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CRM for B2C

Most of the literature on Customer Relationship Management deals with the Business to Business Use Case (B2B) where leads or prospects enter one end of the Sales Pipeline (Funnell, etc) and exit out the other end as Opportunities linked to an Account record. This works if your customers are businesses based on many of the examples, but how does it work for those businesses who sell to Businesses and Consumers?

The truth is that with the right strategy and CRM tool, the best practices of Marketing, Sales Force Automation, and Customer Service/Support are the same, regardless of whether your customer is a 'Business' or a 'Person' and the reason is that they are all 'Customers' and we have to talk to people by definition to make this all work. People are your Contacts, not the Accounts or the Opportunities, but he human beings you need to be Social with in order to build lasting, and mutually benefitial Relationships.

Generally, here are some tips:

We have much experience dealing with B2C as well as B2B businesses and our platform has been re-engineered over the years to take into account some of the subtle differences, but yet maintain the same out-of-the box workflow to make it easy to use and foolproof. Segmenting your leads by Time It is so imperative to any Lead follow-up strategy to be able to follow-up in a timely manner. This means being able to segment your leads by date and when they signed up and know their status. Are they being Qualified or are they already Qualified? Have they been contacted yet? Also it is important to quickly rate the lead as a minimum - ie hot warm or cold, in order to keep track of the priority for follow-up. So basically you want to followup with hot leads before they go cold, ie with time elapsing and you are not following up with them.

In any CRM this has to be performed with the simplest of processes and with the fewest clicks, but yet has to be robust enough to take into account all the real life scenarios and fine grained analysis of the other fields in the CRM, etc.

The simplest way to do this is run a lead report, pick the start and end dates and whether you want to look at your leads, all your team's leads or all the leads in the organization if your a manager, etc. What you get back is a list of leads that you can sort by status and by rating to quickly drill down into who to call next. The key is no matter how the lead is created, either by self-service import, creating it manually, submission of a web form, text, tweet, whatever, it is time stamped by the CRM automatically, and the CRM workflow baked in helps in efficiency in follow-up.

You also want to look through your views to segment the leads into Today's leads, Recently viewed, etc. There are also Reports and Dashboards to analyse your leads in many different ways, but simply focusing on time, rating and status goes a long way.

How to gain the trust of Influencers in your customer list

Build closer relationships with your most important customers by segmenting your customers by what will create the most impact to the growth of the business. Strategic customers that are great brands that have great stories that can be used to show how your product or service can be used by others like them. Focus on the network effect of your customers.

Each customer has a sphere of influence over their network. Sometimes your customers’ networks can be many times your own network of influence. Best Practices in CRM dictate that you readily identify with and attend to the wants and needs of those customers that have a great sphere of influence. This methodology can help you reach out to new customers, strategically test out new Vertical markets for your products and services, etc.

How do you reach out to these networks is the next question. Direct marketing will not work here as you will likely cross boundaries with your existing customer that you would love to keep forever. The only way to become a part of your customers’ network is by old fashioned earning their trust, ask for referrals by offering to do a Use Case Study and highlight how you could also be trusted to fulfill the needs of their referrals.

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