Is rating your customers into different levels (AAA,A,B,C) just busy work? Do we really need one more element to keep track of? Why can’t we just push, push and push for the sell.
Well, these days your relationship with your customer is critical to your ongoing success. There’s too much competition, too many alternatives that suit their business needs. You’ve got to seal the deal for a long time – and that means showing your customer you understand them and devoting your time to where you’ll get the best return.
It’s just another reason the technology of a CRM can help aid your sales question. If you have the right people, using the right sales process, deploying customer relationship building technology of a CRM, you can’t help but build a best possible scenario for success.
Here are three basic reasons you want to qualify your customers. There are many, many more, but let’s start here:
Return on your time investment
Which customer do you want to spend the most time with? The one that will give you the most return on time invested. Let’s call them your AAA customers. They generally are your biggest revenue sources.
That time could be time spent on upsell, but even more importantly, it’s time maintaining your customer relationship and keeping them satisfied. Ideally, you should be an extension of your customer’s own staff, whether it’s providing the right advice on new product, or giving notice of a contract expiration or providing valuable insight into whatever aspect of their business you help them with.
You also need to know those customers who don’t want to hear from you all the time. You don’t want to invest the time or marketing resources on someone who simply buys one product on an annual basis or periodically, and there’s no opportunity for upsell. It’s time not well spent on your part and it might actually hurt your customer relationship in the end.
Categorizing your clients helps you build a separate customer relationship path based on your needs and their needs – and helps you focus your attention where you can get the most positive outcome.
Develop a separate touch pattern
Part of proper focus of attention is the method and frequency of customer touch. A casual customer might not take kindly to a weekly email – in fact you may quickly hit the spam folder. Yet a customer whose business aligns quite nicely with your product portfolio and you’ve build a trusted perpetual, - even personal - relationship may want to know more about what you can offer.
Today’s email marketing and other touch methods allows you to build different marketing and customer touch approaches, refined for your different category of customers.
If you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and realistically analyse how important they think your relationship is – what’s essential, what’s unnecessary - it helps guide you to build a proper touch pattern. And when your touch pattern is aligned with their needs (their needs being large or small), that’s also quietly building an affinity – letting them know you understanding they are happy to be reached, but the right amount and the right timing.
Analysis of best practises
You best customers are your best customers for a simple reasons – you’ve done something right! Whether it’s your relationship, your product or even your touch timing, you have developed a pattern that has led to success. Chances are, it’s the same formula that has helped develop your other top customers. Knowing what works can help elevate lesser customers to new relationship levels.
Conversely, why are what we might call your “C” customers at the bottom level. I’d be willing to bet there are common factors there too. Some of course are related to product relevance, but quite often it’s related to when you make touch and how you make touch. Are you really talking the same language as your C customer? Are you building walls or affinities with your practises?
The power of your CRM
Qualifying your customers is made possible of course by the data and reporting housed within your CRM. There’s no lack of strong customer analysis that can be done to support your customer relationship – once you’ve got a committed sales force using their CRM, motivated by their success.
Rick McCutcheon is a Dynamics CRM MVP with expertise in sales process design, social selling and CRM strategies. Rick has been involved in the CRM industry since 1990 as a company founder, senior executive, reseller, industry association board member, educator consultant and professional speaker. He is the creator of the Full Contact Selling (FCS) methodology for Dynamics CRM. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .