We live in a world of customization. Everything from soda cans to food packages, sneakers to cars, and phone cases to whiskey can be personalized and shaped to fit our specific lifestyles. So it’s no surprise that consumers are demanding unique experiences all the way through the buyer journey. To make an impactful statement, brands need to create intimacy between customer and product.
This is becoming increasingly difficult and much easier than it’s ever been before. While that might sound like an oxymoron, it’s a natural consequence of having so many options. Today, businesses can entrance and enthrall shoppers in a thousand different ways. Yet, the question remains, how do you hold the attention of consumers who already have it all?
The Power of the Personal
The key to creating effective, memorable buyer experiences is history. It’s no longer enough just to put a name on a product or offer a choice of colors. In order to generate loyalty, brands need to nurture their customers. They must know when their birthdays are, what they like to eat, what hobbies they develop, and, most importantly, why they choose particular products.
Ideally, businesses should keep a full history of customer communications and transactions, with a comprehensive narrative for every single one. This is the secret to modern marketing. It’s about never having to ask redundant questions because you already have the answer. It’s about being able to predict the next decision because you’re familiar with their habits.
The good news is that customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you achieve all of these things. It creates and stores visual data in the form of customer journey maps. Every point of contact is recorded, so you have a chance to build up a picture of what each customer is hoping to get from your brand.
We’re going to look at five different ways you can use CRM software to attract new customers, nurture existing ones, and boost brand potential.
Smarter Digital Media
Customer relationship management software is a great way to pinpoint customers who are receptive to deals and offers. By evaluating the previous purchases, shopping habits, and timing of likeminded target audiences, you can find out how to position display media for maximum effect and minimum invasiveness.
With CRM solutions, it’s easier to identify the different phases of a customer journey. It extracts and presents “data points,” particularly in the form of insights like which websites users arrive from and what type of marketing messages draw them close. If this data is skillfully leveraged, media in search and social can be molded to become more relevant and valuable to the customer.
Tuning Into Next Best Action
Once a customer has been led to your website, the race to influence their next decision begins. This is when you have an abundance of chances to customize the buyer journey, leaving a lasting impression throughout your content.
Imagine you have a shopper who comes to your website to find out more about a dishwasher after seeing a picture on social media. You check out the habits of their demographic group and find that their biggest concern when researching appliances is what makes the machine better than cheaper products. In response, you add a compare/contrast section on the product page in question. This is the beauty of CRM data. It gives you the power to answer concerns through your content before they’ve even been raised.
A Bespoke Purchasing Experience
As consumers become increasingly conscious about the ideas, materials, and manufacturing methods they invest in, it’s becoming more common for them to seek direct communication. This is a good opportunity to show customers you know what they need before they do. It’s important for sales teams to have solid data about where individuals are in the buyer journey.
With CRM data on past purchases, surfing habits, communication styles, and more, you should be able to pinpoint the factors likely to influence their next decision. When your sales staff have these insights, they can start to connect on a deeper level and direct customers towards the end of the conversion funnel.
The Value of Good Timing
If you make full use of CRM software, you’ll have a window into the motivations of your target audience. This helps you cultivate a relationship before a purchase, maintain it during purchasing, and nourish it after they’ve purchased. While you should always be ready to respond to inbound interest, it’s equally important to know when to make the first move.
One example of this kind of proactive marketing is an office supplies company that keeps a record of the dates customers buy printer ink. Armed with this information, they can send out coupons when they know those same customers are likely to be running dry again. It’s not invasive if they know, from CRM data, that they’re almost certain to reorder with their company.
The Human Touch Is Everything
CRM vendors like Sage, Infor, and Bloomerang are bringing a new level of digital automation to marketing processes. However, it’s important not to forget the end goal. You should always be trying to humanize the buying process, even while optimizing it on your end. When used correctly, CRM tools uncover human needs, rather than just quantifying them.
If you can find ways to exploit these key insights and make interactions with buyers more intimate, you’ll be treated to a strategic advantage over market rivals. The prize at the end of the road is more sales, higher conversions, and a fiercely loyal audience that trusts and defends your brand.
The Right Way to Safeguard Your Future
It could be argued that these days, there’s no such thing as a truly offline transaction. Even when they’re not purchasing from online stores, consumers are using a variety of digital services to source, locate, and access products. They’re reading online reviews, seeking out opinions on social media, and sharing information with fellow shoppers.
It’s your job to understand how these processes work and what kind of impact they have on purchasing decisions. With the support of CRM software and customer journey maps, this is becoming much simpler. However, you do need to invest in sophisticated “best of breed” tools that offer the chance for organic, responsive development.
According to recent research, the number of digital touchpoints is increasing by around 20% every year. This creates increasingly complex customer needs, so flexible, adaptable software is essential if you want to stay on top of the change. In other words, put your money and your faith in vendors that are committed to consistently improving their CRM solutions.
Finding Ways to Operationalize the Journey
Customer journey mapping is not a new process, but now there are more ways than ever to take advantage of this data. The big challenge is transitioning a map from theoretical framework to the actionable tool. It’s no good creating rich, sprawling customer histories if you don’t know how to apply them. You need to operationalize them so that they hold practical value.
It means baking customer maps into CRM software, and making sure that both service and sales departments have full visibility. This is the right way to ensure sales-led teams know exactly where each customer has progressed on their journey. They should be provided with prescriptive insights that make it clear what move to take next.
It’s then possible to direct subsequent CRM data back to customer journey analytics and reporting tools. Ideally, your software should give you a clear breakdown of all the tasks and actions that must be carried out in order to move a customer towards a sale. In this way, you can fully operationalize the buyer journey and enmesh it with the daily routines of sales and service staff.