You’ve heard of spring cleaning, that time when homeowners everywhere tackle the accumulated grit and grime of wintertime to make their homes spring-fresh. We’d like to suggest a fall database cleaning that scrubs your data shiny and fresh, too.

It’s a smart idea to choose a time each year to review your CRM database and clean it up so that you can start the new year with a sparkling, fresh data set. Some companies schedule data scrubs for the end of the calendar year, while others prefer the end of their fiscal year. Regardless of when you choose to clean your data, you should review and clean it regularly. A CRM system is only as good as the data contained within it. If your data contains errors and duplicates, poor customer relationships and excess costs can result.

If this is your first time cleaning your database, take heart. You don’t need a pail and a scrub brush. Instead, you need time and smarts to review your data, and some external tools and/or vendors, too.

Let’s get started.

Cleaning a Database: Make It a Habit

First thing’s first: make cleaning your database a routine task. Schedule it on your annual tasks for the same time each year. Choose a time when you won’t be conducting any campaigns, or many campaigns, so that you have a block of time to work on the data while it’s relatively stable and not in flux from information flowing in and out. By scheduling it on your calendar as an annual occurrence, you’re less likely to forget it. The more frequently you clean your data, the easier it is to clean it again next year. Just like cleaning your house is harder when the house is dirtier, routine data cleaning reduces errors and makes the tasks faster each time you do it.

Check for Duplicate Records

Duplicate records take up valuable space in your database. They can lead to confusion among your personnel accessing the data, and information can be entered into the wrong places. It’s also annoying for customers to receive duplicate communications from you.

Exact matches are easy to spot, but what may not be as easy to spot are more subtle duplicates. “Joseph Smith,” “Joseph L. Smith,” and “Joe Smith” may all be the same person, or they may be three different people. Such records may need to be personally verified by phone calls or other methods to ensure you don’t accidently delete a viable customer record when you’re cleaning your database.

Confirm Preferences

Confirming customer communication preferences is another way to clean up your database. Many companies send an automated message to customers annually, double-checking to ensure they still wish to remain on their database and asking them to confirm their communication preferences. It’s a good task to include in your annual clean-up.

Cleaning Zip Codes and Addresses

Lastly, you may wish to confirm zip codes and addresses, and to update customer records for people who have moved. Many data companies specialize in list cleaning. For a nominal fee, they will run your list against known records of deceased persons, moving/mail forwarded lists, and “Do Not Mail” lists from the Direct Marketing Association. The resulting list will be cleared of any customers who are deceased, and addresses will be updated with new data if the customer has moved. Perhaps even more importantly, flags will be appended to your list to note which customers requested not to be on any mailing lists.

Smart Data Management Saves Money

It takes time to clean your list, and it takes a little investment to send it to an external list service to clean it up and suppress or edit bad addresses. So why invest time and resources to do so?

If you regularly mail catalogs or other direct marketing pieces, cleaning up your list of bad or useless addresses can save you anywhere from .50 cents to over $1.00 per address, depending on what you are mailing. Postage, printing, and mail house costs can quickly add up. Every address you fix saves you considerable money.

You’ll also provide better customer service when your list is clean. Keeping only one customer file by removing two duplicates ensures that “Joe Smith” not only gets contacted when he wishes to be contacted, but that his record is accurate and not accidentally spread among three different files in the database.

So even though it will take you some time and investment to clean up that list, rub-a-dub-dub, scrub and scrub! A clean list makes for a happier marketing campaign and better customer service.

CRMPlus

If you’re new to CRM systems, download our free CRM Success Kit to learn more about selecting and implementing a CRM system for your company.

At CRMPlus, we look for ways in which your new CRM system can help the people in your organization do a better job. It’s all about the people, not the software. Let’s talk about how we can help.  Call us at 813-343-2173 or contact us today.

CRM System

Every company wants a full pipeline of qualified leads in their CRM system. When you fill your lead funnel or pipeline, you always have qualified customers moving along to a successful sale. But how do you generate leads for your CRM system?

Companies typically put in place a consistent process for attracting qualified customers. Some of the techniques may vary, but you can adapt this process to fit your company’s needs.

