Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Can CRM Help You Retain Customers?

CRM, Customer Relationship Management?

When I speak about CRM best practices one of the first questions I ask is, "Do you have customers?"  The follow up question is, "Do you want to keep those customers?"

CRM systems are not just for new sales.  Traditional thought process on CRM is new business, sales funnel, opportunity management, etc.  All throughout your organization you touch your relationship with those clients.  Here are some areas where a customer can be "touched".
  • Customer Service
  • Service & Repair
  • Credit & Collections
Let's say you go to make a sales call to a long time customer.  They have had some difficulties and were slow to pay a couple of invoices.  You call them up to ask for more business and you get slammed because your credit and collection rep has been hounding them for the last two weeks and has completely alienated them.   Another day we will discuss how to turn credit and collections into a customer service and sales tool!

Tracking those customer touches is vitally important to your overall relationship with your client.  Maintaining a strong relationship with the client makes them come back for more!

Customer Relationship Ownership

This is something that is often over looked by Sales Managers or owners of companies.   Often a company's biggest asset is their customer list.  Without that customer list it wouldn't matter how much inventory you had, you would not have any sales and any repeat sales without customers.

If your sales reps are keeping all their sales notes and or conversations on paper, you do not have access to a very valuable part of that customer relationship.  How many times have you heard the stories where a sales rep leaves, takes a copy of the proprietary customer list and all their notes and calls on them from their new company.  We all know how hard it is to truly enforce non-competes right?  As a business owner, you own that customer relationship and all the data that goes with it.

If you want to make the job easier for the next rep for that account, be certain that your reps are utilizing CRM to track their conversations.  There are some great tools and tricks to be sure that happens.  We will cover that in another post too!

Of course the same holds true for sales leads but we are talking about customers today.

Customer Turnover/Churn

Customer retention is incredibly important to any business.   The cost to acquire a new account vs. keeping and nurturing an existing account is significant.  Here is a great article to read on the true cost of acquiring a new customer.

Customer Acquisition Cost

 There is nothing worse for a sales rep to call a customer that hasn't bought from you for a while to find that they are now buying from someone else?  Do you know how many of those customers you have lost?

Or what about the customer where your contact leaves for a new job?  Will you build a relationship with the new person?  Will you know that there is a new person? Will you call on your former contact at his new job to see if they may be a prospect?

A good solid usage of CRM with a defined universal process within your organization can help with these issues.


Lori Allaman Hanken has spent over 25 years working with various CRM packages.  She was part of a development and design team for a nationally released CRM product in the wholesale distribution market.  Ms. Hanken has been featured as a national speaker and has helped many clients create best practices procedures and documentation while consulting on CRM usage.  She has implemented hundreds of CRM installations.

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