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Some companies still deal with “nightmare customers” that turn out to be too expensive. No more nightmares. MS Dynamics consultant suggests how to use the CRM software to nurture your ideal customers.
As David Parrish, consultant and trainer on creativity and business, writes in his “T-Shirts and Suits”: “Marketing is definitely not a matter of trying to ‘please all the customers all the time’, but selecting the customers you can partner with most effectively and profitably, matching their needs with your creative skills.” The suggested idea is equally true for overall business success. Even though no one will question the need for market segmentation, not many B2Bs go far enough to systematically interest their ideal customers in the brand’s products.
Let me refer to “T-Shirts and Suits” once again. Matt Johnson, Managing Director of Mando Group, admitted that in the company’s early days they were “not gutsy enough” to turn down business, because they were desperate for cash. So, Mando Group ended up dealing with “nightmare customers” who turned out to be more expensive than if the company had simply borrowed the needed money.
Cases similar to Mando Group’s are numerous. However, there is a more effective approach to customer acquisition – choosing the right customers and continuously wooing them. Definitely, building relationship with a customer from scratch, with initially little to no visible interest at their side, will take a lot of cooperative efforts of a company’s departments. Still, such a relationship-focused, step-by-step nurturing of the desired customers is likely to result in a higher quality of leads, their smooth advancement through the sales pipeline, and finally long-term loyalty.
If a company dares to start wooing their ideal customers, the CRM can assist in this process in the following 4 ways.
Supposed a company operates in a targeted segment for some time, their CRM should be a treasury with customer data. Its analysis based on the use of ever improving analytical features of CRM software can help marketers model who is the desired (profitable and strategically important) customer, as well as where to find and how to win them.
Nurturing the desired customers takes a widely cited seamless omni-channel experience to a whole new level. No matter the length of the sales cycle, a company should communicate their benefits and offerings so softly to sound as a partner, not a seller. For this, the wooing process should base on a thoroughly considered reach-out plan that can include content messages, attending business and social events, remembering major milestones and so on. For sure, all the departments involved, such as sales, marketing and telemarketing, should act at the right time and with proper messages. And here’s where the CRM can support members of the wooing team with customizable workflows and automatic notifications by letting them know when to jump in.
Depending on the length of the sales cycle, wooing can last for up to several months or years. Building relationship of trust with a customer for that long even with a wooing team of 3 (a telemarketer, a marketer, and a sales person), can cause at least 4 live-and-death challenges. Those can be effectively solved with the CRM.
#1. Annoyance vs. disregard. The key to wooing the desired customer is to find the balance between staying regular and not being spammy. That’s why all nurturing activities should be spaced out even on a monthly basis if required by the length of the sales cycle. The CRM workflows and alerts can be used in this regard to keep a healthy pace of communication, even if that involves members from different departments.
#2. Turnover-caused gaps. If long-term nurturing of a new customer depends too much on particular team members, the day they quit can become the last day of wooing. To avoid such a negative scenario, the CRM should store data about all the wooing activities. This helps to overcome such gaps in communication as repetitive messages or suggestions, regardless of employee turnover.
#3. False promises. Sometimes marketers hook customers by promising the moon but then the lead gets stuck in the sales pipeline with overdue replies of a sales person, or even worse – flees when finds out that real offerings fall short of their expectations. The CRM records make all the activities and timelines visible and as a result allow quick detection and addressing of wooing problems.
#4. Collaboration failures. Perhaps, the hardest (yet, the most rewarding) thing is to establish cross-departmental collaboration concerning wooing the desired customer. To mention a few benefits of an effective one:
Aligning the work of marketing and sales teams requires near real-time and convenient data exchange between the tools they use on a daily basis, aka marketing automation software and the CRM. A tool with similar functionality has been recently announced by Microsoft and Adobe, that’s Dynamics 365 for Marketing solution.
As a strategic task for a company, customer wooing process will be definitely monitored by executives, such as VP of Sales and Marketing. Visibility into the CRM records and nurturing stages, as well as custom wooing reports, will make it easier to control the state of relationship with potential customers, identify gaps and opportunities. One more managerial application of the CRM is to look for best practices and deliver them to employees involved in the wooing process.
If a company decides to initiate and continuously develop relationship with desired customers, the first thing they will need is for sure a smart wooing strategy. The CRM software, in its turn, can help to get things moving in the strategic direction by bringing consistency to communication, no matter the size of the wooing team and the length of the sales cycle. For that reason, MS Dynamics consultants fairly list this strategic capability along with other commonly overlooked use cases of the CRM software.
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