Creating a Pipeline of Leads

Add an opt-in form to your website: Create a landing page with a lead capture form for your website. This makes it easy for people to choose to receive emails from your company and to respond to any offers or pitches made as part of your lead generation activities. Be sure to include opt-in language so that people understand they are giving permission to be contacted by your company. This helps you comply with the FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act, laws intended to protect against unwanted emails.

Develop a free whitepaper, e-book, or other enticing content: Many companies offer unique and highly valuable content in exchange for customers opting into their email list. This works best if the content offered directly benefits your customers and is only available if they opt into your list.

Promote the offer online: Promote the offer via your social media sites, online advertising, and a link from your email signature.

Ask current customers for recommendations: Offer the same paper or give-away item to your current customers list, and invite them to share it with colleagues and friends.

Request guest posts: Guest blog posts with a link to your website builds traffic. Close your guest blog post with an offer for the free paper and link to the opt-in form. To get a guest blog post published, find websites that reach your customer base and email the webmaster with an idea for a free blog post. Then, write the post, or hire a ghostwriter to write it for you.

Collect cards and contacts: At your next networking event, trade show, or other industry event, collect business cards and ask permission to add them to your database. Drawings for enticing prizes at trade shows can help you collect even more business cards.

To assess the success of your lead generation activities, monitor the number of contacts on your database before, during, and after the campaign ends. Also check your open rates on subsequent marketing emails and lead nurturing campaigns to view the effectiveness of your marketing messages.

If you’ve focused your lead generation efforts on customers who fit your target demographic profile, you’ve successfully filled your CRM system with viable leads. The next step is to continue the lead nurturing sequence, using your CRM system effectively to communicate with customers along every step of their buying journey. Thankfully, your CRM system makes this much easier by automating a great deal of the work.

CRMPlus Consulting

CRMPlus Consulting helps companies find the “right size” CRM system for their needs. By working with you to find a great solution, we match you with the best software to help your company achieve its sales goal. Visit usor call 813-343-2173.

It’s exciting to launch a new CRM system or upgrade to a new system with all the bells and whistles. That said, it’s also important to make sure that the entire CRM implementation runs smoothly from project inception to completion. These four tips will help your project get off to a strong start and finish with a flourish.

Four Tips: CRM Implementation

  1. Find an internal champion: Critical to the successful implementation of your CRM system is an internal project champion. The term “champion” comes from the Middle Ages, where royalty would select a special knight to be their champion in tournaments and battles. The champion represented royalty and thus had the power to advocate for the royal person’s goals. Within a company, the CRM champion should be a senior-level executive who has the ear of the CEO and other top brass, and who believes in the power of the CRM to meet business goals. The champion can advocate for the CRM project, ensure complete buy-in, and secure the resources necessary for the project’s completion.
  2. Assign a project manager: Although a team will work on the CRM planning and implementation, one person should be assigned the responsibility of guiding the project’s timeline and deliverables. A project manager can review all of the tasks associated with completion and implementation, prod anyone behind on deadlines, and keep the entire project on time and on budget.
  3. Train a super user: Super Users don’t wear superhero capes, but they should. These are people on your team who will learn the system inside and out so that they can train others, answer questions, and perform basic troubleshooting for your company once the system is launched. Ask for volunteers from the teams using the system the most, and ensure they receive adequate training.
  4. Launch with a flourish: Your project’s final launch should be a celebration and well-publicized within the company. Launch with a flourish! Have the Champion make a grand announcement and congratulate the Project Manager publicly for a job well-done. Build a launch training meeting into the schedule with subsequent follow-up training sessions so that there is plenty of hands-on use of the system. Continue to promote the system for several weeks and months until it becomes second nature for everyone to use it.

Other Implementation Tasks

Successful implementation also includes the development of a CRM guideline, process, or training manual. This document can be simple and streamlined but should include guidance for teams on what to input into the system, how frequently to update the system, and how to use the system.

Lastly, be sure you have a feedback system in place. Users need to report bugs, problems, and requests for future updates to a designated person so that this information can be acted upon during the next upgrade.

CRMPlus Consulting

CRMPlus Consulting can guide you through your CRM project from inception to completion. We are a small, boutique firm specializing in personalized service. We know that technology is the servant of a good overall strategy. We evaluate the processes you have in place and help you find effective solutions to maximize your use of technology. For more information, contact us or call 813-343-2173.

