e-CRM – is it good for you?
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e-CRM – is it good for you?

28th August 2012
By Staff

So you have a marketing team that creates and designs all sorts of communications for your customers to promote your product/service. Does it work? What’s the level of engagement? How many customers interact with your marketing? Is it cost effective?

If you’re not entirely clear on the answers then it may be time to consider your options.

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is in its simplest form, is a company-wide business strategy designed to reduce costs and increase profitability by strengthening customer satisfaction, building customer loyalty, and mining advocacy. If implemented successfully, this strategy can provide a holistic view of your customers in real time thus allowing you to learn more about your customers’ needs and behaviours so that you can develop stronger relationships with them.

eCRM is simply an electronic version of this and in this post we’ll focus on email as the chosen method of communication.

For an eCRM strategy to be truly effective, you’ll need to make sure everyone in your company (at all levels) is on board with it. This is because you will need input from each department to be able to plan how best to go about it, what kind of customer information is relevant and how it will be used. You’ll then need to choose the right technology and decide on what it is that needs to be automated.

Depending on the tech expertise and capability in-house, you can either develop your own or buy in the software.  There are many CRM solutions available; you just need to do your research. But wait! Don’t jump head first into this and just pick the first one you read about.

In order to choose an eCRM system that is right for you, consider the below:

Have you identified worthwhile CRM objectives?

If you have never explored CRM before, ask yourself what you want to get out of it and what success will look like to you. Examples can include: Client Retention, Cross-Selling, On-Boarding, Key Account Management and Incentive Administration. Whatever you settle on, just don’t make them too generic.

Have you thought about what the road-blocks will be?

What challenges will come up when you apply eCRM to your current environment? How will eCRM automation improve your process? Will your staff throw up road-blocks? What might those be? Examples could include: Poor customer data or unclear objectives. Include your staff in this planning to gain their buy-in up front.

How will this impact the business financially?

As well as time investment, an eCRM programme will no doubt require an injection of finance. But if thought out and executed properly, this doesn’t have to break the bank. After all, you’re doing this to reduce costs and increase profitability in the long run so it will be worth it. Factor in where in the business you want to see costs reduced and how you can use the eCRM to help you achieve this.

Have you thought long-term?

Establishing basic eCRM objectives initially is a sure bet to achieving overall success, however, over time, you will want to move your business to the next level. While you may start with simply managing and measuring the impact of your marketing emails, the next natural step will be to build client profiles, run surveys and drive proactive sales.

If you have done the hard work before you explore eCRM software options, you will find that the evaluation process will be dramatically easier. Why? Because in doing the hard work first, you will know exactly what you need to find success.