As a small business or startup, you have a lot on your to-do list: increasing awareness of your brand, converting leads into customers, and supporting customers after sales. And of course there is the whole admin behind the scenes.
A big part of that is contact management.
To enable your small business to grow successfully and sustainably, you need to have a strong contact management strategy in place. But what does this mean and how can you get it right?
What is contact management?
Contact management is how you view all contact data in your business, including contact information, communication preferences, sales history, and customer interactions with your business. It enables each team in your organization to have the information they need to stay productive and have the context they need to deliver personalized interactions.
Your contacts can include:
- Leads (or people who are in your pipeline but have not bought from you yet)
- Current and past customers
A contact management strategy is implemented with CRM software that stores all your small business contact data in one centralized location.
Although contact management is traditionally salespeople, CRM has evolved rapidly in recent years. Now, all-in-one CRM platforms offer advanced features to marketing and customer service teams to store and manage their own interactions, remove information silos, and increase sales collaboration.
An all-in-one CRM or CRM that is highly integrated with your other apps is a particularly good solution for managing and streamlining your entire customer journey like you:
- Attract and collect new marketing leads
- Caring for these leads to being ready for sale
- Convert leads to paying customers
- Perform onboarding services and provide ongoing support
- Offer upgrades and added value
Advantages of strong contact control
Contact management affects far more than sales. When you get it right, the benefits echo throughout your small business, as each role has more data and insights at your fingertips. It also enriches all aspects of the customer journey.
With good contact management processes you can:
- Enrich your customer experiences with data-driven insights and automation
- Spend less time on admin, freeing up time for what matters most
- Maximize conversions by delivering the right messages at the right time
Contact management is something your business will always do, but most small businesses have plenty of room for improvement to maximize their efficiency in this area.
Keep reading for our tips on how to get the most out of contact management in your small business.
Six contact management best practices
Here’s our guide to using contact management strategies to drive growth and reduce headaches for your business, both now and further down.
1. Keep your contact details clean.
Smooth contact management starts with clean data. You can not deliver an excellent customer experience if you have incorrect or conflicting data about your customers, nor can you have trouble-free business operations and reporting in your business.
While you can reduce the amount of bad data that enters your database by adjusting your lead generation forms and implementing clear processes that your team can follow, you can not avoid it all. Therefore, every business needs regular data cleanup. You can e.g. Plan this every quarter.
As part of a data cleanup, take the time to remove:
- Copy contacts
- Incorrect or outdated contact data, e.g. Emails that are harshly rejected
- Contacts that will no longer hear from you
Data cleanup does not have to be completely manual. There is a lot you can automate. For example, many CRMs and email marketing tools highlight duplicates so you can merge or delete them.
Your email marketing software also helps you identify hard bounce emails along with groups of contacts who are not signed up. Once you are sure that you can clean up this data, you can delete it from the app.
2. Choose the right CRM.
As part of a strong contact management strategy, your CRM should be the core of your business. It is the software where you store all your important contact data as well as interactions with each customer and lead.
This makes your CRM one of the most important apps to suit your business. Take the time to research different CRMs and find the right fit for your industry, company size, sales and marketing strategy and goals.
As your business grows, so does your CRM. This can mean that you upgrade your plan, adjust your strategy, or even change tools as you scale.
Centralize your contact details.
The best contact management strategies include a centralized database that stores all contacts in one place. This will generally be your CRM, which is another reason why it is important to follow step 2 and choose the right one!
By having a centralized contact database, you can:
- Find all the important insights you need in one app
- Makes it easy for other teams to find data without having to have login information and training in lots of tools they don’t need to use
- Divide information silos between departments
To begin centralizing your data, identify the key apps in your stack that collect contact data. You can then synchronize this data with your CRM.
4. Automatically sync contact data between your apps.
Remember: For the most effective contact management results in your small business, you can not let the contact databases in your apps be isolated from each other.
Your CRM, marketing apps, sales stack and all the other tools in your business deliver the best results when connected as part of an integrated ecosystem. The best way to achieve this is with data synchronization.
After creating a centralized contact database, your next step is to sync relevant data from it to your individual apps.
5. Collect data that enriches your insights.
By synchronizing contact data between your apps, you can automatically enrich the insights you have at your fingertips.
If you collect geographic or content usage data in your CRM, you can synchronize this with your email marketing platform and use it to segment subscribers into more accurate mailing lists.
Use good judgment with your contact details.
All large and small businesses must be aware of data protection rules. However, this goes beyond playing by the rules and check boxes.
Be a brand that your prospects and customers can trust with their data. Protect the information they give you and respect their privacy. This may not have an easily measurable ROI, but it will always have an impact to have customers who trust your brand.