How to understand the customer lifecycle using CRM
Five steps to understand the customer lifecycle while using CLM CRM software.
Understanding the ‘customer lifecycle’ for users of CLM CRM platforms may sound like an esoteric theory better suited for the MBA students than for small business owners. Nevertheless, CLM (customer lifecycle management) is a concept and a strategy that brings more revenue and lower costs.
Many authors have already written tons of pages and hundreds of books about the details of each step in CLM. However, to understand how all these steps add up to complete the full cycle of a given customer helps to put the entire CLM process in perspective.
Here are five steps to understanding the customer lifecycle by using a small business CLM CRM software.
Step #1 - Reach
This is the phase in Customer Lifecycle Management when you make the initial contact with the customer. It is like putting a roadside ad, or delivering a social coupon through the mail or meeting a customer because of some good words someone heard from his or her friend. CLM CRM metrics are the key at this stage, which easily lets you perceive which marketing efforts provided you the best reach for your dollars.
Step #2- Acquisitions
The acquisition is a phase, which comes after you have found your potential customer’s attention. In fact, it is the primary contact with your new customer. This is where your frontline tele-calling executives, service employees, and salespeople earn their wages. Depending on the type of your business enterprise, this acquisition might happen in person, on the phone, via email or solely through a Website’s landing page.
Caution: Abandonment can happen at this phase of the Customer Lifecycle Management process when you are not enough interesting or useful to hold a potential customer’s attention. Therefore, it is most important that the primary contact with the probable customer should generate enough value for that person which will make the potential customer want to continue the conversation.
Step #3 - Conversion
In CLM conversion is synonymous with the word ‘Sales’. It is the stage in the CLM process where you turn an interested fence-sitting prospect into an actual customer. The best advice for this step in the CLM process is to sell your relationship and not your product or services. It is your duty as a sales representative for your organization to make the customer feel welcomed. Because, if and only if the customer feels comfortable and happy the purchase will naturally take care of itself.
Caution: Attrition in the steps happens when a ‘sale’ vanishes. Sometimes it can be because of your team’s fault that can alienate the purchaser, even though at times this can also happen for reasons out of your control. In either situation, endure each lost sale as a learning experience that can reduce your customer attrition ratio next time.
Step #4 – Retention
Now once you have made the sale (which is great), but to sell more to a customer at this stage is 1/6th less expensive as starting over at the ‘Reach’ stage in the CLM process. This implies up-selling and cross-selling or doing everything that you can to uphold and preserve a relationship with the customer. You can nurture the relationship with your customer by making contact from time to time, in value-rich ways through a CLM CRM that makes sure that the customer will remember about you every time the person needs your products or services.
Caution: Churn is a loss of an on-hand customer. Remember never to follow in the footsteps of a “churn-and-burn” organization that solely believes in making the first sale, and then subsequently move off to the next prospect like a corporate pick-up artist.
Step #5 – Loyalty
This is the desired end of any Customer Lifecycle, akin to the enjoyment of an early retirement after a flourishing career. At this stage in the CLM process, the customer becomes a friend and most often a brand advocate who calls you by your first name and recommends your offerings to everyone around. You cannot expect every customer nurtured through the CLM CRM platform to reach this stage, but to evaluate where you failed with other customers you need to look back through the early steps to detect your lacunae.
Understanding the Customer Lifecycle Management is indeed a complicated task and sometimes it needs to be explained to the users of CLM CRM platforms.
So how would you convey the CLM idea to your employees, the users of your best small business CRM ?
We will be happy to learn from your experiences, so be free to leave your comments below.
Patricia is a full-time CRM consultant at ConvergeHub and part-time blogger. She has earned herself quite a fame as a specialist and a market expert in small business CRM software platforms. In the last five years, she has worked with various entrepreneurs to help them move their businesses to cloud. Her expertise lies in offering cloud based...