CRM

Adding a CRM system to your company this year? Most companies consider the benefits related to the sales department when they think of a CRM system. CRM makes it easier to organize, track, monitor, and work with leads and customer information but there’s more to CRM than sales benefits. These three surprising benefits of CRM may make you think again about how customer relationship management is used within your organization.

CRM: A Philosophy Rather than a System

CRM, or customer relationship management, is more a philosophy or guiding principle for an organization than it is a computer system. Sure, there’s software involved, but it is more about your organization’s approach to lead nurturing and communications then it is to choosing a great software package. Software makes CRM easier, faster, and better, but you will get more out of it with a smart and focused approach to CRM as a holistic, organization-wide way of thinking about customer service and management.

Three Surprising Benefits

CRM systems make communications a lot easier but they also add value in surprising ways.

  1. Improved analytical data and reporting: CRM systems store a lot of customer data in one place, which makes analytical data and reporting easier, faster, and more efficient. They also integrate with other systems within your company to share consistent data. This makes running reports easier with cleaner, more accurate data. The fewer times you have to input data into a system, the fewer chances there are for data entry mistakes.
  2. Enhanced teamwork: Because contact information, call details, and other communications information is entered into one system, the entire thread of a customer’s narrative is in one location. Teams including sales, marketing, and customer service can all see the same information and work together to resolve problems and improve customer service. The shared data fosters a collaborative environment that’s helpful to all.
  3. Simple automation: Common tasks can be automated in a CRM system for time-saving efficiency. Simple automation, such as automating reports, forms, responses, and other messages can save a great deal of time. You can store report formats and templates, too, so you don’t need to “reinvent the wheel” every time a specific report is requested for a client. All of these innovations lead to time-saving and better work.

Improved Customer Service with CRM

Customers often voice frustration at having to repeat their information during conversations with different people at the same company. A CRM system logs those details into one central location so that all team members can access the information. You’ll be able to see the customer service history and provide better information to resolve customer complaints faster. Customers are saved the inconvenience of having to repeat themselves, and you’ll be able to provide better service.

CRMPlus Consulting: Choosing the Right CRM System

With the right CRM system supporting your work, your company can reap these and many other benefits. CRMPlus Consulting offers a free “CRM Success Kit” you can download to help you master the art of CRM. Contact us for more information on CRM systems for your business.

If you’re looking to boost brand loyalty this year, look no further than your customer list. How you interact with your customers strengthens or weakens their loyalty to your brand. To boost brand loyalty and retention rates, use your CRM system to listen as well as communicate with them.

Listening to Your Customers

If you think about the relationships in your personal life, you know that the key to a long-lasting and strong relationship with your children, spouse, parents, friends, or neighbors is to listen to them. Listening is an oft-neglected skill in these busy times. Most people listen not to understand, but in order to respond with something witty or helpful. Truly listening with your full attention to another person makes them feel wanted and needed, and helps you understand their perspective even more.

The same skills you might use to listen to the people you’re close to should be used with your customers, too. Far too often, companies send message after message, drowning their customers in sales flyers, marketing messages, order updates, and other forms of communications. How many truly listen to their customers? 

Using your CRM system to listen to your customers and respond to their needs is a great step to building strong customer relationships. These relationships lead to repeat business, which in turn fosters loyalty. It’s a “positive cycle” where a good action begets another good action until positive momentum is achieved.

Best Practices for Listening via CRM

There are several ways in which you can use your CRM as a “listening” tool to better connect with your customers.

  • Record all feedback and share it with your teams: That includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. Make sure you share both kudos and complaints. Customers who have been kind enough to leave a message or communicate with your company regarding their services or shopping experience should receive a personal message in reply. Make sure you acknowledge and thank people for taking the time to share feedback.
  • Surprise and delight customers with problems: A complaint or a customer service problem is an opportunity to forge long-term loyalty with customers. If the complaint is handled promptly and to the customer’s satisfaction, they are more likely to hold positive feelings about your company. A clothing retailer who responds to complaints about a sweater falling apart in the wash by sending a sweater free of charge to replace the defective one will garner praise rather than derision for the poor first garment. Steps taken quickly to rectify problems, and surprising and delighting customers by going the extra mile, are great ways to earn loyalty and demonstrate you have truly heard the customer’s side of the story.
  • Use social listening: Social listening means monitoring commentary on your company, products, and brand on one or more social media channels. Although it can be difficult to manage manually with multiple social media platforms, now there are services and software that can monitor social media for you to notice mentions of your brand. You can then follow up on the feedback and listen anonymously to what customers are saying about your brand.

