BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT 26 images AUGUST 2021 What is a CRM and how can it help my business? C RM stands for customer relationship management, and CRM software is used to manage relationships with both your customers and your potential customers. As a business and its audience grow, the details of who their consumers are, how they interact with a business, and what they purchase soon becomes overwhelming, making it necessary to have all audience data in one centralised place for everyone in the business to access. What are the benefits of a CRM? Data management The process of gathering and managing data on potential and current customers, distributors, and wholesalers is essential for the smooth running of a garment decoration business. CRMs allow you to keep all of this information in one central database. This could include contact, behavioural, communication, and purchase data. This means that everyone in your business will be able to easily access the same information to help with their activities, which will save them having to trawl through various emails, notes, and documentation to keep up with activity. It will also ensure that all communications to these individuals, such as purchase updates, support queries, and invoicing, will be as accurate and as relevant as possible. Marketing automation As well as managing communications, you can use CRMs to automate messages to your audience, without having to lift a finger. Through a CRM, communications such as promotions, purchase confirmations, welcome emails, nurturing sequences, and ratings requests can all be set up and then left to run in the background – with minimal human input. This means that you can keep your audience engaged and up to date in a way that would be virtually impossible to do manually. Delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time. Personalised messaging With CRMs, you can take your messaging one step further by increasing the personalisation of your communications. You can choose to use the segmentation capabilities of a CRM to sort contacts based on the data that has been collected about them over time. You can then tailor your communications specifically to the needs of these segments. You can also use the data within your CRM alongside dynamic content to automatically populate personalised information into your communications. This could include abandoned basket reminders, related purchase suggestions, or personalised promotions, for example. Improved efficiency Did you know that salespeople spend 17% of their day on data entry? That is a lot of time and resource that could be spent elsewhere. CRMs don’t just automate messages, they can also automate those fiddly, time-consuming, basic tasks. This could include scheduling calls, entering data, logging customer interactions, and reporting. And with all of the relevant data stored in one place, marketers can easily establish the end-to-end ROI of their campaigns to help them grow and improve their activity without having to dig through disparate data, analytics, and software. How can you implement a CRM? Good platforms for smaller businesses include Klaviyo, Omnisend and ActiveCampaign. To make the process easier, many companies will work with a supplier, such as Bright Dials, to set up their CRM. However, there are a few things to consider before starting the implementation process: ■ The software you require it to integrate with, such as ecommerce platforms or finance software ■ The data you will need to migrate into your CRM, such as contact details ■ The scalability of a CRM, and if it can grow with your business ■ The on-going training and support available from the supplier It’s important to get all of this information right from the very start. By working with Bright Dials or a similar CRM and automation expert, you will be supported throughout every stage of the process, and you can be confident in choosing and implementing the right CRM for every part of your business. Expert advice on the business of running a garment decoration company Q&A Lindsey Pickles is a director of Bright Dials, an independent agency that specialises in helping businesses get the very most out of their CRM and automations. For more insights, download The Ultimate Guide to CRM from the Bright Dials website.