Tomorrow I will tell you about modern CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. Make sure you subscribe to this series so you don’t miss out. Fill in your name and e-mail below and click Subscribe.
Let's Take A Trip Down Memory Lane
Recently I had to send a document via the Postal Service. I had no idea what a postage stamp cost and the only envelope I could find had long since lost its self seal stickability.
Yet it wasn’t that long ago, OK about 30 years and I am giving my age away, that company marketing departments spent hours creating lists of names, job titles, companies and postal addresses in a DOS format spreadsheet which they used to generate address labels. Offices were filled with the noise of the clackety clack Dot Matrix printer spewing out hundreds of pages of labels. Boxes of paper and printed leaflets and brochures took up vast amounts of space.
The mail room or anyone who could be roped in, filled the envelopes with the latest brochure or letter, attached the labels, stamped the back with a return address and packed them in 100s for delivery to the post office where they would be bulk mailed to their customers and prospective customers.
A few days later enquiries via the fixed landline phone would trickle in and the mailbag would fill with the letters that didn’t reach the intended destination.
Sales staff would be despatched with armloads of yet more printed literature in the pursuit of closing that sale.
Oh the excitement when fax machines with rolls of special paper, that always ran out at inopportune moments, became the next business essential. Connect this magic piece of equipment to the telephone line and send a document instantly to someone who also had a fax machine. It became the new marketing tool, letting customers know about latest special offers and events.
Bulk mail was still the main method of enticing customers.
As desktop computers became more affordable and common in the early 1990s, network cables snaked around the office connecting departments to one another. CRM (Customer Relation Management) became the new buzzword. Instead of spreadsheets, databases were created with a wealth of information about clients and prospective customers and shared throughout the organisation.
Bulk mail still prevailed.
Towards the end of the 20th century technology exploded along with the dotcom boom and bust. Although the dial up modem was painfully slow, companies tentatively started to use e-mail to communicate. It was a tedious process, sending out a single e-mail at a time and attachments took forever to download. It was also very expensive.
Companies began to create static websites which provided basic information about themselves and what products and services they offered.
Still they printed and mailed and cold called over the phone.
Car phones and Mobile phones made it easier to stay in contact with sales staff and with the advent of SMS technology companies were able to instantly let customers and potential customers know what we were offering.
Now we have high speed internet, dynamic websites, e-commerce websites and sophisticated integrated mailing programmes that at a click of a button can tell you who has received your mail, whether they have opened it or not and if so which links they click on. It enables marketers to segment their database far more accurately and is a lot less the hit and miss affair bulk mailing used to be.
The use of Social Media has enabled the sharing of content instantly to an enormous audience. Conference calls, Google Hangouts, Webinars and Skype have transformed the way business is transacted.
Yes, technology has changed but the principles of the marketing and sales process have remained constant.
- Companies still have to build a database of potential leads to pass on to sales staff.
- The list needs to be maintained with up to date information and the dead wood and the un-subscribes promptly removed.
- The content has to be of high quality, interesting and valuable to your target market.
- You need to promote your products and services as widely as possible.
- Enquiries must be followed up professionally and quickly to close the sale.
Use Technology to enhance your business and see it grow.
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