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CRM News, Articles and Points to Ponder...


Do You Need Perfect Data?

By: Jen Homewood | July 11, 2017

When implementing a new CRM or even working within an existing system, it can be very tempting to spend an enormous amount of time and effort making sure your data is perfect – every phone number, address, and salutation exactly right.

Before you spend hours looking for every detail, it’s worth spending a little time taking a good hard look at exactly what information you actually need. Phone number and email addresses, certainly – but do you really need residential addresses? Maiden names? Name of their first pet?

The more data you capture about a customer or client, the more complete the picture of your relationship will be, but at the end of the day someone will have to spend real time curating the information and making sure it’s up to date. Taking the opportunity to determine exactly what information is necessary for your business can mean the difference between spending your time doing data entry and getting in front of your customers and clients closing deals.

Talk to the people inside your business to get an idea of what information they use on a daily basis to perform their roles. Once you've determined exactly what it is you really need to know, you can spend less time managing the data and more time building your business.


What Exactly Does Data Integrity Mean?

By: Cynthia Slattery | June 14, 2017

Customer Relationship Management software or CRM can benefit your business, as it captures data based on your customers' interactions through each of your business channels. That being said, a CRM is only as effective as the data it contains.

Imagine your CRM is a filing cabinet. Each drawer is overflowing with folders. Some folders are inches thick, some only contain a piece of paper; some contain information about new customers, some client files are obsolete. It’s time for some sorting, right? This is data integrity and is easy to implement, with a few steps:

  • Be selective in your data capture: CRMs will offer numerous data fields, into which information can be captured. Ask yourself what fields you actually need and will use.  Capturing the data for each field is time consuming and in some cases, unnecessary.  Once you have decided which data is required, create workflows requiring fields to populate.
  • Educate your staff: different members of the team will view the data fields from different perspectives. For example, the sales team are focussed on the outcomes and therefore may not place importance on the data capture. The trick is to educate your staff how data will actually help them do their jobs effectively.
  • Establish an audit procedure: think of that filing cabinet with the inactive files or those containing one page instead of ten. On a regular basis, you should run a report to identify which customer files are missing data or which contain errors.  Follow up on the missing data and archive old files.  

Remember, maintaining data integrity allows your CRM and in turn, your staff, to be more productive.  

Talk to us about how we can assist you with a CRM for your business and how to maintain your data integrity.


Personalise for a 'Sweet' Customer Experience

By: Jennifer Lancaster | June 01, 2016 12:03 PM

Why Personalise?

A person’s name is one of the sweetest sounds to them. As long as it's not overused, incorporating the person´s name, company, industry, or interest in your marketing subtly draws that individual in.

With more and more initial sales research being done through information and blogs online, the conversations the customer service agent finally gets to have must provide that personal touch. If there is no phone-based agent, then email campaigns must allude to the fact that:

  1. This customer is important, and
  2. We recognise your interest and needs, and are offering products or solutions to suit.

In contrast, mass marketing and generic product offerings fall on deaf ears. 

IBSA (Business Skills Australia, 2014) notes that Australian companies in business services increasingly look to provide a customer centric approach across the whole organisation. ´Customer centricity´ is about satisfying the customer’s needs while trying to add value to their lives.

When buying a fridge and washer recently, I encountered this approach from a customer agent. He was personable, helpful, took in my feedback and remembered it, and reiterated the great deal I was getting. He also took time to talk me through the delivery process and make sure I kept the instruction manuals which come in the boxes.

This type of approach could easily be replicated company wide, with the help of CRM notes or reminders that the agent can see when on the telephone.

Personalised Marketing Avenues

Many businesses already personalise emails with a customer’s first name. You can also insert any field merge tag in your CRM account (should you have one) just by adding relevant merge tags in your email’s content. Of course, you need to be cautious in placing the merge tags in text, and provide an alternative if there is no field filled out.

I rather like it when a company uses a CRM field creatively, perhaps as a promotion but with a fun vibe. Behaviour-based recommendations are also very common, targeting your interests once you have selected some books/widgets.

Other personalised marketing includes offering ‘similar content’ ebooks on the bottom of a blog post--or as a pop-up--that relates to the page that person is viewing. A web-to-lead form can offer content to the visitor, which then goes into your CRM for later campaigns (this is a feature of SalesIQ--Zoho).

Qualifying a Customer

When we talk about qualifying the customer, it really means finding the right person or company, one which can afford your services or product. There’s a lot of tools out there for this, and when combined with soft skills and automated programs, it will make your sales job much easier.

If you view visitors on your website in real-time with SalesIQ (by Zoho), then customer agents can understand what the visitor might be needing (judging by page views) and whether they are from a country or region you serve, before any chat initiates. Then, when the chat window is activated, your canned message or normal response can be more appropriate to that visitor.

SalesIQ shows if they’ve been to your site before, so this helps when connecting and qualifying interest. (The system also seems friendly by showing a name and avatar of the customer representative).

For those who don’t offer customer service in real time, then capturing and responding to email interest and social media questions quickly is the most crucial first step. By quickly, we do mean within an hour for retailers, or 24 hours for business services.

You can make this easier and faster with some social integration, e.g. capturing leads from Twitter and Facebook straight into your CRM, and similarly, web-to-lead forms which bring web enquiries straight into your CRM system. (Capture leads from Twitter/Facebook is available in Zoho Professional and Enterprise). Being able to see the previous conversations via the Zoho platform will also allow your customer agent to see what’s going on in Facebook without being on Facebook.

Quick changing of email templates is also very useful when it comes to customising each week’s marketing campaigns. The ability to change a template without programming allows the marketing person to update it themselves with the new pictures and words. Zoho Campaigns has this facility, and you also have this feature in standard Zoho but with varying limits on mass emails.

If you want to achieve a sweet customer experience, then it pays to 'integrate' all your e-marketing, CRM /contact data, and website visitor tracking, so that it's all talking to each other. This allows your representatives to see exactly what the prospect or customer wants, so they can tailor the messaging to them.