Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is not just the name of a technical solution, but also an approach to handling relationships with customers strategically. The goal is to establish an individual connection with each person in the target audience, build strong and loyal bonds, and eventually drive sales growth and continually expand your customer base.
CRM involves three major areas of your business: marketing is responsible for making people aware of your brand, sales takes care of building a relationship, and customer service (including field service) makes sure the customer stays with your company.
How to establish a good relationship with your customers
Building a sustainable relationship with a customer is hard work and takes time, patience and perseverance. But your clients are who keep your business alive, and so all efforts will be worth it. The following five steps will guide you on the path to loyal customers:
1. Create brand awareness
Find out who the target group of your brand or product is and create awareness for your company among that audience. Don’t be shy to adapt, expand or even narrow down your marketing activities if you realize your target audience differs from what you initially thought.
2. Generate leads
Once you have a person’s attention, the next step is to bring them to interact with you and thus share their information with you. This interaction can happen in many different forms. For example, they download your white paper or subscribe to your newsletter, and in doing so provide their e-mail address. Or they give your latest social media post a like and thus reveal their identity on the respective platform.
3. Induce a purchase
Now that you can get in touch with your contacts on a more individual level, you should address them more personally, too. Provide them with content and offers relevant to them and entice them to make a purchase. In other words, convert them from leads to customers.
4. Ensure customer satisfaction
Your work isn’t done yet, on the contrary. Service offers help your customer make the best of their newly acquired product or service. Answer all their questions and provide additional advice if desired.
5. Foster loyalty
Stay in touch with your customer after their purchase. On the one hand, you want them to do business with you again. On the other hand, a happy customer that tells others about their great experience with you is the best referral you can get.
How a professional solution supports the CRM process
It can be a long way from a person in your target group to a customer. To convert as many targeted people as possible to paying clients without losing the overview, you should consider implementing a Customer Relationship Management solution.
All information you learn about a contact will be saved there and made accessible to you and your colleagues whenever needed. All processes of marketing, sales and customer service can be documented there and thus easily repeated time and time again.
Since the activities of these three, and sometimes more, departments are often interwoven, a CRM platform not only provides everyone with relevant information about customers and processes but also with tools to communicate and collaborate.
The right solution grows with your company: you can easily add licenses for additional team members and scale the system to your needs. Last but not least, you can seamlessly connect third-party applications with the CRM platform if necessary.
9 reasons to implement a CRM tool
This sounds all great to you, but still a little theoretical? Let us tell you nine things you can do with a CRM solution that will truly help you build lasting relationships with your customers.
1. Make profound decisions based on data.
A CRM system tracks every action you take and every reaction from the (potential) customer along the entire customer journey. That allows you to review, analyze and evaluate your marketing campaigns or sales performances, and detect and fix potential weaknesses.
2. Reach out to your audience on multiple channels via one platform.
There are many ways to communicate with your (potential) customers: various social media channels, on- and offline events, telephone marketing, the all-time classic e-mail marketing, and more. With a proper CRM solution, you can coordinate all communication on one platform and avoid confusion (such as communicating the same information twice).
3. Automate recurring workflows.
Automate what you can so you have more time to come up with clever strategies or well-written content.
4. Get a comprehensive picture of your customers.
All the gathered information about your customers gives you a good idea of what they’re like as well as their needs and preferences. That helps you target them with even more personalized offers. The customer feels important and taken seriously.
5. Keep your customers’ data secure.
Data protection is a huge topic, especially when you are dealing with a large amount of sensitive data like names and e-mail addresses. In a professional solution, you can determine security roles, i. e. the only people who can access certain data are the ones who need to work with it.
6. Use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
AI provides you with valuable insights, recognizes trends early and makes predictions, e. g. about expected revenue. It also helps identify promising leads and follow up on time.
7. Provide excellent customer service.
Knowing your customers’ past interactions with you, you can directly dive into the issue at hand. You know what they bought and if there has been a problem with the product or service before. Great customer service is equally important to a quality product or service you sell. Only if the customer is satisfied with the way they are treated, will they keep doing business with you.
