CRM in Hollywood!

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The Walt Disney Studios job board has a new listing – Supervising VP of CRM (Customer Relationship Management). According to the listing, the key job responsibility of the VP will be to best leverage marketing campaigns and materials to engage consumers, drive increased global theatrical box office and long-term consumer loyalty to the Disney brand. The VP is also tasked with designing and executing an integrated social media/CRM strategy.

How important is customer relationship management to the movies? If a feature film doesn’t open big on its first weekend, it usually doesn’t get a second push. Theaters don’t hold over a film that performs poorly its first week, so movies, to survive, have to create a relationship with their customers quickly. Accordingly, just before every major feature film release, studios saturate the market with ads, spending often as much as half of what the film cost to produce.

It’s All about the Hype

These ads are aimed at creating and increasing brand awareness of the studio involved but, more so and primarily, for the specific film, because moviegoers are loyal, not to the studios, but to their favorite stars, directors and multi-film franchises like the Harry Potter series. Ads are targeted at creating an engagement with fans powerful enough to drive ticket sales that first critical weekend.

To help build the “buzz” for a movie opening, every major film is preceded by a web site designed to engage moviegoers early and pull them into a relationship with the film by focusing on the cast, behind the scenes of the production and even providing interactive elements for the fans. Over the last few years, studios have also added “social” to their CRM to help sell tickets by enhancing the personal and social experience around the film. Film companies are partnering with social media venues like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr to broaden their appeal . How influential these social efforts are, is still to be determined.

Does Social Drive Ticket Sales?

A survey by Ipsos MediaCT’s Motion Picture Group indicates that 42% of moviegoers under 35 check with social media to see what friends thought of a movie before going. Conversely, a recent article in the Los Angeles Times reported that, “films are considering cutting their spending on Facebook ads, just as carmaker General Motors Company did last year, when it dropped an annual $10-million Facebook campaign, deciding the ads didn’t help sell cars.” The studios’ love affair with Facebook may have become less passionate when Facebook changed the algorithms that determine what users see in their news feed, making it less likely that fans would see messages from the films they “liked.” Even so, you won’t see a movie released without its Facebook page.

So, does social involvement sell tickets? A survey of social network users ages 13 to 49 from The Hollywood Reporter and Penn Schoen Berland reported that more than half of the respondents believe “social media sites are important tastemakers in determining what to watch.”

Whatever the power of tools like Facebook or Pinterest to drive ticket sales opening day, they can’t sustain a growing box office. No volume of “likes” can make an audience like a film. Social media can extend the conversation around a movie, but the nature of the conversation will always depend on how good the film is. Just like a great cast, a great CRM can’t overcome a bad script, but it is essential to marketing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

By Leslie McCreath – Inside CRM
photo credit: Disney ABC Television Group via photopin cc

CRM is Now the Best Friend of Sales

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is today’s name for what every successful shop owner has known throughout the ages – that meeting each customer at the door with a handshake and a smile, knowing their names, and what they want to buy is how you make sales. Inspire loyalty and bring buyers back. Social networks have extended that smile and a virtual handshake ten thousand fold; and new mobile applications are enabling CRM on every form of smart device.

Gartner predicts an exceptional growth rate of 500% by 2014 for mobile CRM. One of the key drivers for this growth has been the hiring of more and more remote workers by small business and large corporations alike. Companies are discovering that worker productivity goes up when work can be done at anytime and from anywhere on mobile platforms.

A new benchmark report from the Aberdeen Group concludes that, “While not all companies deploy sales mobility, those that do, outperform those that do not,” and today, there are many ways to go mobile.

A recent Forbes.com article noted that today there are 110 CRM applications in the Apple App Store and 47 in the Android Store. A survey by IFS and IDC of 450 C-level executives worldwide voted CRM as the most wanted mobile business app on company wish lists. 31% of firms see CRM as the mobile app that would most significantly impact their business. Mobile CRM puts real-time customer data, inventory, follow up and Internet lead tools in hand, anywhere.

Would You Buy a Used Car from this App?

