Executing a successful customer relationship strategy

Marketers often talk about customer relationship management (CRM) as a way to manage and grow their customer portfolio. A primary use of CRM is to measure customer lifetime value (CLV) in order to provide your most profitable and loyal customers the best customer service and loyalty rewards. Customer lifetime value is the prediction of a particular customer’s profitability over a span of time.

However, CRM can be utilized for much more than managing your current customer base. A truly successful CRM strategy considers the customer at each point of the customer decision journey, from awareness of the brand to conversion and loyalty. By taking this approach, sales and marketing can truly align on the view of the individual customer, considering all interactions over time. Passive interactions are those such as simply visiting a website, opening an email or clicking on a pay-per-click ad. Active interactions include purchasing a product or interacting with customer service. Both types can (and should) be tracked in your CRM.

For larger organizations, enabling a single customer view means integrating databases and platforms, such as CRM, marketing automation and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). These integrations can be costly and require significant resources. However, they’re essential due to customers’ increasing expectations that they receive the right message, at the right time, in the right place. Customers will no longer overlook brands’ blunders when it comes to marketing exchanges. For example, your current customers don’t want, nor should they receive, messaging related to products they already own or aren’t interested in.

So how can you deliver an exceptional customer experience with these platforms? Here are four ways:

  1. Use customer preferences to deliver a personalized product or service.
    • With the depth and breadth of available data around individual customers today, you can now provide recommendations on products based on their previous purchases and location. For example, you can display the store closest to their home and serve them ultra-personalized messaging and content.
    • An example of a brand doing this well is Birchbox, the monthly beauty subscription service. Birchbox curates the sample size products in their subscription boxes to best meet their customers’ beauty preferences (e.g., hair type, age, beauty knowledge and other criteria).
  2. Contextualize your customer service interactions.
    • When customer service agents ask for a customer’s name, phone number and other information, they’re searching for any information available in the system. By merging your customer service management and customer relationship management systems, you arm your customer service agents with key customer data including, but not limited to, purchases, preferences and location. Collecting this data makes it much more personalized and relevant to their (and your) needs.
    • For example, Nestlé now has a permanent space within Salesforce’s office in New York, focused on eight of Nestlé’s water brands. A digital command center constantly monitors and manages online and offline data, such as social media activity, email program statistics, media buys, and even a map that shows all U.S. retailers that sell the Nestlé water brands. The ultimate goal is to actively use and effectively respond to customer service questions online and optimize their ongoing marketing programs.
  3. Continually nurture customers.
    • Integrating marketing automation and CRM will enable you to use insights gained during the lead nurturing process to continue to provide value to current customers. By knowing your customer, you can provide content and tools they’re looking for, on the channels they most frequently use. With advanced lead generation, you’re able to ultimately deliver more information than ever before on your prospects and customers’ needs and wants to marketing and other departments as well.
    • For example, ClickDimensions is a marketing automation platform that natively lives within Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It enables organizations to track customer interactions with all owned and earned channels. Once those prospects have become customers, companies can use previous activity the customer has taken to cross-sell or upsell them.
  4. Report across the entire customer decision journey.
    • By integrating your new business and current customer databases, your brand will have a much clearer view into each customer’s journey with your brand, including the interactions across channels they took to ultimately reach their purchase decision. Brands can view this data in larger segments and queries, or distill it down to the individual consumer.
    • Data visualization tools, like Microsoft Power BI, allow marketers to develop dashboards with key performance indicators (KPIs) in every stage of the journey, using CRM data and other sources, such as Google Analytics, to garner insights that propel your marketing programs from now to next.

Today, a grand wealth of knowledge is available to meet – and hopefully exceed – customer expectations and make them loyal advocates and champions of your brand. However, a clean and well-managed database is imperative to the success of any technology ecosystem. With processes in place to ensure clean data collection (cleaning lists, rules for data entry and a logically sound CRM database), you can be confident the insights you’re acting upon will increase revenue and customer satisfaction.

A well planned and executed CRM strategy will give you actionable, strategic insights that are invaluable in optimizing your marketing programs and taking your brand to the next level.

For more tips and insights on how to take your marketing from now to next, subscribe to our newsletter or contact Nicole Stone – Senior Vice President, Business Development at or 414.270.7235.

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