Give me more customers! The single biggest challenge in today's competitive business market is how to get more customers in your door. For years I have traveled all over the world from Dubai to New York City, listening to business owners, VP's of Marketing, VP's of Sales, and they all say the same thing. "Give me more qualified customers!". If you have too many customers, then stop right now. This article is not for you. It's for the 99.9% of business owners who are struggling to get qualified leads in the door.
Digital Signs and the Power of CRM!
Like most of us, you might find just the mere act of marketing and advertising your business daunting. How do I determine what my market is? Who is my core customer? What are their buying habits? How do I develop and advertising strategy? How do I get content that is compelling to my audience? Should I be utilizing social media and social marketing as part of my business? Where do I start?
Here is where you start. Developing your strategy starts with your customer. Everything you do from advertising, marketing, purchasing, selling, distribution, all starts with the customer. How do you develop that intimate connection to the customer? You start with a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. What is CRM? Well, CRM is a software solution that captures everything you do that touches your customer. If your not collecting data on your customer, then your guessing and that's why we start here.
In the early 2000's a CRM captured contact information and that was about it. Phone numbers, birthdays, notes, and miscellaneous information regarding your customer. Today, CRM is the tool that brings together our contact management system, email marketing, marketing, sales force automation, accounting system, lead nurturing, Enterprise Resource Package (ERP), inventory, customer service, and sales pipeline data. It is becoming the Business Operating System (BOS), a collection point of data that is your customer. One other major bonus of having a CRM system is help in developing your Return On Investment (ROI) for everything you do that touches your customer.
Where do I get a CRM? Well, if you're a small business (1 to 15 employees) then you should look to the Cloud or Software as a Service (SaaS). The most popular CRM for small business is Salesforce.com, and it works great for someone who is just starting out. They have great support, lots of partners who develop applications that plug into SalesForce.com, and you can access it anywhere. There are other vendors like Sage, Microsoft, Pivotal, and Netsuite that offer similar offerings, but don't have the easy integration Salesforce provides for small businesses.
So, the next blog article (Part II) I am going to talk about application integration. What is this? Well, it's how to integrate applications like your accounting system into your CRM. Then we move into advertising strategy (which includes Digital and LED Signs