"The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer", Peter F. Drucker.
That statement from one of my mentors has always stuck with our business focus and links to our core purpose as a business.
Is that why your business exists? Entrepreneurs all have their own reasons, but they all have this in common: To keep existing, they must purposefully do three things, and to keep doing them.
1. Get customers.
Without people who want what you’re selling, you’re done. How do you attract people who need your product or service? How are you differentiating your products and services to educate and to beat the "no decision" competition? Without differentiated value for attracting new customers your business is subject to commodity pricing.
2. Grow customers.
Nurture them. Become an expert at their care and feeding. The more you know about them, the more you can expand your relationship with them. Look for ways you can add to their success. This will develop yours.
3. Keep customers.
The cost to gain a new customer is something like five times as much as to retain an existing one. When you invest in making your customers happy, their value to you grows. You’ll earn their loyalty, and that’s priceless. Loyal customers buy again and again. They buy additional products or services. They refer people in their network to you.
A Customer Relationship Development Plan:
To achieve the purpose of your business, you need a plan to carry out all three parts of this cycle, continuously and simultaneously. That plan is your Customer relationship management (CRM) strategy. Its foundation is a database that….
….is shared by your whole team. Now is not the time for your right hand to not know what your left hand is doing, metaphorically speaking. You can’t know your customers and therefore make them happy without everyone having all the information about them and your contacts with them.
….contains valuable information. Train everyone to stay on “high receive” when they’re relating to customers. Yes, record the bones of customers’ needs, purchases, and service issues. But also capture frustrations, desires, what pleases them, what else is going on in their lives. Individual information, in the aggregate, can guide you to wise business decisions.
….makes information easy to find. Is it accessible in the field, on the fly? It’d better be, because that’s what a sales force needs today. Does it take a minimum number of keystrokes to get what you want from it? Is the learning curve short to run the reports you need?
….is dynamic and adaptable. As your business grows, you might want to add or change fields. You might need to analyze your data in a different way. For sure you’re going to want to keep up with fast-moving inbound marketing trends. Make sure you have identified the social media 'handles' for your contacts in your CRM database: LinkedIn, FaceBook, Twitter....
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