution has not brought a world of opportunities for businesses everywhere. As a digital marketer, I LOVE social media, blogs, big data, SaaS, and everything in between. What I don’t love, is that when I want to speak with a human being, when I want to ask a question, I get a canned, disconnected response. It is as if I am just a number, an unimportant purchaser. I am sure that many of you have felt that way at some point or another in your lives as daily consumers.
However, not all is lost. The irony is that technology and digital marketing actually provide us with the tools to reactivate that human connection and develop deeper relationships with one another. Businesses must realize that they are selling to people, not a robot on the other side of the line, whatever digital medium you may be working with.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM is not what it once was. Traditionally, seen only as a customer database used for tracking phone calls, follow ups, etc, CRM has become so much more. CRM platforms now hold personalized information, including website visits, clicks, social shares, custom demographic information and more. With an integrated platform, so much of this data is automatically stored. This means that a business can spend less time collecting and inputting this information, and more time using it to better serve their customers.
Connection is built when a relationship is being developed. A relationship develops when two people understand one another. The more data a business has about each and every one of their customers enables them to build better relationships. The data that you collect is like having a conversation with a friend. You find out where they are from, their likes, dislikes, habits, and more. This is all critical to building meaningful and long-lasting relationships.
“So, tell me something I don’t know” you are all probably saying. Many businesses implement CRM, yet so many have failed at developing the sort of meaningful relationships people seek. I’ll explain why:
1. Simply put, they do not utilize the data at their fingertips. If you are following up with a lead, knowing what website pages they have been looking at and whether they have engaged with you socially are great ways to show understanding and interest in their needs as consumers.
2. They do not put every action or detail in the CRM. “If it isn’t in the CRM, it didn’t happen,” said the wise COO of GreenRope, Doug Feeney. This may seem absurd, but your CRM is there to act as a second brain. You can’t remember every email, phone call, or detail about each of your leads and clients. CRM let’s you organize and manage that data, so that you not only keep track of your relationship, but also keep track of valuable relationship building information.
For Example: Let’s say one of your leads likes to ski. You make a note in the CRM. You come across an article on the effects of El Nino on the upcoming winter. You send your lead that article. Something likes this lets you connect with that person on a personal level. Small gestures like these develop relationships, making it more likely that your contact will want to work with you in the future. You don’t just care about the sale, you care about the relationship.
3. There must be reporting showing how frequently or infrequently people are really using the CRM. If there is nothing showing that you aren’t really using the CRM, then why would you? Slowly but surely, platforms such as GreenRope, are adding in important analytics centered around actual CRM usage. This allows sales managers as well as sales executives to view how many calls they make in a day, how many meetings, emails, etc each team member is performing each day. In a lot of ways this adds in some gamification hopefully fueling some healthy competition within an organization and triggering increased CRM usage.
Thus, if organizations increase their CRM usage, the company, as a whole, will be able to develop stronger connections with their leads and close more deals in the process.
A few tips to increase CRM usage:
1. Rally around the flag. Make sure each member of your team learns how to use the CRM and logs in daily. People are scared of what they don’t know. Lead a horse to water and he will drink.
2. Provide incentives for your team to input everything into the CRM. Whether it is office celebrity status, an Amazon gift card, or a new computer, employees respond well to perks. Make CRM a priority. It will only help your business in the long run.
We can get that human connection back, but we need use the powerful tools at our fingertips. CRM acts as a treasure chest of all the information we need to relate and build connections with our clients and leads. Organizations that realize this and make CRM a priority will succeed into the future.
If you already have a CRM then it may be time to take a look at your current efforts and reevaluate your CRM strategy. If you are looking for a CRM, then first sit down with your team and find out your overall goals and the features that each member would like to have. This will get them more excited to use the CRM when you do start to implement.