Could You Improve Your CRM?

Okay, so before we start off with our suggestions around how to improving this process, let’s debunk what CRM stands for. CRM or client/customer relationship management is a strategy of managing all of your client and potential client relationships and interactions which typically takes place with the aid of software that stores relevant information and is intended to drive leads, marketing, and the like. Many organisations now have a formal solution to assist with this, whilst others may simply store such data in excel spreadsheets or similar. Obviously the key is the data.

Now, if we take on board the advice of marketing experts, most firms endeavour to regularly communicate with clients through the likes of e-mail newsletters and other such correspondence. Part of this approach is to try and develop an ever growing list of parties, both current as well as potential clients, who wish to receive such correspondence. Whilst most professional firms will have the correct details of their current clients, you would hope, if they are also marketing to attract new clients, these details may periodically change and part of the challenge of keeping such lists accurate and at least stable.

The importance of this was highlighted to me again when I was speaking with a colleague and we were discussing the challenges of keeping e-mail newsletter lists growing. In my opinion, part of a good marketing plan is to keep in touch with your clients but don’t bombard them with e-mails. Of course, every individual has a different view as to how often they want to receive e-mails from various parties. I know some experts talk about daily, but for me that is too much.

Anyway, when my colleague mentioned that they receive a certain number of e-mail bounces or unsubscribes to each e-mail marketing campaign, which decreases the number of recipients, I asked them what they did with such information. I was advised that they simply take those people of their marketing list and carry on communicating with the remainder of the group. Now, I was quite surprised by this. I asked whether they following any of these parties up to confirm their details or otherwise, and was advised no.

So I shared with them our experience. When we receive an unsubscribe or e-mail bounce, our database management team follows up the contact to:

  • See whether that individual remains at the organisation. Where not, we endeavour to source the contact details for the person who has taken over that role.
  • Find where that individual has gone, and where sourced, add their new contact details to our database to enable us to keep communicating with them.
  • Where they wish to discontinue e-mail correspondence, we confirm that we have their correct postal details to enable us to remain in contact via post

Each of these steps enables us to keep the data in our database as clean as possible, whilst also maintaining or growing the number of people with whom we communicate with via e-mail. At every stage we are trying to collect more e-mails, so our personnel will often ask parties that communicate with us for their e-mail address. But another trick we have also learnt is that just because you don’t received an e-mail bounce or similar, doesn’t mean that contact remains current at that organisation. So some proactive database management is also required.

Whilst I don’t believe e-mail marketing is as effective as it used to be, in part because we all now receive so many e-mails, it is certainly a less costly approach to remaining in contact with clients and endeavouring to convert potential clients.

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