Using Data To Make A Connection With Customers

When we last left our hero, we were talking about the notion of a CRM for your small business. This time, let’s take a look at using all that data to make a connection with customers, the kind that keeps them coming back year after year. 

The ways in which data can help you make money, save time and grow your business could fill a thousand books. The one I want to concentrate on today is sales. If knowledge is power, there is every reason to expect even a small retailer can be far more powerful than you’d normally assume.

Those important dates.

The point of a CRM is to have a little electronic help remembering the mundane details. You have a lot on your mind. Working smarter, not harder, has much to do with the efficient use of systems designed to “staff up” without the added cost of personal. Your CRM is just such a system.

We live by dates: birthdays and anniversaries, school openings and summer vacations, weekdays and weekends. It’s different for everyone, but we all navigate using similar road signs. The trick is to find out which ones are important to any given customer and leverage their importance to everyone’s benefit.

For instance, if you happen to be in the party supply business, it’s easy enough to begin recording the shopping habits of each customer relative to certain events, leveraging trends that emerge as time goes on. Maybe there’s a spike in certain customer’s spending around the holidays. Or maybe the data shows a spike in mylar balloons shaped like Mickey Mouse ears around the first of every month. Armed with that information, you can reach out to certain customers with offers that correspond to their shopping habits. Instead of taking a wild guess on which product to push and then carpet bombing an entire email list, you pinpoint the customers most likely to find value in the promotion, saving time, money and frustration in the process.

Put new products out there.

Curating a product line is an art form. And, while there are no guarantees in life, you can make better informed choices by leveraging some of the data points you're already collecting in your CRM. 

By linking the launch of new products to demographic information about the customers who bought them, a retailer can get a better idea of which products are most valuable to customers, price points that catch a customer’s eye, and who among the long list of customers most represent the classic early adopter and brand evangelist archetypes. Armed with this information, you can increase the efficacy of a new product launch, leaning on those customers most likely to try new things and then tell their friends about it.

Hit the pressure points.

In a recent episode of Sherlock, Holmes and Watson went up against an evil media mogul who famously kept files on other wealthy and powerful people, laying out their pressure points—things like drug addictions and other unsavory secrets. He would then apply pressure to these vices in an effort to get what he wanted.

Customers have pressure points too. In this case, things like a particular love of the word "free," the penchant for a bit of  retail therapy, or an unbridled attraction to a really great deal.

Taking note of these pressure points and recording them in your CRM gives you a powerful database of, not just go-to sales tools, but those customers on whom each one works especially well. 

Imagine the power of increasing revenue during a particularly slow month, just by introducing a promotion that hits the nail right on the head for certain customers. Again, instead of blanketing the entire customer base, you connect with only those customers most likely to take advantage of a special offer. The result is a highly targeted promotion that mitigates the inevitable dilution and eventual blindness customers exhibit when offered too many sales, promos, or opportunities in a short period of time.

KJ is a bass player and singer-songwriter (like Sting, only taller); co-founder of Sessionville; and all too fond of sushi and Doritos®.