How Do You Control the Customer Journey with CRM Software?

Anton, 47, is a sales representative and specializes in the sale of industrial robots and robot software for medium and large companies. He has been in the industry for almost 7 years and enjoys being able to help shape tomorrow’s production with his products. Business is going well, but in his eyes the question of how to increase customer satisfaction and build long-term customer loyalty has not yet been satisfactorily resolved. Anton wonders how the experience of the individual customer could be systematically improved, from initial contact to a long-term customer relationship.

In other words: How can you make the Customer Journey as positive as possible for both the customer and your own company?

In this article, we will address this question and clarify what you can understand by customer journey and how a CRM system can help you to optimally control the customer journey.

The Customer Journey is still an explosive topic and is on everyone’s lips. “How do your customers interact with your brand? Where are the points of contact (or touchpoints) with your company?”. Every day, experts deal with these questions to find out how to optimize and strengthen the customer experience. After all, understanding where the touchpoints between the brand and the prospects are and what they look like in concrete terms gives an insight into what makes the target group tick.

This is of course followed by the question of how these points of contact can be identified and optimized. CRM software supports you in this challenge. Here we tell you in 4 steps how you can proceed.

The Customer Journey and What You Need to Know about It

The Customer Journey is the overall experience that a customer makes with a company. It encompasses all customer interactions across all channels, devices and people at every stage of the customer lifecycle – from the identification of needs to contract termination. So before, during and after the purchase.

TIP

In order to increase customer satisfaction, you should first identify and analyze all touch points and work out potential for improvement. Remember that you will most likely have to consider different types of customers. Only those who know their customers can optimally design the Customer Journey!

Which Phases Does a Classic Customer Journey Go Through?

  • Requirement recognitionWhat need or problem do I have? How do I become aware of it?
  • Search for informationWhat solutions are there for the problem? Which solution covers my need?
  • Comparison phaseWhat added value do different providers bring me?
  • Customer phaseDoes the supplier meet my expectations? Are the expectations perhaps even exceeded?
The course of the customer journey is often presented as a linear process. Experts from Gartner, Inc. have impressively refuted this in a research project. Gartner suggests that the Customer Journey is more about a journey that takes into account the passage of several phases before the purchase. Interested parties or customers can enter or exit this journey at any time in different phases. Furthermore, the journey does not end with the purchase. In other words, the customer journey is not a linear process, and the customer experience goes beyond the purchase. You can read more about the definition of the customer journey on Wikipedia.

A study by McKinsey found that mastering the Customer Journey can bring the company high tangible and intangible profits: 20% cost reduction, 15% increase in sales and 20% increase in customer satisfaction. This shows that it can be worthwhile to seriously address the issue.

Most companies use a variety of communication channels with their customers. However, they often fail to successfully assign each activity to the phases of the customer journey. Sales and marketing strategies are often isolated from each other, resulting in a disparate and incoherent customer experience. To prevent this, you can rely on professional CRM software that helps you to strategically manage individual customer experiences and make them run smoothly.

In such a CRM system, you document and collect all information about each prospect and each customer in a digital 360-degree customer file. The system not only provides you with detailed information about the respective company and its contacts, but also allows you to see broader patterns of behavior. Accordingly, you can adapt your actions precisely to the individual customer types.

1. Recognize the Behavioral Patterns of Your Customers

Provided that you have always maintained the relevant information in your CRM on a long-term basis, you have all current data about your customers ready for further analysis. No fear! Most of the information is documented quasi “automatically” in the software while the employees work with the system.

How did your customers become aware of your company? Which marketing campaigns lead to the most orders? Which wishes and problems are expressed to your sales staff but also to your service team? Which strategies prove themselves in competition with certain competitors? Which products are most prone to errors? How and when were you in contact with the individual contact persons? What and why did they buy from you? What are the sales trends in the individual divisions, sales regions, articles and services?

With this information, you can, for example, create customer profiles in order to then search for similar prospects, run target group-specific campaigns, etc. The corresponding concept of Buyer Personas is well described in this blog article.

