This article is contributed by Mike Spalding.
Business is all about communication. Without communication, you have no clients, no suppliers, no way to discover or connect with prospective new clients. Communication is the lifeblood of every business.
A lot of people make an assumption that communication simply involves the act of communicating itself – phoning someone, emailing someone, connecting with an individual on LinkedIn – the connection itself.
But there’s more to it than that – the following is vital:-
- the timing of the communication
- knowing the relationship between the individual you are contacting and yourself
- being aware of any past communications you or your company has had with the individual
Knowing all of the above can make the difference between delighting a client (and making a sale) or making an embarrassing, ill-timed, ill-informed phone call.
But what if you have hundreds – even thousands – of contacts? From suppliers to colleagues to clients to new leads – how can you plan your daily communications?
With Customer Relations Management (CRM) software.
Let’s explore one such CRM software package – MS Dynamics – and look at how it can help make your business more efficient.
Funnel All of Your Leads Into One Place
Prospective new clients can be found from all kinds of channels – Facebook, Twitter, your website, telesales, mass mailings to name but a few. To make the most of these leads, you’re going to need to aggregate them into one place.
That’s where MS Dynamics can help you – to organize your leads.
You can see where each lead has come from, its discovery date, the contact details of the lead, associated notes. You can then communicate with these prospects in a more appropriate way. For example, contacting a particular demographic of your leads database with a particular product.
Client / Customer Database
After-sales is a vital component of a successful business. Repeat business is cheaper than winning new clients, and it also encourages word of mouth as your loyal customers are more likely to recommend your company.
Clients / customers are similar to prospective leads in that they can come from more than one channel – yet you want to be able to contact ALL of your customers from one point.
Here are some use-cases for such an aggregation of clients / customers:-
- perhaps you want to contact all of your customers who bought an item in the last week with an email asking them for their feedback for your service
- maybe you want to call a particular demographic of your clients about a new service you’re launching (more geared toward this demographic)
Manage Your Stock / Inventory
With sales being generated from various different sources, it’s crucial you can record stock levels in a centralised system. CRM software will allow you to this, and easily contact suppliers when stocks are low too.
Send Out Surveys
With MS Dynamics, you can create survey questionnaires that you can send out to selected contacts. This can be useful in a number of ways:-
- to measure your performance when surveying your clients and asking them about their experiences
- find out what both your current clients and prospective new leads want from the product or service you provide (you can improve your product / services based on this feedback)
Analyse Your Data
It’s not enough to merely record and manage your data – you want to study it too. Analysing your data with CRM software will allow you to:-
- more accurately target marketing campaigns
- introduce new products based around your best sellers
- pin-point the demographics most likely to buy your products or use your services
- identify the most successful sales channels
Such analysis can help you manage your future marketing budgets – to help you make the most of your time and money to help yield more sales in the most effective areas, and also provide a better service to your clients (based on surveys completed).
MS Dynamics can really aid your business in a number of ways. It can help you to:-
- communicate effectively to all of your contacts
- shape your future decisions on how to capture new sales
- improve your product or service based on feedback
Author Bio: Mike Spalding writes for Advantage Business Systems, who offer IT support for businesses of all sizes.He enjoys working with and advising small businesses on how they can function more effectively.