You knew to expect occasional slow periods when you started your small business, but actually experiencing a sales slump can still feel worrisome. Whether your sales have dropped due to seasonality, an unpredictable sales cycle or economic contraction, the right customer relationship management (CRM) software can make it easier for your business to thrive and move beyond this slow period.
What is CRM software?
CRM software is designed to help businesses streamline customer data to help you acquire and retain customers. It can be a critical tool in the following areas:
- Generating and cultivating leads
- Closing sales
- Managing customer interactions
- Building a sales pipeline
- Streamlining tasks
- Managing marketing campaigns
- Responding to customer needs
Overall, using a CRM app can help your small business develop stronger customer relationships, which can help you grow your sales.
How a CRM can help your business survive a sales slump
1. Generate more leads through your website
You can generate leads 24 hours a day through your website by embedding a web-to-lead form like those offered by Method:CRM. When a customer enters their information into the form, they are then automatically logged as a prospect in your Method app. From there, Method creates follow-up activities and notifications for your sales team so that the entire follow-up process is automated. The Method:CRM app syncs seamlessly with QuickBooks® Online to make it easier to access all of the necessary customer data and transaction information from one place.
2. Set your email marketing on autopilot
Make the most of this down time and use it to set up automated email campaigns. Consider your customer lifecycle and craft a series of emails to move them through each step of your sales pipeline. To get the most out of automated emails, focus your efforts on creating the following types of email marketing campaigns:
- Drip campaign: Emails are sent to new customers based on a set time interval, often weekly. This type of campaign slowly “drips” your marketing message over time, making it a great way to educate prospects on all of your offerings.
- Nurture campaign: Emails are sent based on your prospects’ behavior to help them through the buying process.
- Workflow campaign: For existing customers, these emails are sent to encourage them to accomplish a specific task and move them on to the next step of the workflow.
3. Encourage repeat customers with deals
Follow up with your best customers and offer them an exclusive promotion. Keeping loyal customers happy is significantly less expensive than finding new ones. In fact, the probability of selling a product to an existing customer is 60-70 percent, while new customers carry a paltry 5-20 percent probability, according to Marketing Metrics.
4. Cross sell and upsell
A solid CRM app will include a history of customers’ past services and purchases. During times of slow sales, look to this information to identity opportunities to cross sell and upsell. Can you offer anything that complements their past purchases, or is time to upgrade a customer to a new and improved product or service? Whatever you offer, make sure it’s relevant to a previous purchase.
5. Maintenance reminders
Help your customers keep their things in tip-top shape with regular maintenance reminders. The Acuity Scheduling app makes this easy by automating maintenance email reminders. Your clients can quickly view your real-time availability and book their appointments. Plus, they can make their payments online so you get paid faster.
Integration with QuickBooks Online
Get the most out of your CRM app by choosing software that integrates with QuickBooks Online. When you close a sale through your CRM app, your transactions sync with QuickBooks, so your accounting stays up to date without the hassle of double data entry. This time-saving data sync lets you focus on serving your next customer instead of wasting time on administrative work. Visit Apps.com to see all the CRM apps that integrate with QuickBooks Online.
The more you know about your customer, the better you can segment, target and message them with relevant products and offers to boost your sales. By spending this slow season working on your CRM setup, you can set yourself up for more profitable seasons ahead.