Over 500,000 businesses are started each year.

As a business owner, it’s important to be cognizant of the fact that new competitors consistently show up in your space. And just like you, they’re always employing new tactics to help increase the size of their market share in your industry.

To stay ahead of the game and provide a customer-centric marketing plan, many new businesses are trying to understand how to properly leverage their CRM. This helps them better understand and reach their customers, leading to improved customer relations and conversion rates, among other benefits.

Studying your competition is a great way to help optimize your own use of CRM and find areas of your niche that are being underserved.

Today we are going to look at 7 different ways that businesses are using their CRM to gain a competitive edge.

Product Marketing

Product Marketing

Running a business requires you to keep a constant watch over your competitors. This usually requires monitoring their website, products, and customer service, for example. When comparing your competitions’ products to your own, you can usually tell how well they know their audience by the way their products are being marketed.

If their product descriptions are in tune with their audience needs--if they tell a story about how their products are the perfect solution to their ideal customer’s problems and challenges--your competitors are clearly paying attention to customer data.

The data in your CRM gives you the ability to track customer buying habits and allows you to figure out buyer intent. Ultimately, this helps provide all of the information that a customer could want, answering their questions to push them through the sales funnel.

Using your CRM can help to improve conversion rates by learning about your customers’ buying habits, needs, and pain points so you can optimize your product marketing to match their purchasing journey.

Customer Interaction

Smart managers know that customer service can make or break an entire company.

If your competition is studying the customers in your industry, they are able to provide them with better customer experiences. And they’re this because the current trends in customer behavior speak to the importance of doing so. PwC reports that 73% of people say that customer experience is a large part of their purchasing decision.

This is where a CRM can help streamline the process and make you well known for providing great customer experiences.

Your CRM houses all the information you need to know about a specific customer, such as their order history and support request data. This information is priceless, as you can easily navigate to any problem order or even help complete a new order based on the type of products they’ve ordered in the past.

CRM systems also allow you to be proactive in your customer support approach. If a certain customer seems to consistently bring up the same issue, perhaps it’s an opportunity to reach out and offer some training, rather than waiting until the next time they reach out to complain again.

What it all boils down to is having the information you need to service the customer quickly and efficiently. This helps keep your customers happy and ultimately drives revenue by increasing their lifetime value through repeat purchases, maintenance, and upgrades.

Customer Retention Rate

Your competitors are working hard to increase their market share. That means strategizing to bring your customers to their business, and building relationships that keep them customers for life.

Basically, your competition is doing anything and everything they can to drive their retention rates as high as possible, including leveraging their CRM to make it happen.

How can you use CRM to increase customer retention rates?

The options include using data from your CRM to provide amazing customer service, marketing the right products (at the right time) to your customers, and even providing incentives to those who are frequent buyers.

Increasing your customer retention rate means your customers are consistently coming back for more purchases, helping you secure a larger portion of the market share than your competitors.

Organization

One of the most frequently mentioned benefits of using a CRM is improved organization through efficient data storage.

When comparing your business to the competition, you can easily identify who is better organized, based on their marketing, sales strategies, and overall business operations.

If your competition seems to always be the leader in every aspect of your industry, it may be time to consider whether or not your CRM is really keeping you organized. After all, CRMs are only as good as the data they store.

By taking the time to clean your data and properly organize your CRM, you’ll see tangible benefits in multiple areas of your business.

For example, you’ll help your sales team provide a better buying experience and you’ll give your support teams the ability to decrease service response time. Let’s not forget you’ll also provide your marketing team the information they need to optimize your advertisements to more segmented groups of prospects, leading to higher conversion rates.

Cross-Selling & Upselling

If you’re running an e-commerce business and take the time to browse your competitors' websites, you may notice them upselling or cross-selling products that compliment the items you view.

You might also see them pushing prospective customers to purchase their “signature products,” which likely are the high-margin items. This is an easy way to increase the average order value and get customers buying higher profit items.

By storing customer purchasing data in your CRM, you’ll be able to take a similar approach. CRM systems help pair items that customers have purchased together, allowing you to upsell or cross-sell similar products when the time is right.

Not only is this a great strategy for increasing sales, but it also allows you to build “kits” of similar products. You can subsequently work with your marketing team to arrange these product packages on your website in a way that leads to large profit margins and provides a better buying experience for the customer.

As an added benefit, organizing your product data in this way will help as a training tool for your sales team to learn commonly upsold products.

Social Media

Social Media

Social media is a big part of billions of people's everyday lives. In 2018, an estimated 2.62 billion people used at least one social networking platform worldwide.

Your competitors are on social media and have been for a while. They are busy creating their own network of loyal customers, influencers, and brand advocates that can help market their products to a larger audience. They’re also taking a proactive approach in supporting their customers by reaching out to them and responding to their inquiries on social media.

Well-built CRMs help bring all your customer interactions into one place and connect social profiles with your “regular” CRM customer profiles, providing a quick and easy way to service customers who may have questions on their orders.

Studying how your competition is using social media to improve brand awareness and customer service is an easy way for you to win over your current customers--and hopefully increase your own loyal following along the way.

Overall Operations

The last item on our list is why this post touts “6.5 things to learn.” It’s not necessarily a strategy or tactic; it’s more of a general recommendation.

Simply put, take a look at your competitors’ overall operations. If their businesses seem to run like well-oiled machines, chances are, they’re using a robust, well-organized CRM to help manage every branch of their operation.

Customers like to do business with companies that are organized, professional and know how to meet their constantly-changing needs.

Take a look at your competition, and identify which tactics and strategies are making them successful. How do they sell and market their products, interact with their customers, and stay organized?

Once you understand these important factors and apply what you learn to your company’s CRM strategy, you’ll start to see the benefits we discussed today.

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