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If your business involves communication with customers, a CRM system (or customer relationship management system) is bound to be vital in reaching your goals. With the ability to manage all communications and details related to both existing and potential customers, there are loads of reasons why a CRM system is important for your business.

Learn about your customers

A CRM system will enable you to learn all about your customers, which is invaluable when it comes to knowing how to communicate with them in the future. For example, the system will record each customer’s purchase history, so you can spot patterns in what they buy and how often they make a purchase. You can use this information to decide which promotions or new product details to send to them, as you’ll know exactly what they’re interested in and how best to win more business from them.

In addition to this, you’ll be able to use your CRM system to see when a customer has opened an email from your company, and if they have clicked on any links. This will also assist in informing you about which communications are of interest to them and will help you to target these efficiently in the future.

Keep detailed customer records

CRM systems have the functionality to store all details about a customer, including any communication that they have had with you. This can really help with customer service, as if someone calls and relays information or an issue to someone, and then calls again further down the line and speaks to a different employee, all of their details will be on hand so they won’t need to repeat themselves. This will prevent the customer from getting frustrated and will save time and money as the call will be shorter, freeing up time for the employee to move onto something else.

Streamline your business processes

Due to being able to organise customer details effectively, you’ll find that there are a number of processes that can be streamlined by your CRM system, saving valuable time and money. For example, many admin tasks can be automated so that no-one in your workforce has to spend time doing them, and this can work across a number of areas, including marketing, data, and analytics.

Perhaps one of the best processes to streamline is the sales process, as this is potentially what brings in the most money. A CRM system has the capability to organise customers by conversion probability, so that time isn’t wasted on unsuccessful calls, and priority can be given to those who are most likely to make a purchase. It can also send prompts to employees about when follow-up calls need to be made so that those all-important leads aren’t left to go cold, and different types of calls can be assigned to the most relevant member of your team too, making for a completely efficient process.

Create better in-house communication

Sometimes it can be that different departments within a business are a little bit disjointed, and communication may not flow as well as you’d like it to. This can result in incorrect information being passed on, or details being changed between teams, which could then lead to mistakes and issues that impact on customers and profitability. By using a CRM system, you can ensure that every member of your workforce has access to the same information at all times, so nothing will get lost during communications between each other. This means that different teams can access the details that are relevant to them and can use these to drive groups of customers towards sales and will have access to everything from emails and phone call notes to appointments added to calendars.

Improve data and reporting

Accurate data and reporting are key within a business, as these factors are what you can use to understand your customers and find out what will encourage them to make a purchase. As all details are saved within a CRM from across the company, the system can analyse all of your data as a whole and can create reports which are easy to digest and include the information that is important to you and the department that you work in.

Now that you know how important a CRM system is for your business, it’s time to start looking at how you can implement one into your own company and start getting excited about all of the benefits associated with this.

Management Software Display

Every good business knows that the key to achieving growth is through the speed and quality with which your customer service delivers, especially when you own a membership-based organisation.

It’s important to listen to your members and hear from them directly what exactly it is they are looking for. Luckily, we live in an era where technology is so intertwined with our day-to-day lives, making it easier, more than ever, to get in touch with your members, and hear their answers firsthand. It’s no exaggeration to say that they key to succeeding as a business is literally right in the palm of your hands.

You know for a fact that organising member subscriptions and scheduling events can be tiring. All of these are part of membership management and it can really take up all your time, making it difficult, sometimes even impossible, to attend to other core operations. But that’s precisely what modern technology is for—making life more efficient and convenient for you.

Here’s how integrating management software can help you grow your business:

Easy Onboarding

Onboarding is, naturally, a crucial step in ensuring that you won’t go out of business. However, onboarding can be a troublesome task, given that there’s just so much to do – reaching out to people, convincing them of the rewards and bonuses that your business can offer, showing them around the system, and so on and so forth. 

So if you are looking for ways to make onboarding a little less stressful software like this is the way forward. With good technology, it only takes a few clicks to set up an account for your new members, giving them an interactive platform where they can easily review their perks and benefits, and be updated on any rewards and gift programs, promos and discounts, and other happenings in your business.

Streamlined Reporting and Analytics

Another thing most subscription-based businesses face is the challenge of reporting and managing analytics. At times, this leaves you with an additional cost just to get consistent status reports.

With a management software, preparing and assessing these reports will no longer be a problem. They are designed to handle big data and can quickly and accurately sort through numerous reports and analytics. You can rest easy knowing that the information you get is not only as precise as possible, but also easily readable and interpreted even if you’re not an analytics expert.

Organised Database

Stemming from the previous point, you would also want to keep your database updated and add, edit and delete entries as often as necessary. Now, you can always choose the traditional way of updating a database, but there is a high chance for human error and it can be a very time-consuming process.

What you need is a good management software that lets you add, edit and delete entries accurately and with ease. This software should automate most of your business processes without jeopardising its quality.

