Especially if you are a smaller company looking to grow, it may feel like you simply don’t have the resources or expertise to forecast and strategize.
In fact, when marketing for any company, regardless of size, you already have a mine of useful information available to you: your client data. Understanding how to use this information to your advantage is a key component of a successful marketing strategy.
One way to maximise the usefulness of your data is to invest in a good CRM system – and use it well. You may feel that your company manages perfectly well without one, but trust us: there are always ways to improve.
Identify your needs
There are a few necessary elements to creating a profitable marketing strategy:
- Visibility: a clear picture of your current client base, and the status of your relationships with those clients.
- Up-to-date data: the ability to measure engagement and activity.
- A centralised point for all client related information so that you can compare and identify patterns.
A CRM system allows you to do all of the above far more easily and efficiently. You could collate all the relevant data from separate systems and create spreadsheets and reports yourself, but CRM will do the bulk of the work for you and save time in the process.
If you take a little time and money to invest in CRM and set it up to integrate with your website and social media, you can start to study your data almost immediately.
As part of this set-up, it is important that you identify which key areas you want to focus on initially. Do you want to find out where the majority of your leads come from? What information do you want to collect about these potential clients?
Deciding this early on will help you to focus your analysis and not try to do too much at once. It is far easier to measure results when you are asking specific questions.
Your marketing strategy can then become more complex as you get more familiar with your CRM.
Understand your client base
There are several features of CRM which allow you to manipulate the information you have and make it work for you.
You can group or grade your clients depending on their level of interaction with your content. They may have only looked at one website page or downloaded one guide, in which case they will require a different approach to those who are already in conversation with one of your team.
This reduces the risk of unnecessary communications with clients who may be busy or have indicated they are not interested in a particular product.
These errors are best avoided as not only can they damage client relationships, they contribute to an inefficient system.
CRM can also help by automating the early stages of your sales process, meaning there are fewer chances for leads to slip through the net.
You can set up automatic email responses to activity on certain content, or have your CRM nudge sales staff to ensure they follow up with clients at the appropriate times.
Handing over the responsibility of scheduling to your CRM means a lot less work for your sales team, allowing them to focus on customer service. It also reduces opportunities for human error.
The bigger picture
Having access to all your client data in one place can also help with analysing your processes. When you can compare the results of your marketing strategy across your various platforms, this allows you to spot patterns.
How successful are your various strategies with different types of clients? Where are the majority of your leads coming from, and where are you potentially losing out on business? Could you try a different approach for a couple of months, then see how the results are affected?
By analysing your results with the help of CRM, you can test new angles, identify where changes need to be made, and make predictions based on how your existing clients are responding to proposals.
If you have seen a spike in interest following new video content on your social media, or an increase in queries after a webinar you ran on a specific topic, you know that these strategies are working and are worth focusing on.
If you have noticed a pattern of leads being dropped as a result of follow-ups not being sent one time, you can identify this as an area to be worked on.
And if you have the data readily available at the touch of a button through your CRM system, you will find it much easier to communicate this to the rest of your team.
Clarity for all
It is important to make sure everyone concerned understands the importance of keeping this information up to date – which is far simpler when there is only one system to maintain.
It really helps to have this data in a centralised location, rather than in numerous folders on several computers. If multiple people from separate teams can access the information there is less chance of miscommunication and confusion.
Your colleagues are also more likely to be on board with your marketing strategy if they can see the data for themselves. When they are presented with the results mapped out clearly for them, they will understand the value of a streamlined system.
Worth the investment
It can be a daunting prospect: the need to select the right CRM for your firm and then move potentially huge amounts of data across.
It may not seem worth the headache. But, speaking from experience, we can say that you will quickly see the benefit of a system like this.
The more accurate and accessible your data, the better your predictions and analysis can be and the better your results.
Download our new ‘Beginner’s guide to CRMs for accountants’ for more smart advice.