Using CRM to Survive the Recession: Page 2

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To make up-selling and crossing via CRM viable, I've learned from the painful experience of others that your IT department must be able to deliver a minimum set of capabilities. Essentially, the CRM system has to be interconnected to the ERP, warranty, and web traffic logs to succeed at selling more to existing clients.

Here is a checklist for your CRM playbook. I've heard from CIOs and others that these five types of data sources must be integrated into the CRM system to provide the minimum standard of capabilities:

1. Prior sales history. What have they bought lately? Which goods sold are at or near the end of their useful life/warranty? What was the pattern of buying--just before key holidays?

2. Prior credit/payments history. It seems obvious to say that your sales folks should be focused on selling to customers who pay their bills on time. But some sales people don't know who are the deadbeats. Do they know who pays fast?

3. Warranty/service claims history and pattern. If a sales person doesn't know about a recent problem, any sales call before a happy resolution will be an unpleasant experience.

4. Call reports. Every prior contact should be in the database, along with relevant personal information.

5. Web site traffic logs. If a sales person doesn't know what the customer has been reading on your web site, how often they've visited, any pattern of the visits, everyone's time is wasted.

And if your shop meets these minimum standards, it's time to think about the next steps to sell more to existing customers. Using semantic web tools to parse news events and produce customized alerts to sales people should be on your list of things to learn about ASAP.

For example, when the U.S. Department of Defense announces a new contract award to a customer of your company, does your sales person know about that in real time? And does that alert to the sales person include information on prior purchases of components likely to be re-ordered to meet the new DoD purchase order?

If not, add this to your priority list, because your competitors are probably working on it.

For more information about how the semantic web can turbocharge your CRM system, check out this package of articles from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Another hot new trend is connecting RFID data to the CRM system. This is going to be crucial to meeting mandates from the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators worried about recalls of food, medical devices, toys, and other consumer products.

Speedily connecting your CRM sales and marketing data with your logistics and inventory information can not only simplify recalls, but also provide a sales opportunity.

Consider this script of a telemarketer calling a corporate client: "We just received word that there is a defect in a component of the XYZs we shipped to you last week," says a telemarketer. "We know they arrived but the cartons haven't been opened.

"So we can swap out replacement XYZs at no charge? However, we have a new, higher performing version of the XYZ that is available to current customers at a 50% discount. You had bought 1,000 of the XYZ, so should I send you 1,000 of the new, improved XYZ?"

That's called making lemonade out of a lemon.

Do you have any lemonade episodes to share? Want to vent about dumb cross-sell telemarketer calls? This is the place. Leave a comment below.

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Tags: services, CRM, marketing

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