The days when companies could simply sit back and rest on their reputations are long gone, if they ever existed in the first place. Companies today face challenges from a global marketplace vying for a pool of customers. To keep customers returning to your business, use the data in your CRM system to build loyalty and retention. It’s a smart and cost-effective way to keep your revenue and customer base solid while using other tactics to grow.

Is Your CRM Working for You?

Does your CRM have the functionality you need? Is it easy for your team to use? Infor CRM is a leading CRM system. Read more in the recent study by Nucleus Research, CRM Technology Value MatrixContact us or call 813-343-2173 for more information on CRM systems for your business.

Operator of the Sandals and Beaches all-inclusive resorts throughout the Caribbean, Unique Travel Corp. resorts are located in Jamaica, Antigua, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Sandals Resorts is the world’s only luxury-included® vacation for couples, while the Beaches Resorts brand caters to families, singles, and couples.

With offices in Miami and Toronto, and travel agents all over North America, Unique Travel Corp. needed a flexible CRM solution that would allow them to manage travel agent and customer relationships across multiple sales channels. Read more >>>

 

I am a firm believer and a big advocate that you should have and maintain a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and cannot understand why any organization would run their business without one. You often hear the negatives about CRM, that the management or sales team doesn’t buy in and if they don’t drink the ‘cool aid’ then the system fails.

Yesterday was my “aha” moment when I realized that even the greatest advocate “me” can also have a CRM that is not working for them to the best effect!

It has bothered me for quite a while that internally we have not been tracking our sales funnel using our CRM. I won’t bore you with all the details of the manual process that we have been using, as business process automation specialists we should certainly know better, but as so often is the case, as the old “English” expression goes  “a Cobblers kids never have shoes!” My other excuse has always been that I am not technical so it isn’t my role to set this up.

One of our business partners had offered to go through and teach me how to create opportunities in our system, which I was frightened to tackle as I didn’t know where to start.

What was so great about this session from my perspective is that it wasn’t about the technology, sure there was a tool to use, but it was more about defining each step in the process and once defined putting the information into the tool.

The funny thing is that of course when we talk to partners about how to approach their clients about business process management solutions, we regularly tell them that the hardest part is defining the process – the tool that we have will just do the job. Yet I as an experienced vendor of such an application had not implemented the same methodology into my own internal system.

I also realized that as a non technical user that we are really the drivers for using systems we know in our heads what we are trying to achieve and it takes a great consultant to have a conversation with you to dig into your mind and to teach you how to best use your internal tools be they CRM, ERP or Business Process Management.

So I would like to thank Charlie Kemmerer of CRMPlus Consulting not just for his time and patience, but for his great insights. Not only did I learn how to use my CRM, I learned real time how to define my process and I gained some confidence in how to use my tools. Plus I learned what it is like to be a Customer who doesn’t know what they don’t know about their application, but does know in their mind all the answers to the process that they need, to make their solution work for them.

I now have a lot more work to do to finish the job I started but at least I have the insight on where to start.

 

CRMPlus Consulting, a business automation solutions specialist for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software applications, is pleased to announce the successful implementation of Sage SalesLogix for University Community Health (UCH).  

“UCH chose SalesLogix because it provides an easy to use and easy to upgrade platform”, states Charles Kemmerer, president of CRMPlus Consulting. “They chose us to implement it for them due to our approach and extensive experience and understanding of the medical industry.”  

CRMPlus Consulting has configured SalesLogix as a territory management tool for UCH and their Physician Liaisons.  This allows them to manage relationships and scheduled ‘touches’ with important physicians, as well as developing and managing new physician relationships. SalesLogix has also offered the ability to implement processes to allow the Liaisons to easily track and manage physician issues through to completion.  

 

A publicly traded company, Concurrent Computer Corporation displays technological innovation on a daily basis. From the creation and support of video-on demand systems for digital cable and DSL providers to the creation of flight simulators for the military, Concurrent has a technical mastery of all facets of their business. The one skill that eluded them prior to meeting the CRMPlus team was customer relationship management. CRMPlus hit pause on more than 15 ACT! systems and their biweekly consolidation, and replaced them with a more streamlined, effective and proven solution. Read more …