Implementing a successful Customer Relationship and Management system requires planning.
Our clients have lots of questions about the technology involved in implementing a successful customer relationship and management system. Increasingly, they also want to know how they can navigate the social media ecosystem-defined in a Forrester Research report released on Jan. 5, 2010, as "all the technologies that support the process of collaborating socially online with customers."
As a certified inbound marketing professional and a CRM consultant / implementer I'm ready and able to share pointers on both of these. But my first advice is to stop, think, and plan. In fact, that's exactly what the authors of the Forrester report recommend. They advocate using the POST method to determine your overall customer management strategy: People, Objectives, Strategy, and then Technology.
Who are you trying to reach? Why do they need what you offer? What's important to them? Where can you find them, both physically and online? Refer to your USP: Unique Selling Proposition. If you can't answer any of these questions, starting asking questions and listening carefully to the answers.
What are you trying to accomplish? Of course you want to sell them your products and services, but customer loyalty requires you to accomplish so much more. Solve their real issues. Is your goal, service that wows them? Do you want them to become your greatest sales team by helping you create buzz about their wonderful experience with you?
How do you plan to change your relationships with your customers to accomplish your objectives? Do you need to let them know you value them beyond the purchase? Do you need to create the environment for more conversation between them and you, and also between them and other customers and prospects?
What technology will empower you to carry out your strategy? Once you choose and customize the ideal CRM system for you, how will you use it fully?
You have to have a clear focus on who you're reaching and your objectives before you can strategize. Likewise, until you have a plan, choosing the right technology to carry it out is like playing the lottery.
Even if you've been using a CRM system for awhile, it's wise to evaluate and modify your plan using the P.O.S.T. system regularly. The many years of business relationship development can be used to help you optimize your existing CRM system to get more bang for your investment.
A trained, experienced consultant will help you clarify whom you're trying to reach and your objectives, map out your strategy, and then choose and use a great CRM system.
Reference: Band, William, and Natalie L. Petouhoff, with Connie Moore and Andrew Magarie; "Social CRM Goes Mainstream," Forrester Research Inc., Jan. 26, 2010.
How can you use the P.O.S.T. method to become more successful in other business projects?