As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard the phrase, “Customers are the lifeblood of every business.” And it’s true — without customers, there’s no business. They drive revenues, therefore, impacting agencies’ longevity and long-term success.
But acquiring new customers and retaining old ones isn’t an easy feat. A report from HubSpot shows that customer acquisition has become more complex as customers’ trust in business is eroding, leading them to distrust company press releases and paid ads on social media.
Retaining customers also comes with several challenges, too. A study from the Northbridge Group shows that customers will switch to a competitor after one bad experience with a brand. Customers will also stop buying from brands if they experience poor personalization tactics.
But all is not lost — more and more agencies are now relying on CRM to streamline processes, especially those involving customer acquisition and retention.
What is a CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, or the process of managing interactions with existing and potential customers during the sales process. agencies invest in a CRM system to achieve one goal: improve customer relationships.
Contact management is the core of every CRM system. With this feature, agencies can easily store and manage all data for every kind of contact, whether from leads or business partners.
Additionally, the best CRM software shows how hot or cold a lead is with lead scoring. Based on the criterion you set, it automatically adds points to a lead record for important actions your lead takes (like clicking a link on your site or submitting a form).
But there are limitations to what CRMs can do. For instance, it’s not built to help with backend operations like finance, engineering, shipping, or production. It also can’t manage what they don’t see — staff working with leads outside the system will reduce its effectiveness.
Understanding the Value of CRM in Your Agency
CRM is more than just a system or process — it’s a business culture focused on winning, keeping, and valuing the right customers. Effective customer relations management is a crucial element of building successful agencies. When you have strong customer relationships, you’ll earn more profits from repeat buyers and word-of-mouth referrals.
CRMs can contribute a lot to agencies, namely:
Automate Mundane Tasks
Mundane tasks, like answering commonly asked questions and sending emails about upcoming promotions, are essential in customer service but time-consuming. Manually completing these tasks also increases the risk of errors.
A CRM system frees team members from time-consuming, mundane tasks without compromising the quality of their output. On the contrary, CRMs help teams do more in a limited amount of time.
For instance, CRMs can send 1,000 personalized emails about an upcoming flash sale a few hours before it starts. It can also weed out thousands of leads, so you can determine which customers have forgotten about your agency and which ones aren’t ready to make a purchase yet.
The main benefit of automating mundane tasks is having customer service, marketing, and sales professionals focus more on tasks that matter the most, which is attracting, nurturing, and satisfying customers.
Better Customer Service
The quality of customer service an agency provides can make or break its success. Even if the business commits a mistake, 78% of customers will still patronize that business if they’re satisfied with the customer service provided. Additionally, 90% of customers will trust a business with customer service rated as “very good” by previous buyers.
Consistently providing excellent customer service is easier with the right CRM system. It helps agencies keep in touch, listen to customers’ needs, create personal relationships, and offer products or services that customers actually want.
As a result, agencies can take a more proactive approach to customer service, which in turn, builds customer loyalty and increases sales.
Centralized Database of Information
CRMs are designed to collect and store all of your customers’ information in one place, where stakeholders and teams can see it whenever needed. Having a central database of everything you know about your customers helps you identify the best methods to use to move them further along the sales funnel.
Most importantly, CRMs keep everyone within the agency on the same page. This is crucial, especially for agencies where customer service, sales, and marketing departments operate in different locations or need to interact with customers in different phases.
Let’s say you run a chain of stores selling vegan shampoo and conditioner. When a hotel signs a contract to buy products in bulk, the service department can see this through the CRM and act on it in real time. They can schedule the initial appointment immediately. And since the marketing department knows when the hotel purchased from the business, they can estimate when they’ll run out of supplies and determine the best time to offer promos.
With customer information available at everyone’s fingertips, everyone in the agency can work together to delight the customer. This also helps teams maintain a coherent brand voice.
Generate More Profit
Is your business struggling to generate profits? If so, it might be high time to use a CRM system. CRMs can improve other metrics of your agency, like the number of sales it makes.
According to Nucleus Research in 2011, the average ROI of CRMs was $5.60, meaning that for every dollar agencies spend on a CRM system, they earn back $5.60. In 2014, Nuclear Research found that the return increased to $8.71 — a 38% increase within three years. The study also highlighted that integrating CRMs with other internal applications increased productivity across operations, sales, and service departments and contributed to a 20% to 30% growth in business.
In other words, using CRM can help your agency earn more by improving existing processes, boosting productivity across departments, and supporting growth.
Improved Customer Retention
The cost of getting new customers is 5 to 25 times more than keeping existing customers. With this in mind, it’s crucial to implement strategies aimed to retain existing customers.
Marketing-focused CRMs can become an agency’s greatest ally in increasing customer retention rates. Given that customer data is stored and accessible across departments in CRMs, it’s easier for agencies to anticipate problems and solve them right away.
CRM systems also prevent customers from leaving (and transacting with the competitors) due to neglect, as agencies can easily create and send messages depending on where the customers are in the sales funnel. CRMs allow agencies to contact customers consistently through different communication channels, resulting in better engagement.
Make Data-Driven Decisions
Decision-making is an important skill every entrepreneur should have. But with so much at stake, even established and experienced entrepreneurs find it difficult to make the right decision every time.
Most CRM platforms come with data analytics tools that allow agencies to view insights that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye. With a CRM system, you can measure anything: from identifying customers’ sentiments and their expectations to assessing the performance of your teams and the efficacy of your existing marketing campaign.
With CRMs, you can make dashboards to organize customers based on specific demographics or characteristics. This makes it easier to target specific audiences and create marketing campaigns guaranteed to appeal to or impact that audience.
These insights help your agency forecast and eliminate the guesswork in making decisions. You can make the most out of the data provided by CRMs to learn more about your customers, sales performance, and pipelines to determine what to do next or how you should improve.
Manage Communication With Leads
Lead nurturing is often a complicated process, with several steps involved and opportunities to communicate. For instance, many agencies struggle to generate good quality and quantity of leads, preventing them from converting a lead to a customer and making sales.
The best CRM systems automatically manage the lead nurturing process by sending alerts to teams when they should reach out to a prospect. CRMs also track all interactions agencies make with prospects, whether they’re made through phone calls or emails.
Agencies invest in CRMs because it allows them to see the customer journey holistically. With every email you send to prospects or every time they move through the lead nurturing process, you can figure out what’s the best move to make. It’s like seeing the entire process from the top view, where you can easily come up with a decision on how to proceed.
Use CRM to Your Advantage
As customers’ behaviors and preferences change, using CRM is no longer optional — it has become an essential tool for agencies. Not having one can lead to stagnant customer service, poor team collaboration, inability to plan strategically, and inefficiency.
Ensure your agency embraces and offers a customer-centric approach by using a CRM system. The right CRM can become your most valuable asset in today’s competitive business landscape.