A1 Software Group has just announced the release of its newest app for the iPhone, Salesman’s Best Friend CRM, which boasts an innovative search option for inventory and customers. The app allows sales reps to sort customers, based on their buying needs, and the company’s real time inventory. It allows users to set appointments and save them directly to their iPhone calendar, and the salesperson can even email or call a client directly from the app.

This app is particularly well suited to the automotive industry where sales reps often have a customer who is looking for a specific vehicle that is not in stock at a particular dealership. With Salesman’s Best Friend, the list of every vehicle that clients are currently looking to purchase is cross-referenced with a real time inventory. When any new vehicle is added to the inventory and becomes available, the search feature narrows down potential customers looking for that vehicle or similar vehicles, so salespeople never miss a lead.

The app supports both English and Spanish, includes international measurements and currency and allows the salesperson to have a personal backup of client information on their mobile. The app has no advertisements and no subscription fees. A1 Software Group is currently working on an Android and iPad version.

By Leslie McCreath – Inside CRM

photo credit: Kaptain Kobold via photopin cc

 

How the Marketing and Sales Game Has Changed

The science of marketing and sales has progressed significantly over the span of a few decades. With new advances in methodology technology has taken on a larger role to provide the tools necessary to enhance and support the needs of sales and marketing teams.

Advertising, sales, and marketing have advanced drastically since the days immortalized by AMC’s series Mad Men. The Don Drapers of today’s industry require smart planning, brilliant execution and intelligent tools to be affective.

Marketing and sales are no longer untargeted, spray-and-pray campaigns with little indication of effectiveness or qualitative analysis. Today’s top marketing and sales teams rely heavily on qualification and know that the right tools make the difference before, during, and after a campaign.

Check out the infographic by Ziff Davis from Inside CRM entitled: “Marketing, Sales, and Customer Relationships-The Game has Changed”, to compare how much things really have changed for the better.

 

10 Hosted CRM Features That Will Help You Build Customer Loyalty

How to improve close rates and average deal size with the right CRM solution and features.

Hosted CRM solutions are not all created equal. Some cater to a company’s sales force automation needs, while others focus on marketing campaigns and forecasting. There are vendors that offer both hosted and on-premise CRM tools, and those whose bread and butter is strictly delivering on-demand offerings. But regardless of a solution provider’s area of expertise, all of today’s CRM solutions should include the following features:

  1. Lead Management: Lost revenue is often a result of allowing prospects to fall through the cracks. With lead management, however, every lead is promptly routed to the right salesperson. What’s more, leads can be tracked and managed through the entire sales cycle, from initial identification to final sale.
  2. Feedback Management: By capturing customer feedback across all channels of communication, salespeople can capture a better understanding of the needs, wants and buying patterns of their customers. Furthermore, armed with feedback from countless touch points, a company can establish the processes required to deliver an optimum customer experience.
  3. Order Management: When more than one department plays a part in processing an order, the margin for human error grows, as does the mound of paperwork. With order management, however, quotes are easily converted to orders, modified and saved in a single system.
  4. Territory Management: Keep your sales reps from stepping on each others’ toes with territory management, which easily creates sales territories and manages territory-based processes with workflow rules and reports.
  5. Email Management: One surefire way to anger your customers is by failing to respond to their emails. These days, email correspondence is used to log complaints, issue requests and offer feedback. Fortunately, email management can chronicle customer-related communications with automated tracking of customer emails. As a result, emails can be responded to in a timely fashion, and end users can establish alerts if a message has not been handled within a predetermined time frame
  6. Contact Management: When it comes to staying on top of your customers, Microsoft Outlook is simply not enough. That’s why most CRM solutions include a contact-management component to provide employees with a complete, 360-degree view of their customers. Sales reps can view all contact and account information, as well as a customer’s purchasing history, from a central location. And reps can better manage their to-do lists by establishing alerts notifying them of upcoming tasks and events so that each customer is treated in an individual manner.
  7. Reporting: From standard templates to heavily customized documents, CRM tools can generate detailed reports featuring contact information, opportunity pipeline information, lead-status analyses and specific customer case studies. In the end, these reports are an ideal way to organize a company’s collection of customer information and insights.
  8. Opportunity Management and Forecasting: Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Opportunity management and forecasting provides a complete view of the sales and production pipeline so that businesses can accurately and quickly handle the orders they’re generating.
  9. Marketing Campaign Analysis: How do you know if you’re getting the bang for the buck you’ve invested in a marketing campaign? CRM solutions can help monitor and analyze your advertising efforts, from trade shows to direct mail, so that every marketing dollar spent is spent wisely.
  10. Marketing Revenue Tracking: So positive customer feedback isn’t enough to convince upper-management that a costly marketing campaign produced results? With marketing revenue tracking, a company can identify the marketing activities that generate the most sales revenue by directly linking every sales dollar back to its related campaign.

