Scale. It’s a word that motivates and terrifies business owners and marketing managers at the same time. The idea of expanding well beyond the status quo while maintaining (or increasing) efficiency is exciting, and often accompanied by visions of improved cash flow, instant brand recognition and, well world domination! But understanding how to achieve it and then manage it once you do, can be intimidating.
IDC Asia Pacific predicts that by next year, 80 percent of B2C and 60 percent of B2B enterprises will overhaul their ‘digital front-doors’ to support 1,000 to 10,000 times more customers and customer touch points. Not only will businesses be able to scale and reach a wider audience than ever before. The way they interact with customers will also need to scale. Scaling customer intimacy is based on an understanding that today’s well-informed tech savvy consumers no longer stick with brands that don’t excite or engage them.
They are spoiled for choice. The difference between buying from you and buying from your competitor is simply a few clicks. Being easy to find, communicate with and buy from is essential. But it takes more to create customer loyalty. As a Salesforce report found, loyalty stems from a company’s effort to:
- Personalise its communications
- Make real-time contact with customers
- Anticipate their needs
- Provide remarkable buying experiences
On a small scale (i.e.: with only a handful of customers) this is relatively easy to achieve. On a large scale however, it would be almost impossible without a team working 24/7 tracking, recording and responding to every interaction at every customer touch point. This is why it’s essential to implement smart systems from the beginning, which allow you to scale fairly effortlessly while providing a consistent customer experience. Here are a few tips to help your organisation scale its customer intimacy efforts.
Automate customer communications
If you’re not sending regular, personalised communications to your customers already then you’re at a disadvantage. Today’s customers expect it. In order to scale you need robust automation systems that nurture customer relationships without human contact. Leading CRM systems such as Salesforce make it easy to automate communications. At the click of a button, you can:
- Kick off a personalised email marketing campaign to thousands of customers at the same time
- Track their interactions
- Uncover trends to help you make better (and faster) marketing decisions.
Develop repeatable processes
Fact: You can only scale something that is repeatable. Once a process can be repeated over and over, producing an almost identical result every time, it’s scalable. Scaling customer intimacy means implementing sales and marketing processes that work the same for one customer as they will for a hundred customers.
By doing this, and ensuring team members follow the process, you save everyone time and energy and give staff and management a much clearer path to success. CRMs do this naturally by requiring users to take specific steps when completing tasks. They also make information central, accessible and traceable, which is essential for scalability.
Imagine finding out something critical about your target market or industry and then not being able to do anything about it for months. Your competitors, on the other hand, find out too and within weeks are promoting their new solution. Staying competitive means staying agile: moving quickly, responding to change, and being able to deploy new capacities swiftly and efficiently. If you’re tracking data about your customers in a CRM, you’re learning more about what they want. And the faster you can respond to these needs, the more you will exceed customer expectations and vastly improve customer intimacy – before your competitors do.
If data fields, subsets, categories and content management throw you for a loop, get an experienced software implementation partner to help you make sense of it all. You don’t want to waste time trying to figure things out on your own not when your competitors are waiting to pounce on the next great idea or industry change. Scale (and world domination!) is possible – if you enforce smart systems dedicated to delivering on your customers’ wants and needs. That way, it won’t make a difference whether you’re nurturing one customer or one million.
Your processes will keep you agile and support you in offering a customer experience worth remarking on. The trick is to leverage platforms, such as your CRM, that make it easy to do this and create customer intimacy at any scale. For more tips on using a CRM to build customer intimacy, download our whitepaper: Digital Trends 2017: Harnessing data to build customer intimacy across the lifetime.