Integrate List Data into CRM Plan

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Giving your customers what they want is one of the keys to business success. But the business that uses strategic data selection and analysis techniques to measure its ability to market to, nurture and retain customers as part of its customer relationship management strategy has the ability to empower its staff and achieve a higher level of return on investment.


Simple and complex data and analysis services -- from online and offline prospecting data to profiling, data hygiene and more, makes for a more powerful database and enables everyone in your organization to be an advocate for more sales and enhanced customer loyalty.


How do you make traditional list data work for you?


Many industries are capitalizing on enriching their existing databases with enhanced demographics and customer information from databases that have traditionally been used for direct mail lists.


For example, compiled data for customer profiling -- an analysis tool that measures market penetration by customer demographics -- is not simply for direct marketing efforts. When you capture the names and addresses of customers from any promotion, be it direct mail, Web site, telephone survey, etc., these names can be profiled to better measure the effectiveness of marketing to a particular audience.


Energy companies, for instance, are experiencing great results by overlaying their customer files with credit scores and identifying Internet presence in the household. Customer service providers -- while on the phone with customers -- can offer customers special programs such as online bill payment and new money-saving services. This incorporation of outside list data into their CRM strategies has enabled energy companies, which have traditionally not had to promote to their customers, to find success in a deregulated market by truly offering relevant products and services to their customers.


For example, a telephone company is able to use strategic data and analysis services to strengthen customer communication with its inbound call centers. Instead of having only account and billing information, these inbound representatives become sales-driven when they are able to offer customers who call in a new service that is highly relevant based on enhanced demographics such as presence of children, Internet connectivity, lifestyle information and more. Empowering your inbound and outbound representatives with outside data gives them front-line decision-making capabilities and encourages additional cross-selling opportunities.


Often companies use a control group to compare new direct marketing launches to a benchmark standard. This helps when multiple messages are being tested to yield the same result; i.e., new customers, brand awareness or strengthening loyalty.


Another data tool to consider integrating into your CRM strategy is customer segmentation. Customer segment profiling incorporates the segmentation of your customer database into product, promotion or purchasing groups. Then the enhancement of these segments with demographic and psychographic data will help you find patterns within these customer groups. Again, you are able to devise future marketing and nurturing messages that better communicate to these groups of people, translating into more successful campaigns and ROI.


According to Stanley A. Brown, author of "Customer Relationship Management: A Strategic Imperative in the World of E-Business," "Businesses are rediscovering that, more than ever, in the face of increasing competition, mature markets and the ever-demanding customer, treating existing customers well is the best source of profitable and sustainable revenue growth. It's a lot cheaper than winning new ones. Customer relationship marketing is, in it's purest sense, one-to-one relationship marketing."


The dialogue between you and the customer does one of two things. It will either separate you from your competition or your competition from you. When you incorporate data and various analysis processes as part of your overall CRM strategic, your ability to ask for, listen and respond to the needs of your customers becomes easier, faster and more meaningful to both your company and your customers.


Here are some questions to consider when evaluating data for your CRM efforts:


-- Do you currently have a one-way or two-way communication with your customers? What data elements are you missing that would move the communication to two-way?


-- Does your CRM data reflect the 20 percent of your customers that account for 80 percent of your revenues? Are there missing data ingredients? Could your data perform better to empower your entire company for more sales and customer care?


-- Does the data for your CRM strategy incorporate all channels of communication including direct mail, print, radio, television, bill payment, incoming and outgoing call center activity, help desk and point of sale?


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