#SmallBiz Analytics Database Multi-Channel Communications

What is the difference between a CMS and a CRM or ARM?

Not much, but either one is an asset if you use it every day. Here’s why.

A contact management system (CMS) stores data obtained from customers, prospects, vendors and a sales team. There is a customer centric contact (CCC) software also available.

The definition of a CRM is customer relationship management. In a quick summary, CRM lets you store and manage prospect and customer information, like contact info, accounts, leads, and sales opportunities.

As you’ve already determined, not all contact management systems are created equal — which means before you do anything you have to choose the right one.

Since not all businesses are the same, focus on one that is user friendly, fits the needs of marketing, sales, management and customer service.

Before you do anything else, the amount of data that you’ll be storing, ease of use, simple tracking and each team usage, it’s recommended to place a value on your CRM. Treat it like an asset. Somewhere within the first 12 to 18 months, employee fatigue may set in, seeing users skip a step here or there. To help stem a lackadaisical approach to the CRM, use it as an employee measuring tool for their goals and objectives.

Match your products or services to customers’ wants/needs.

Your CRM should give you a picture of your customers’ buying patterns. This will also give you data to use in building customer profiles, thus leading the way to using new communication channels and relevant copy.

Select new lists or networking sources that fit the profiles of existing customers. Search for new customers armed with the profiles of your current best customers. Use marketing teasers on your website to grow your data of prospects, customers and clients.

Your CRM data can assist in maximizing personalization of your customers communication and even a variety of offers to test. This is a proven method that increases response. Address your customers by name when offering them a discount or product that will peak their interest.

Provide ongoing interaction with your customers.

Out of sight is out of mind. Keep in touch with your customers with regular communication. By doing so, you are creating an awareness that triggers consideration and builds loyalty. If you have a segment of email savvy customers and prospects, use it in a periodic way, providing an email newsletter as well in conjunction with direct mail.

Pinpoint timing and frequency of promotions may be defined in your customer and prospect segments in your CRM. See who responds and at what time of year. Use the results to spread offers out to the customers and your prospects. You can also use this method to initiate a response to your competitor’s offers.

Measure response and study the data for results. Direct marketing is measurable. More than any other medium, it can be evaluated for its impact on a specific goal. When results aren’t satisfactory, go back and distinguish what went wrong. Tip: It’s even more measurable when used with email and websites.

Create offers based on customer feedback.

Enter customer requests and feedback into your CRM. The CRM is king for customer service. As you test different offers and promotions, compare the responses to each one separately to see if one or another produces better results. Most important: Listen to customer suggestions for future offers!

Demonstrate that your customers are valuable assets. Use your CRM to create workshops, presentations, or a customer rewards/sales incentive program. These programs have a history of building brand loyalty.

Show customers you care about their opinions. Conduct a customer satisfaction survey through direct mail or email (or both). If you hear back from inactive customers, you can tailor specific communications to their exact need.

Always remember that a clean CRM is a quality CRM. And a quality CRM results in a valuable business tool that is an important asset to your business.

I almost forgot. The (ARM) is a branch or division of a company or organization, usually found in large corporations. Also, the (ARM) is a limb hanging from your shoulder. It to is an asset you use every day.

How can we help you?

For additional ideas, visit our website and grab a copy of our latest Direct Marketing Success. Or else give us a call at 800-251-3608 for your own personalized copy. When you do, ask how we can tip the response scales in your favor.

The articles in each issue of Direct Marketing Success are ready to help you acquire new customers, and get your existing customers to buy more. To get your copy today, click here.

Thanks for reading. Any questions please post them below.

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Mike Deuerling
aka: MarketingDoc

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