What's in a Name? Customer Relationship Management and 'PRM'
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Businesses need to start looking at their CRM programs and think about prospect relationship management (PRM) as an additional activity to the relationship tactics used on existing customers.
The processes for keeping existing customers and acquiring new ones are very different. It all boils down to the central issue of trust: convincing a prospect that you're worth their time and money in the first place is a difficult task - especially in a recession economy. Those working with existing customers need only to maintain and build upon that existing trust (not to suggest that is any less important!)
To gain that trust, you must make your prospects feel special, and the quickest way to do that is to address them as individuals. Your data capture system could be greatly improved by asking for the contact's name when they sign-up for a free promotion or newsletter. After all, nothing feels more impersonal than an email communication beginning, 'Dear email@example.com'. From then on, it's a case of encouraging prospects to give you all the information you need to help you segment them into more specific groupings.
As the prospect is nurtured with successive newsletters, notifications and soft-offers, customer service and relationship management staff should use predictive analysis on the list to identify those leads most likely to make a purchase and become long-term customers. This information would be based on their responses to the various soft-offers you pitch them. Segmenting those most likely to purchase means that you can build a high-quality list on which to focus your time.
Remember: it's not necessarily the size of your contact list that matters, it's the quality. Marketing to the right 500 people is more cost-effective than the wrong 5,000. To minimise overall time and financial costs associated with acquiring new customers, you have to spend a little time examining your list and putting money on the safest-bets. Once the economy is on the up again, you'll have a solid foundation of loyal, existing customers and a steady revenue stream to build upon.