Studies have shown that, depending on the industry, it can take anywhere from six to ten “touches” to convert a lead into a customer. Where many companies used to rely on the “marketing blitz,” where marketing efforts are compressed within a short time-frame, they have now turned to a method known as “drip marketing,” the theory behind which is that the value of repetition—and a slow build—can be as powerful as a highly concentrated rush. (Statistics show that between three and 30 repetitions are required for any message to “take hold” in the human consciousness.) Drip marketing consists of sending personalized messages, electronically or via direct mail, related to the prospect’s buying interests on a frequent and regular basis. These messages might also contain news and/or promotional information (e.g. real estate listings).
As effective as this strategy is, a strategy called “closed loop marketing” builds on drip marketing in a highly sophisticated way by allowing you to automatically communicate with your contacts based on their previous actions and based on their place in the buying cycle using triggered email campaigns. Never before have businesses had access to such an effective method of increasing sales.
The same system of lead nurturing can be applied to the challenge of customer retention. Because it is far more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to retain a customer, it is worth applying the same system of follow-up to remind customers that you are still available to assist them with their estate needs as their situations change over time. Similarly, you might use these methods to cultivate and maintain your relationships with referral sources.
Automated marketing campaigns like these require careful planning, but once established have the power to fully engage your contacts. Because of the flexibility built into the work-flow system, the system’s administrator can easily make changes to the plan and add strategies as needs change over time and certain campaigns prove themselves to be more most cost-effective than others.
Essentially, here’s how it works:
Prospect and customer data is collected and stored in the CRM System.
The System “triggers” initiate automated marketing campaigns, delivering automatic email communications.
The System records all marketing touches to CRM activity history, thus maintaining a 360° image of each prospect or customer.
Changes in customer’s status and behaviors such as responding to particular campaigns by requesting more information or visiting your website trigger future campaigns throughout the customer’s life cycle.
Responding to the customer as needs arise with targeted responses result in a shortened sales cycle and maximized value.
Automating the process allows this to occur with minimal effort or expertise.
Campaign and customer history generated allows easy analysis of return on investment for marketing dollars, allowing you to spend where the most return will be made.
Businesses that have adopted this kind of system report experiencing anywhere from 20% to 60% increase in sales. According to a report in January 2010 from etrigue.com, the buying process has changed dramatically over the last decade. Whereas marketers used to be able to blast prospects with emails and get a fairly high response rate, buyers today are far less passive and take an active role when searching for what they need. Today’s consumers begin to research potential vendors online long before they buy. They are forming an opinion much earlier in their decision-making process and based on independent research. As a result, companies have to do a much better job of timing their messaging to fit this new sales cycle.
Research shows that a whopping 85 percent of buyers research product options online before ever contacting potential vendors. These prospects are visiting your website, gathering information, then moving on to your competitors’ websites to gather information on their solutions prior to deciding whom to contact. The best way to meet this challenge is by tracking those website visitors, nurturing them, and following up with them when they are ready to buy. It is absolutely crucial to enter all qualified, not-quite-sales-ready-yet leads into your database and keep tracking them and nurturing them until you identify – via their behavior on your website – that they are ready to be contacted.
Because of CRM’s effectiveness, more marketers would prefer to invest in it than in mass media advertising, according to a survey conducted last month by Reveries.com. The survey of about 200 marketing executives found that 28% would prefer to invest the majority of their marketing budgets in CRM programs, compared with 22% who would select traditional mass media advertising.