We know, we know: we all want to believe in fairy tales. And perhaps the one we all hitch our digital marketing wagon to is the happily-ever-after of CRMs. After all, they are touted as the now-proverbial “easy button”: they gather customer and prospect data quickly; ID the best ones; increase customer loyalty as they help us send highly targeted information, services and products to prospects; reduce costs/helps increase ROI; and so on.
Which is great! When CRM works. But who is in charge of our customer relationship management? We are (marketers). And while the fairy tale dream is powerful, your experience with your CRM in real life can be quite different because the CRM data you receive and use is only as good as the CRM data you collect. In other words if your CRM is full of bad data, the CRM you think is Little Red Riding Hood is really the Big Bad Wolf.
Advice abounds as to how best use this digital marketing tool. But we’re going to go contrarian in this post. Here is some of the worst advice we’ve ever heard about CRMs.
1. Your CRM will work automatically; sit back and let it do its job.
Well, as mentioned above, put in bad data and your CRM will spew out bad data. And it’s actually incredibly easy to do so. In fact, HBR.org reports that most marketing pros “simply don’t understand” what they’re putting into action. Neither do they know how long it can take to get the results they want and how expensive it can be to eventually realize those results.
2. Install a CRM and the way your company deals with prospects and customers will change for the better.
Hear that? That’s the sound of the “WRONG!” buzzer we just pushed. Instead, echoing the HBR.org article mentioned above, your company needs to restructure its business processes to “better meet customers’ needs” before you choose and use a CRM. In other words, in order for a company to best use a CRM to provide customer-centric service, the company already has to have a customer-centric ethos.
3. Don’t worry about the type of customer information you collect because it’s all valuable.
There goes that buzzer again! Here’s a great example of why this is bad advice:
Let’s say you have no intention of sending direct mail. Ever. Then why – oh, why!? – are you asking people to fill out a lead generation form that requires that they give you their mailing address? Same goes for phone numbers: people don’t like to be sold to, so asking for their number makes them think you’re going to call them and pressure them to buy and so they won’t fill out the form.
And you’ve just lost a lead! Instead, ask for the bare minimum: name and email. In fact, sending great information you know they need and want to their inbox is a great way to get them on your side…and soon enough guides them to becoming a customer.
5. The CRM does the selling for you.
(Here, take this larger shovel and just keep on digging that hole.) You purchased a CRM and use it to court your prospects. But just like online dating, if you want a real relationship, you’re going to have to ask for an in-person meeting (or at least a phone call). Sure, if your products are completely digital you may never hear the dulcet tones of your prospect’s voice, let alone see his/her face before a purchase is made. But chances are far greater that some kind of IRL meeting will have to take place before the magic happens.
Instead, understand that any CRM is there to help you find the right prospects so that you can then – in person, in some way – eventually reach out and create a real, human connection.
In other words, you will have to ask for a meeting, ask if there’s a problem, and so on. You will have to – gasp! – ask for the sale.
This would be the moment where we ask you for the sale: hire us to perform your digital, inbound marketing! But we don’t think our relationship is there yet, and we’re fine with that.
Instead, why don’t you take a look at our services, read some more about digital, inbound marketing on our blog and, if you find yourself forming questions in your mind, ask us to answer them for you.