With CRM software, you can also track the behavior of existing customers and provide them with relevant information about your marketing, for example, before they make a purchase.

The behaviour can be done by analysing the activity history at the customer himself but also by tracking actions on your website or your newsletters. Attention: In this context, please pay attention to the topic of data protection!

2. Evaluate Your Sales Pipeline

In order to realistically assess your sales prospects, you can evaluate your leads and prospects using a lead scoring process.

The Lead Scoring determines the potential of leads (or potential customers). A value is assigned to each lead. The value corresponds to the interest of leads in products or services of the company. You qualify your leads as “hot”, “warm” or “cold” on the basis of the interaction history (e.g. frequency of website visits, behaviour on the website etc.) Basically, lead scoring helps in the assessment of business & sales opportunities. Of course this procedure can also be applied to existing customers.

As soon as you have a complete picture of your ideal customer, you can compare it with your existing leads. The leads that come closest to your ideal customer profile are qualified as “hot” leads and are of particular interest to your sales and marketing departments. Leads that are very far from your ideal customer profile are less relevant to your business and are treated accordingly.

The most important thing when introducing a lead scoring system is its uniformity. Make sure that you have adequate and uniform criteria for lead scoring and create a meaningful points system. It is important that you continuously develop this system and adapt it to the actual market conditions.

In concrete terms, this could look like this: The CRM system qualifies the leads that had over 5 interactions (depending on contact intensity) with your company via the company website within a defined period of time as “B” leads (= “warm”). Subsequently, the system compares the prospective customer profiles with the ideal customer profile (based on selected criteria such as number of employees, annual turnover, etc.) Based on this data, the lead management in your company, for example, can decide whether individual leads should be manually upgraded to an “A” lead. Such prioritization can help you to work out a personalized approach for each prospect and thus best meet customer expectations.

3. Watch Out for Your “Hot” Leads

Let’s assume you have already analyzed customer behavior and can understand it. You have identified the leads that exhibit a similar behavioral pattern with your most profitable customers. Now you want to keep track of these leads. Use your CRM system not only to track existing leads, prospects and existing customers, but also to manage your relationships with potential customers.

Every time our sales representative Anton mentioned at the beginning of this article is at a trade fair, he enters all his encounters in the trade fair app of his CRM system: This way, he never forgets a single detail from his conversation with potential customers. An example: Ms. Rosenbach from Kaltenbach AG is looking for a solution for the digitalization and automation of her company. With over 50,000 employees and a turnover of over 20 billion EUR, her employer corresponds to the ideal customer profile of Anton’s company. During the conversation with Anton, Ms. Rosenbach shows a keen interest in the topic of “artificial intelligence” and mentions your vacation in Thailand. Anton noted down all the details afterwards, so that he can remember and use them to personalize his communication even months later.

Of course such a high degree of personalization is costly. That’s why all marketing and sales staff should only focus their efforts on promising leads. If you want to prove to your prospective customer that you put your heart and soul into promoting their interest, this is the way to build trust.

4. Satisfy Customers with Segmentation

After all, your efforts with the lead scoring and the personalized approach paid off. You have turned an interested party into a customer! But this is not the end of the Customer Journey. Now it’s all about inspiring the customer through individual service tailored to their profile and retaining them through the appropriate cross- and upselling offers.

This is where customer segmentation comes into play. In the CRM system, it is possible to segment customers based on various characteristics. Here too, the aspect of customer journey is central.

This way, Ms. Rosenbach now receives perfectly tailored product information and offers that fit her current situation – in other words, those that fit the respective phase in the customer journey. This not only increases customer satisfaction, but also the profitability of the customer relationship.

Conclusion

With a suitable CRM system, you have a powerful tool at your disposal with which you can measure, analyse and control the customer experience. CRM software enables you to identify your relevant target groups and interact with them in a targeted manner. Your target groups can thus be addressed with the help of personalized information along the individual phases of the customer journey. This increases the efficiency with which you as a company move in the marketplace and helps you win satisfied and profitable customers in the long term.