Reference: http://www.insidecrm.com
photo credit: aolin via photopin cc

 

Some of the Best Customer Service Stories – to Put a Smile on Your Face this Christmas

When someone wants to tell you a story about a recent customer experience, it usually tends to be more Tales from the Crypt than Happily Ever After. But that’s not to say good service isn’t out there. Here are 11 companies that will restore your faith – at least temporarily.

1. Morton’s Steakhouse

In August, author and business consultant Peter Shankman was getting ready to board a flight that was the last leg of a long day of traveling. It just happened to occur over dinnertime, and he knew he would be starving when he deplaned and headed home. “Hey, @Mortons – can you meet me at newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks. :)” Imagine his surprise when he got off the plane to find a tuxedoed gentleman holding a bag that contained a 24 oz. Morton’s porterhouse, shrimp, potatoes, bread, napkins and silverware. Shankman noted that the Tweet had to be noticed, someone had to get approval for the idea, a cook had to make his food, the food had to be driven 23.5 miles away from the nearest Morton’s, and someone had to track down his flight information and figure out where he was landing to meet him at the right location. All while his stomach was grumbling on a 2.5-hour flight. Pretty impressive.

2. Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s, a grocery store in the U.K., must have been pretty amused when they received a letter from a three-year-old girl named Lily. “Why is tiger bread called tiger bread?” she asked, referring to one of their bakery items. “It should be called giraffe bread.” Lily was just being observant – the pattern on the bread does resemble a giraffe more than a tiger. To everyone’s surprise, Chris King, a customer service manager at the chain, responded. “I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea – it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it? It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a looong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.” He enclosed a gift card, and the bread was renamed earlier this year.

3. Zappos

I could do an entire Quick 10 on Zappos customer service superstars alone, but I’ve limited it to one of my favorites instead. A customer’s mother had recently had some medical treatment that left her feet numb and sensitive to pressure – and also rendering most of her shoes totally useless. She ordered her mother six pairs of shoes from Zappos, hoping that at least one of them would work. After receiving the shoes, her mother called Zappos to get instructions on how to return the shoes that didn’t work, explaining why she was returning so many shoes. Two days later, she received a large bouquet of flowers from Zappos, wishing her well and hoping that she recovered from her treatments soon. Two days later, the customer, her mother and her sister were all upgraded to “Zappos VIP Members,” which gives them all free expedited shipping on all orders.

Not impressed? Just Google “Zappos” and “customer service” and you’re bound to find something that astounds you.

4. Trader Joe’s

A Redditor’s 89-year-old grandfather got snowed in a couple years ago and didn’t have much in the house for meals. His daughter called several markets in the area to see if any of them had grocery delivery services, but the only one that said they did was Trader Joe’s. They don’t, actually, but were willing to help out this WWII vet. As the man’s daughter placed an order, the Trader Joe’s representative on the phone recommended other items that would be good for her dad’s low-sodium diet. An up-sell, you may be asking? Nope. They didn’t charge her a dime for the delivery or the groceries.

