Having that ‘little something’

How many different marketing and business development activities do you do? It’s probably fair to say there are far too many to do really well with your current headcount and budget restrictions. We probably all send emailings, post stuff, print flyers, keep the media ‘warm’, run events, blog, etc. Appointment setting or lead generation via ‘tele-marketing’ isn’t so popular. Can’t think why…

All this activity helps you get visibility, or comply with what your target market expects. But we work in a people sector. People buy from people. Look, I bet you return time and again to your favourite hairdresser, even me, and I started losing my hair before leaving school, 26 years ago. All hairdressers have been trained to cut hair, but yours has that ‘little something’ that you like. So you go back.

The professional services sector is just the same, isn’t it? Clients buy from the person giving the advice, not ‘the technical knowledge’ which research says is taken for granted. The personal relationship is key. So how many of us focus our CRM system on relationship building? Pinging out a couple of 5,000 mailers is far easier.

We all know senior staff network. Continually meeting people builds the relationship and puts each person at the ‘front of mind’ of the other. Going for a few glasses of wine with that key referrer? Yep, it’s work – just like sending those emails. When that person needs to use the service your firm offers, do they recall your email or that chat? Going with the person you ‘know, like and trust’ removes the hassle of having to sift through the yellow pages or Google.

So how is your CRM database helping that networking activity go particularly well? And the follow-up? Loads of CRM systems do ‘marketing-automation’, or you can bolt one onto your CRM if it doesn’t. So why not get your CRM system to email a summary of the last three to six months activity with that contact (eg. meetings, bids & pitches, events booked onto, mailings sent and clicked in) to the relevant staff member a few days before they go to that ‘meeting’? Then afterwards, send a ‘great to meet you again last night’ email to the contact (or probably to the staff member to forward on, topping and tailing first)? It would probably help that staff member to actually do a follow-up too. Not hard is it to go that little bit further? Now that’s relationship management.

Right, you enjoy this issue, I’m taking mine to my favourite barbers…

Simon McNidder, Regional Director, PM Forum West Midlands