Here at AIN we are in the process of implementing a new web-based customer-relationship management (CRM) system for our sales and marketing efforts that should be fully functional in early September. Our old system was useful and comfortable and change is never easy, but having seen the advances in CRM technology in just the past few years I can hardly wait to put this software to work in our marketing efforts. After consulting some gurus on this subject, I have come up with five tools that aviation marketing professionals could use to drive sales.
Of course, the first step in implementing any CRM program is to create groups or lists of customers and prospects who meet certain criteria. Then you would set up an automated email program for each of these lists. Here are some criteria for lists that could help drive sales:
1. Customers or prospects who have clicked or downloaded from your website – Maybe they read a brochure or white paper or attended a webinar. These people are already engaged with your company and products. Set them up to receive an email every month with a case history or testimonial and an opportunity to click for more. Every click in this category is one more step toward closing the sale.
2. Tradeshow leads – What happens to all of those leads from the tradeshow or conference? Sure the sales rep enters them into the system and may send a follow-up email but the majority of those leads do not become a sale right away. What can marketing do to expedite that process? Set them up to get automated monthly emails about details and applications of your products. Send them invitations to events or receptions you sponsor at trade shows. Encourage them to come by your booth next time to enter a drawing. Rather than let those leads sit dormant from year to year, communicate with them regularly.
3. Leads who are ready to buy – Sales prospects who are getting closer to buying generally exhibit certain behaviors. You’ll need to examine your own products and website activity (Google Docs is great for this) along with downloads and clicks to create your group of those who are ready to buy. What do those leads who became customers have in common in terms of their online activity with you? You should flag this group for the sales department and send them frequent, short reminders of your benefits, special offers and satisfied customers.
4. Customers who may want more – If you sell more than one product, or a consumable that needs to be reordered regularly, you will want to make a group of your current customers. These customers can be upsold to more products more regularly. These regular emails would thank them for their business and promote other products.
5. Satisfied customers – You should already be polling your current customers about their satisfaction levels and identifying those who are most satisfied with your products or services. Create a group of such customers, communicate regularly with them and reward them with special downloads, videos, etc. At the same time, create a group of not-so-satisfied customers and develop an email plan for them with offers to try to raise their scores. Better yet, if you can segment them by the reason they are not satisfied, you can send even more targeted emails.