They understand something that’s often forgotten in CRM strategies

Harvey helped me with several small projects around my home. He also painted my apartment.

This past week Harvey texted me to wish me Happy Holidays. He wrote that he’s grateful for the work he’s done for me and hopes I will always call him when I need work done.

Bella works in a beauty salon and is incredibly passionate about what she does for a living. I’m one of her loyal customers. Bella texts me every now and then to ask me how I am, if I’d like to make an appointment and to let me know when she’s away on vacation for a longer period of time.

Bella and Harvey don’t care much about marketing. Yet they always have customers. They didn’t purposefully implement a CRM strategy. Yet, they abound in loyal customers.

They understand something that’s often forgotten in meeting rooms in large companies. They know the relationships they build with their customers are the backbone of their business. When they talk with their customers, they’re genuine and authentic and eager to build a long lasting relationship.

Building long lasting and profitable relationships should be the goal of every CRM strategy.

CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s about using meaningful customer data to create strategies and systems that maximize each customer’s lifetime value. To maximize value, you have to build and strengthen a relationship.

Unfortunately, CRM is vastly misunderstood. It’s not just about a sophisticated tool or about customer intelligence. But more importantly, it’s not just about making more money from the customers you already have.

How you make more money from your customers matters. You can make more money in ways that set you up for customer retention and loyalty, or you can make more money in ways that set you up for one time customers. It’s easier to do the latter. But in the long run, the latter will harm your business.

No matter how big your company will get, no matter how big your customer database will grow, all your CRM efforts should ultimately be about creating relationships with individual customers. Not about mass marketing, but about recognizing each customer as a unique individual with unique desires. Not about shouting the same message to all your customers, but about saying the right thing at the right time to the right person. Not about creating a sale, but about creating lifetime sales.

Here’s a little exercise. Take a look at your marketing calendar, at all the marketing emails and all other 1:1 communication you have planned for the month ahead. How many of them resonate with the customer segment that’s receiving them so much so that these customers think that message was created for them and only them? How many push a mass marketing event? How many build an emotional connection? How many were created to make a sale and how many were created to strengthen a relationship and increase lifetime value?

Perhaps the reason why so many of us can’t answer these questions in a way that feels good to us is because it’s not always easy to create marketing that generates maximum sales and that also strengthens the relationship with customers as much as possible. It’s a mix of art and science. However, when your objective is to strengthen the relationship with your customers, and when you stay grounded in direct marketing and CRM best practices, it’s my experience that you will gain all the sales you deserve.