Efficient Communication

A management software program should also ease your communication process, as this is crucial to sustaining your business. We’re not only talking about communication within the business, but also with your members.

The tools you use should be accessible to everyone that needs to be on-board, but still secure enough that no crucial information is compromised. Additionally, they should be efficient and ensure you are connected and reachable by your audience at all times, something that is particularly important for the modern organisation.

Cover of JAM May 2012“By the end of 2012 there will be more connected devices than people on Earth”: the first sentence of Heather Maitland‘s article really kicks off The latest edition of JAM is a very timely look at mobile marketing. A host of excellent articles that build up to the final one (well it’s in the middle really) by Roger Tomlinson, which is the most poignant: the impact that social media development has had on how people buy. But more of that later.

Heather has done an excellent job on summarising where we are and where it seems to be heading- smart phones, tablets, Facebook, twitter, shopping …it’s big business and one we can’t avoid. After all the mind blowing stats, comes the little one, and for us the key one, basically you’ve got three chances before people give up on your mobile site.

So what makes for a good user experience? Well Heather starts us off with a good checklist ( if you want it, then buy a copy of JAM!) and the following articles start to put flesh on it.

Loic Tallon in an interview with Helen Bolt, talks us through how to create a good mobile experience. Same hymn sheet as me I think : talk in terms of the experience and the technology comes later; be specific about objectives…spot on.

Amy Clarke tells us not to neglect our email – for most it is still a bigger pool than our Facebook fans ( and it has less distractions ), but remember that more and more people are reading it on their phones, so follow Amy’s advice and make your email mobile ready.

Jim Richardson talks about apps or website optimisation, otherwise called responsive websites (these scale and change their layout depending on the device they are viewed on – have a look at Masque-Arts and change the width of your browser). Faced with the cost of app development and fragmented smartphone platforms, he thinks that arts organisations should take step back from apps and consider how their website performs on smaller screens.

Chris Unitt then looks at some latest stats and follows on from Jim’s article in comparing responsive sites to mobile specific sites.

Then we step into the world of the app! Vicky Lee gives us the background to developing the amazing StreetMuseum app from the Museum of London (what do you mean you haven’t installed it? Do it now and be inspired). And Allegra Burnette discusses integrating mobile into the mix at MoMA.

To this point the articles have given us an insight of what to do, how to do it and some fascinating peeks into what has been done. Roger‘s article is the key as it is really the why. Marketing had changed, it is more intrusive than ever before. Social media pushed it down this path and the mobile world has consolidated this – marketing really has become a brand in your hand. As Roger says it is up close and personal. By taking our marketing into the social media world we are butting into conversations among friends. We must be careful here as the potential for rejection is very high. Roger‘s observation is that we are now helping people to buy not selling. Of course that is what the best selling had always done, an no matter how we approach it selling is the end goal. So it’s marketing Jim, but not how we know it.

The Journal of Arts Marketing is published by The Arts Marketing Association

A desk in an office.Image via Wikipedia

2011 has been a difficult year for arts organisations. Early this year 206 organisations found out they had had their applications for funding rejected by the Arts Council.

The impact of these funding cuts will depend to some extent on the size of the arts organisation you work in. If you are a larger organisation, you may have other sources of revenue and therefore be able to withstand the worst of harsh cuts. If you are a smaller organisation or have been heavily or entirely dependent on Arts Council funding you may suddenly find yourself in the position of trying to find a viable way forward.

So now is the time the way you deal with your customers becomes incredibly important. It’s the one thing that can make the difference between your future security or disappearing off the arts scene forever. You need to explore how you currently manage your customer relationships – do you have a reliable customer relationship management system that can give you the information you need on customers and patrons at the click of a button? Do you know what marketing campaigns you are running and if they are working? Do you have good mailing lists that you can quickly target if you need to promote an event (and bring sales in)? If the answer is no then now is definitely the time to invest more in your customer relationship marketing (CRM) system.

It might seem counterintuitive to invest in a software system when you are facing funding cuts. But that’s exactly the reason you need to do it now. If there is a chance your sources of revenue are going to dry up then you need new ways to bring money into your organisation. And that money comes from customers. If you aren’t talking and marketing to them effectively then you are missing out on the chance to sell to them. A good customer relationship management tool will allow you to:

  • control communication with your customers at both an individual and campaign level
  • pull all your lists and databases together in one place
  • update information for everyone in one place
  • manage memberships, collect donations, produce targeted mail shots and email newsletter
  • take bookings and sell merchandise.

Start by looking for a CRM system that integrates with your existing website, this will give you customers a simple way to interact with you and easily make purchases. Masque is designed specifically to work with your website to provide a seamless experience from sending a letter to a customer to them purchasing their ticket.

If you’d like to know more about CRM systems for your arts organisation call Masque Arts on +44 (0)20 7100 6010 or email us for further information.

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