In a previous blog post I talked about the importance of having a good quality list of prospective clients.
Now we need one central location for this list; and our current clients; and our referral sources. This is the Client Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Here you want to collect as much data about your database. Information such as:
- Date of birth/ anniversary,
- Spouse/ partner/ children’s names
- College attended.
The list can go on, but you want to collect information that will enhance the relationship you have with them. From this data you will always have their preferred beverage ready for them when they visit the office, you will be able to send birthday and anniversary cards and you’ll be able to talk to them about their children’s college fund when the time is right.
You will also store the details of previous conversations and meetings, so with one click of your mouse you know exactly what was said, by who and when. It’s also a great way to make sure you can cross selling services at upcoming meetings.
For your marketing efforts a good CRM is critical. Here you will store all known data including referral source and where you met them. You will also use the CRM to automate components of your marketing plan. You will need to create the steps, but once created you can rest assure every prospect will get the same level of follow up each and every time.
There are a number of CRM providers out there. Unfortunately the CRM modules that come with your tax and accounting suite are often not robust enough; and at the other end of the extreme, dedicated CRM packages often have too many bells and whistles that don’t integrate well with your current databases.
Some providers to check out include Office Tools Professional which provides CRM as a part of their integrated practice management software; Act!, Maximizer & Goldmine are well know dedicated CRM software packages; and Salesforce.com and Zoho.com are web-based CRM applications (Zoho.com is FREE!). Outlook is not a CRM, nor is excel. If you’re serious about marketing ( as well as superior client service) then a quality CRM is an important component of your marketing infrastructure.
Please let us know if you would like to discuss CRM in greater detail.