According to the 2014 CRM/Unified Commerce Benchmark Survey, only 22% of leading retailers currently use real-time analytics—but 61% plan to implement it in the next two years. In fact, Neustar recently found that campaigns leveraging CRM data performed 19x to 98x times better than average.
Whether you sell cars or clothes, CRM data is the keystone to understanding your buyers’ journey, delivering a relevant dialogue at the right time, and reaching new customers efficiently. It can help you understand each channel’s relationship to conversion. It closes the reporting loop from advertising to action, and helps you better target the message you deliver to customers by showing you where they are in the buying cycle.
CRM also extends your customer base through the tactic of ‘lookalikes’. You can layer CRM data onto third-party datasets to create new audiences of prospects who resemble your best customers—and you’ll already understand how to market to them.
To start leveraging your CRM data, take these key steps.
1. Target campaign to customers’ attributes: The more you know about what your customer “looks like” the more successful you’ll be. Dig into your CRM data to find trends in attributes including past purchases, affinities, demographics and other characteristics of your existing customers. As well as showing you which customers convert better, this enables cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
Create a CRM segment of customers who purchased within the last seven days, and create offer “A” (an extended warranty, maybe). For another segment who purchased more than six months ago, create offer “B.” Your CRM insights are now keeping you relevant, avoiding the risk of alienating customers through mistargeting.
2. Segment to Deliver Results: Onboard your CRM segments into your online marketing platform and deliver across multiple channels. You can run your custom campaigns across ad networks, social media and your own website, creating a consistent, personalized dialogue and customer experience. Use real-time analytics to see what is working or not.
3. Optimize and extend: Now, use your CRM data to extend your customer base. Take what you know about your high-performing customers, overlay it on third-party datasets, and build lookalike audiences of prospects who share your top customers’ attributes. If you know that a particular income level combined with ownership of a certain car model are top customer attributes, create a custom audience of prospects based on this. Compared to targeting a generic audience… well, as our research shows, there’s a league of difference.
4. Don’t forget to scrub that data: Make sure that your CRM is complete, up-to-date, and accurate. That means name, address, phone number and email at a minimum. Whether you interact with customers in-store or via call center, this information is essential for a personalized experience that makes customers feel valued. It also helps you quickly identify and spend time with high-value customers.
CRM software is increasingly accessible, even for small and mid-sized businesses. According to Gartner, CRM software revenue will reach 36 billion dollars by 2017, up from 23.9 billion dollars in 2014. Don’t get left behind: take advantage of your CRM data to gain higher conversion rates, provide personalized offers that increase brand awareness/affinity, reach prospects that look like your best customers, and create engagement that delivers results.
Rob Gatto is the senior vice president of media and advertising at Neustar.