5. Southwest Airlines

While these other stories have been nice, this one might actually make you teary (it made me teary, and I’m a hard sell). A man was en route from a business trip in L.A. to his daughter’s home in Denver to see his three-year-old grandson for the last time. The boy, beaten into a coma by his mother’s live-in boyfriend, was being taken off of life support at 9 p.m. that evening so his organs could be used to save other lives. The man’s wife called Southwest to arrange the last-minute flight and explained the emergency situation. Unfortunately, the man was held up by L.A. traffic and long lines at LAX and didn’t make it to the gate on time. When he finally made it there 12 minutes after the plane was scheduled to leave, he was shocked to find the pilot waiting for him. He thanked the pilot profusely, and the pilot said, “They can’t go anywhere without me, and I wasn’t going anywhere without you. Now relax. We’ll get you there. And again, I’m so sorry.”
Image of a Southwest plane at LAX by Wikimedia user Basil D Soufi

6. Amazon

If you order a PlayStation online and it gets snatched from your doorstep instead of being delivered safely to your living room, that’s your problem, right? Or maybe it’s the delivery service’s problem. Or it’s the problem of the neighbor who signed for your expensive gaming system but didn’t bother to bring it inside to protect it from sticky fingers. Wherever the blame lands, it’s definitely not the problem of the company who fulfilled their end of the bargain by shipping the system using a secure method. However, when this scenario happened to an Amazon customer a few years ago, he called them to beg – plead – to see if there was anything that could be done because his son was expecting a PlayStation from Santa. Much to the customer’s shock, they not only sent another, but they didn’t even charge him for shipping. It even made it there on time for Christmas.

7. The Ritz-Carlton

Because of their son’s food allergies, a family vacationing at the Ritz-Carlton, Bali, was always careful to bring their own supply of specialized eggs and milk. In this particular instance, however, the food was ruined en route. The Ritz-Carlton manager couldn’t find any of the special items in town, but his executive chef recalled that a store in Singapore sold them. The chef contacted his mother-in-law, who lived there, and had her purchase the items, then fly to Bali (about 2.5 hours) to deliver them. Only at the Ritz-Carlton.

8. Nordstrom

The tales of Nordie’s customer service are so mind-boggling that some of them are considered urban legend, but I’ll give you one that’s definitely factual. Last year, a member of the security staff noticed a woman crawling around on her hands and knees on the sales floor. When he discovered that she was looking for a diamond that had fallen out of her wedding ring while she was trying on clothes, he got down and searched with her. He also recruited a small team of people to help comb the floors. Eventually, the crew painstakingly picked through the dirt and debris in the store vacuum cleaners before coming up with the woman’s diamond.

9. Apple

This one may be a rumor, but the story was all over the place with the launch of the iPad 2 last year. Apparently a man bought an iPad online, then returned it to the company almost immediately, affixing a Post-It to the front of the device that simply read, “Wife said no.” Returns processors must have gotten a kick out of it, because the story eventually made its way to a couple of Apple VPs, who refunded the customer and returned the iPad with an attached Post-It that said, “Apple said yes.” If it is a rumor, perhaps Apple should take note with the upcoming iPad 3 launch.

10. Lexus

Most of us have experienced it at one time or another – the dreaded vehicle recall. It’s usually some minor part, but replacing it ends up being a huge inconvenience for the car owner, even when replacement parts are free. Lexus certainly knows how to take the sting out of that. Although previous recalls had been addressed by sending technicians to the affected customers’ homes to fix the problem on the spot, when the Lexus ES 350 sedan was recalled in 2006, the company decided to ask owners to come on into the dealership. Instead of sitting in a waiting room waiting for their cars to be worked on, customers were given a brand new Lexus instead, no questions asked.

11. Gaylord Opryland

A writer was in Nashville for a blogging conference last month and adored the clock radio at her hotel, the Gaylord Opryland. It wasn’t just any clock radio, but a clock radio/noise machine with very specific spa-style music that relaxed this writer as if she were actually getting a deep-tissue massage every time it played. Wanting to experience the same serenity at home, the blogger took to Twitter to ask the folks at the hotel where she could purchase one. Their response, essentially, was, “Sorry, it’s made just for us, but here’s a similar one at the Sharper Image.” Unfortunately, the one they recommended lacked the spa music feature that the blogger loved so much. She told them as much and thanked them for the effort anyway. When she returned to her room later, she found a second clock radio sitting next to the permanent one, along with a note saying, “We hope you enjoy these spa sounds at home.”

