Strengthening Customer Communication
It doesn’t matter what size your business is; customer acquisition comes down to one very important factor: trust. Any communication you have with a lead, a prospect, an existing customer, is done with the aim of building on that first contact. Turning your customer communication from that initial intrigue into a transaction requires multiple points of contact over time. It requires an understanding between the two of you.
Building a relationship with a potential customer means bridging the gap between problem and solution. Like any trust, one of the most effective ways you can build it is to show you listen; that you understand where the customer is coming from. As a business, you’re meeting them halfway.
A Problem for Customer Communication: Data Here, There and Everywhere
So meeting your prospect halfway requires listening, and understanding what they want/need. Of course, this is where your lead management comes in. Whenever they come into contact with your business—you need to make sure you’re aware of it.
But it’s one thing to be aware of it. It’s another to collect all that information together and have it to hand. If you’re a small business collecting information, it’s likely your data is stored in multiple places at once; for example, in paper notes, spreadsheets, and other apps you might use to run your business.
When you have your data here, there and everywhere, the information you can produce at any one time is incomplete; a jigsaw with half the puzzle pieces missing. Ultimately, that impacts your customer communication. Gaps in your knowledge will puncture holes in your efforts to build up that trust. You might miss opportunities to pick up the phone and remind your prospect of the benefits of your product/service. Crucially, your prospect will be considering your commerce as part of a solution; if you can’t appeal to their problem enough, then you’re selling yourself short when you don’t need to.
For Customer Communication, Consistency is Key
Who can shake hands with their arms tied behind their back? By using a CRM, you can untie that rope to tie it around all your data instead, keeping it one place. Then, when you need it, you can pick and choose from the best bits during your customer communication, tailoring each part to the talking points your prospect is most interested in.
It is essential to give the impression this is all par for the course for your business. Trust needs constant reassurance: you have to show it is your business that is self-assured, not just the salesperson behind the phone. This is another perk of the CRM: without one, notes can get lost, information restricted if connected to a previous employee’s personal account. But in a business’ CRM account, it stays no matter who comes or goes. This sets up a sense of reliability for any future transactions, as well as for your current individual conversations, and sets the foundations for your customer retention efforts.
Improve Your Customer Communication
So to secure your customer acquisition, you have to build your prospects’ trust. In order to build the trust, you have to convince the prospect you listen and understand them. What, then, are the methods you can employ to polish your customer communication skills?
1. Lean On Your CRM
Your CRM does half the job for you by storing all your data in one place. Joined-up data means less time searching for that little tidbit of information you uncovered; that can mean more time on the phone to your prospect, or fine-tuning your campaign to deliver the best results possible.
Sales pipelines in your CRM provide a huge benefit for businesses, as it visualises the sales process you’re working through. Being able to see where every single one of your prospects are at a glance help you to contextualise your conversations with your contacts; you’ll know how close or far they are to a deal, and in turn this will influence what you talk to your prospects about.
CRMs, like popcorn, make use of reminders to help you keep on track with your customer communication. Reminders are helpful so you don’t forget to show up, and break that trust. You have your information right in front of you exactly when you need it. CRMs help you prepare that conversation before you take the call, and store your new notes while they’re fresh just after the call.
2. Tags Are Your Friend
popcorn allows you to make extensive use of the tagging tool. Tags are great for categorisation, which makes it much easier to collate contact lists your marketing efforts, such as email campaigns, much easier. Tagging your prospects means they’re accessible wherever you’re in your CRM, and ultimately your ability to reach out to your prospect improves too.
Tags can also—and importantly—be used as labels for your prospect. Prospects aren’t just contact details; they’ve got interests and quirks like anyone else. You can enrich your customer communication by collecting this information from wherever you source it—social media, phone calls—and by storing it in your CRM, a once-trivial nugget of information may come in handy when trying to warm a person up to your conversation. You can then target them based on this information, to fine-tune your marketing even more, and get better results.
3. Regularly Review
The time you spend reviewing and updating the information on your CRM does prove effective in the long run. Automation can save you from updating everything constantly, and therefore losing time that way—but there is no harm done in giving your brain a refresher on who the prospects are and what point of the customer buying cycle they’re at. You know who’s your priority, and who you can leave to be nurtured for a while; this way, you don’t miss opportunities, or annoy once-potential customers by pestering them about buying before they’re ready to have that conversation.
One tip is to do a ten minute review of your sales pipeline each day, so you know who you need to communicate with on a daily basis. This way, you’re building up a habit and training your brain to be on the ball about what you need that day. This will typically save you 25% of your sales management time!
4. Consistent Branding
This is a reiteration of the above point, simply because it’s an important one—but if you slip, it can have an impact. Luckily, CRMs often come with email marketing tools and templates, in which you can insert your branding. For example, popcorn can clone your branding on your website to create a brand consistent landing page. Its drag and drop editor allows for customisation of your email template, so any customer communication you have drives home the point of your business’ self-assurance, and you can be sure that your team are always consistent.
5. Read Your Reports
CRMs provide more definitive reporting, connecting activity from across a variety of sources to present you with more in-depth results. You can see how much your prospect is engaging, and the areas of your business they are most interested in.
All of this can help you refine your strategy for selling to that particular prospect. What are they responding to? This can be a conversation starter, however you reach out to them.
That being said, ensure you’re not generating overly complicated reports for the sake of it. The best reports are the ones that you take the most information from and—like customer communication—you can only do that if you understand them! Keep your reports simple, so you can get the information you need instantly.
6. Ask ‘Why?’
Nurturing your prospects gets a lot easier in a CRM; particularly with a highly visual CRM like popcorn, you can actually see where they are in your sales process and whether they’re progressing like they should. Should they be behind in your estimations, you can figure out what’s going on. What aren’t you responding to? Or what haven’t they seen from you? Should they be included in a campaign? Asking yourself questions to keep yourself—and your prospect—progressing along the sales process will make sure they don’t slip back permanently; and you don’t miss out on an opportunity you could’ve kept.
Ask your prospects why too! If they trust you, it is most likely that they will want to tell you about their problem they’re trying to fix, and sometimes the contexts surrounding it. People like to talk, no matter who they are. Having that extra information could be the key to unlocking the best path forward for your business and your prospect; regardless, it still proves to your prospect that you’re truly wanting to help. Building up that trust can only go one way.
7. Build Up The Bigger Picture
CRMs connect the links between your prospect’s activity, from any source you’re connected to. Whether they’re visiting your social media and your website, looking at certain pages on your site, or opening your newsletter emails, you can spot and focus in on what they’re viewing, and why. All of this information from multiple sources puts another piece in the puzzle. From there, you can fill out that jigsaw, seeing each detail and how it contributes towards the bigger picture. Your prospect will have multiple interests and considerations to take into account as they decide what and where to buy; being informed of this puts you in the best position to appeal to these and convince them of your business’ ability to deliver.
Your customer communication is a vital aspect of your acquisition efforts, from the very start of your lead management to the final stages of making a transaction. Your prospects need to be able to trust your business, to know that you have their best interests at heart. This can’t be done if you don’t have all the information to hand.
This is where having the right CRM comes in. Joining up all your data and knowing how to access it in your software will make a huge difference to your acquisition potential. Understanding your prospects, as future customers, as individual, will strengthen your customer communication significantly, and give a much-deserved boost to your prospecting.
This proved to be the case for Frank eXchange, whose customer communications were suffering because their data was not joined up. But integrating popcorn into their business increased the amount of sales calls made by 25%. You can read about that here.