8. Create attractive reports with no effort.
A CRM solution not only helps you gather all kinds of data but also brings it into a structured and easy-to-understand form.
9. Collaborate from anywhere.
With modern cloud software, all you need is an internet connection, and you can access all tools and databases from your location of choice. Another advantage: should anything happen to your hardware, you needn’t worry about your work – it is safely stored in the cloud.
Why Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a great choice
Microsoft doesn’t offer a single CRM solution, but a suite of business applications that support CRM processes in different areas of an organization like marketing, sales, field service and customer service. The apps can be used individually or in combination with any other Dynamics 365 solution. If you combine two or more applications, you will still rely on only one common database to make sure everyone works with the same information.
Dynamics 365 Marketing
The application provides you with tools and capabilities for all kinds of marketing activities – sending out newsletters and other e-mails along your customer journey, managing events and your social media, and more:
- Divide your contacts and leads into segments to target them with relevant content.
- Make use of AI to provide each (potential) customer with a personalized experience, for example via e-mail messaging.
- Run A/B tests to find the most resonating content for your audience.
- Review the performance of activities, campaigns and content on dashboards with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
- Plan, organize, promote and execute webinars with Dynamics 365 Marketing and Microsoft Teams.
- Create customized event landing pages, including registration forms.
- Take care of lead generation and analytics.
Dynamics 365 Sales
Dynamics 365 Sales unites customer relationship management and sales automation in one solution. Use the following features, and more, to boost your sales performance:
- Manage leads handed over by the marketing team and identify the most promising sales opportunities quickly.
- Analyze single or multiple pipelines to gain an overview of the entire sales cycle.
- See if a message has been opened or the inserted link clicked.
- Use the history of interaction for each contact in your next e-mail or phone conversation with said customer or if experts are involved that haven’t talked to the client before.
- Receive suggestions from embedded AI on when and what to answer to e-mails.
- Let AI show you pending leads that are at risk so you can try to close them as soon as possible.
Dynamics 365 Field Service
For many companies setting up and maintaining hardware, machinery or the like on the customer’s site is part of what they sell. Luckily, Microsoft’s suite of business apps contains one solution particularly for that purpose: Dynamics 365 Field Service.
Some of its key functionalities are:
- Support with conceiving service agreements and initiating regularly scheduled or ad hoc maintenance work orders
- Assistance for dispatchers with selecting the best-suited resource for a work order and getting them to the customer at the right time
- Inventory management capabilities
- Self-service portals for customers to schedule service visits
- Automated notifications
- Real-time remote expert support via mixed-reality tools
- Remote inspections with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist
- Field Service mobile app including navigation to the location, the history of the customer and the work order, and more
- Possibility to detect and fix issues remotely using Internet of Things (IoT) sensors
Dynamics 365 Customer Service
Today more than ever impeccable customer service can be the decisive factor for customers to return to your business or even recommend you to friends and business partners. Dynamics 365 Customer Service enables service agents to provide first level support to customers both before and after a project:
- Offer your customer different channels to get in contact with your service teams, including chatbots (virtual agents), telephone integration, chat functionality and WhatsApp integration.
- Provide your customers with self-service options to fix problems themselves, for example by offering them knowledge articles fit to their situation.
- Host community portals, where clients can find even more tips and insights from other customers.
- Monitor and analyze your customer engagement to improve your agents’ performance.
- Offer the best possible customer experience.
proMX – your ideal implementation partner
For a fast, lean and professional implementation of the solution(s) of your choice, we highly recommend you hire a CRM consultant or consulting firm.
As Microsoft Solutions Partner for Business Applications, proMX is very experienced with Dynamics 365. We have successfully implemented apps of the business suite in various combinations for years and at many companies from different industries and of different sizes.
Our secret is to listen closely to your pain points, requirements and desires first, so we truly understand what you want in a CRM solution. Together we then determine what apps are right for your business. The implementation itself will be agile and give you the chance to intervene anytime if you feel it’s necessary.
Get in touch with us and find out how we can help you boost your customer relationship management processes.