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What does your database look like? Do you use it? How validated is it?

This will be mere basics to some of you, whilst others are yet to realise the potential they have right there at their fingertips - the power, the opportunity, the growth - cross selling, upselling or just plain selling!!! And then there is Big Data - perhaps we'll leave that for a later article though!

Your customer database is the most powerful tool you have in business. It needs to be updated (validated) and added to on a weekly basis - combine the power of your database to all your marketing activity, newsletters, social media, direct mail and so on!

Driven from a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system your database has the potential to be the main sales driver for your business.

If your database is low in content consider purchasing a 'list' of prospective customers from a list broker - just work out what your customer 'looks like' from a demographic/geographic point of view, find out how much a 'record' (customer) cost is and purchase!

What is CRM and what are the benefits?

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a system which aims at improving the relationship with existing customers, finding new prospective customers, and winning back former customers. This system can be brought into effect with software which helps in collecting, organizing, and managing the customer information.

Implementing a CRM strategy is advantageous, if not critical to both small and large business ventures.

Improved customer relations

One of the prime benefits of using a CRM is obtaining better customer satisfaction. By using this strategy, all dealings involving servicing, marketing, and selling your products to your customers can be carried out in an organised and systematic way. You can also provide better services to customers through improved understanding of their issues and this in turn helps in increasing customer loyalty and decreasing customer agitation. In this way, you can also receive continuous feedback from your customers regarding your products and services. It is also possible that your customers recommend you to their acquaintances, when you provide efficient and satisfactory services.

Increase customer revenues

By using a CRM strategy for your business you will be able to increase the revenue of your company to a great extent. Using the data collected, you will be able to popularize marketing campaigns in a more effective way. With the help of CRM software, you can ensure that the product promotions reach a different and brand new set of customers, and not the ones who had already purchased your product, and thus effectively increase your customer revenue.

Maximise upselling and cross-selling

A CRM system allows up-selling which is the practice of giving customers premium products that fall in the same category of their purchase. The strategy also facilitates cross selling which is the practice of offering complementary products to customers, on the basis of their previous purchases. This is done by interacting with the customers and getting an idea about their wants, needs, and patterns of purchase. The details thus obtained will be stored in a central database, which is accessible to all company executives. So, when an opportunity is spotted, the executives can promote their products to the customers, thus maximising up-selling and cross selling.

Better internal communication

Following a CRM strategy helps in building up better communication within the company. The sharing of customer data between different departments will enable you to work as a team. This is better than functioning as an isolated entity, as it will help in increasing the company’s profitability and enabling better service to customers.

Optimize marketing

With the help of CRM, you will be able to understand your customer needs and behavior, thereby allowing you to identify the correct time to market your product to

the customers. CRM will also give you an idea about the most profitable customer groups, and by using this information you will be able to target similar prospective groups, at the right time. In this way, you will be able to optimize your marketing resources efficiently. You can also be ensured that you don’t waste your time on less profitable customer groups.

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