Let’s spread a little goodwill today – tell us your best-ever customer service story in the comments.
Source: http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/120126#ixzz2FVJaA0jQ

Common FAQs on Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

  1. What is CRM?

2.  What are the goals of CRM?

  • Find, attract, and win new clients
  • Nurture and retain those the company already has
  • Increase the customer loyalty
  • Attract former clients back
  • Reduce the costs of marketing and client service by automating common business processes
 
    3.  Is CRM suitable for my company?

The answer is most definitely YES!  You are in business because of your customers and it makes sense for you to build lasting relationships with them to make them loyal customers who will give you repeat business and refer you to others.

A CRM system gives you a 360 degree view of all the interactions with your customer in a central location.

        4. Can you recommend a good CRM system? Are they very expensive?

      There are many CRM systems on the market and the choice for which CRM is best for you depends on your business objectives and the way your business runs. A CRM consultant can help you make the right decision for your business.  A CRM system doesn’t have to be a costly affair.  There are some pretty comprehensive systems from as little as $10 per user per month that will meet most business’s needs.
 
 

        5. What are some of common business activities CRM can help me save time with?

  • Handling enquiries via phone, email etc
  • Capturing contact information
  • Creating quotes
  • Following up with customers
  • Creating invoices
  • Keeping track of potential sales
  • Keeping track of products/services purchased.
  • Emailing newsletters or info about upcoming events or new products
  • Tracking Marketing  – Newspaper ads, Facebook, cold calling
  • Managing contracts, agreements and documents

 

       6. Example Success Stories?

Haworth Guitars

RSPCA

 


Using CRM Software to Increase Sales

 

How CRM can help you plan, achieve and manage your sales better

No sales, no business. It’s as simple as that. Finding new leads, negotiation, customer acquisition, post-sales support and sales planning are all too important to leave to chance. Using the appropriate customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you make the most of your customer data and help your salespeople do better. Even in very small companies, using CRM software to coordinate sales can bring big dividends.

How can CRM help the sales function?

  • Customer Data in one place. Sales teams spend too much time putting together customer data stored in different locations. CRM software lets people access data on customers’ past purchases, behaviour, preferences, usage as well as demographic and contact information quickly. Regularly updating this data ensures that sales teams do not have to scramble for information at the last-minute before a call or a meeting.
  • Qualifying Leads. Not every lead converts into a sale. So the question is: how do you improve the ratio? CRM software can track past performance and identify metrics, for example, past purchase value or demographic indicators such as income or age, that indicate which leads are ‘hot’ and which are not. This allows you to devote more attention to the best opportunities.
  • Cross-Selling. With better and more updated knowledge of customer behavior and preferences, salespeople have a higher chance of re-selling or up-selling to existing customers.
  • Manage Cash Flow. All businesses and especially small- to mid-sized ones find predicting and managing cash flow one of their biggest challenges. Using CRM software gives businesses a clearer picture of the sales pipeline. How many leads exist? Which are likely to convert to a sale? CRM helps you answer these questions.
  • Team Management. You can more easily track your team’s activities. CRM lets you see who is performing well and who needs help. It can also simplify bonus calculations by giving detailed reports on sales. More importantly, because everyone has access to the same data, teams can avoid mistakes, oversights and delays.
  • Future Planning. Modern CRM systems provide for detailed reporting, including the ability to link sales results with different inputs such as campaign spends, customer research scores or sales staff employed. This can help businesses analyse the cause of both success and failure, and plan better for future rounds of sales activity.

Ref: http://h41112.www4.hp.com/promo/obc/uk/en/business-it-advice/increase-your-sales/using-crm-software-to-increase-sales.html