Losing track of time has been one of the most disorienting aspects of the pandemic. In the early pandemic, losing track of days was common. “Is it Tuesday or Wednesday?” As the year has progressed — with no graduation ceremonies or summer vacations, cancelled sports seasons and muted holidays — the normal markers of time have been completely absent. To my daily life, the difference between March 24th and September 24th isn’t all that significant.
For client retention, that’s bad. Like forgetting-your-mom’s-birthday bad.
This year more than ever, I’m relying on our CRM to stay connected with customers and to be mindful of key events and milestones. Following are some of my favorite tactics and fields that help us keep track of important client data points.
Last Face to Face Meeting. This field notes the date of the last in-person meeting with a contact. We don’t like to go very long without speaking to our customers face to face. In early 2020, it was not uncommon for people to pull back from normal routines to reassess, but as the year progressed, we’ve seen a return to more normal activities. Staying connected with our customers, even if it’s a virtual call in lieu of an email, gives us a chance to maintain the personal connection, despite distance. An alert within your CRM can let you know when you’ve gone too long without making that connection.
Expiring or auto-renewing contracts. Contract renewals take time. In many cases, a renewal is an opportunity to evaluate the overall relationship with a client, to plumb for new opportunities and ask about new challenges they may be facing. Don’t hem yourself into a timeframe so tight that you don’t have time to deliver the strategic insights you’re capable of. Set triggers in your CRM to remind you several months prior to the contract renewal date, so that you can begin strategic conversations early.
Industries / Seasonality. If your organization has clients in multiple industries, be sure to take advantage of the Industry field in your CRM. This is particularly helpful in staying mindful of clients who have cyclical sales seasons, such as retail or heavy equipment dealers. Set a trigger or task for yourself to contact your retail clients before Labor Day to start planning for Black Friday (virtual or otherwise). Heavy equipment companies will start planning for construction and farming season well before spring. Be there before they’re ready to plan.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator. People change jobs. They get promoted. They move to other companies. By connecting LinkedIn Navigator to your CRM, you can easily stay aware of changes in your contact’s profile, including new titles and new companies. Don’t just watch the changes. Act on them by sending a personal notes and messages.
Connect your CRM to your marketing automation platform. A CRM can also make it easy to welcome new accounts and new contacts. Connecting your CRM and your marketing automation platform allows you to automatically trigger an onboarding series of emails, welcoming new users and setting them up for success with your services or products (naturally, we do this with the emfluence Marketing Platform).
Used wisely, a CRM can help you manage your accounts professionally and proactively – and a courtesy prompt every now and then will make sure you don’t miss a beat with your customers.