A CRM system that works with MailChimp

For several years, I have been a MailChimp trainer.  During the training sessions, I am often asked about CRM solutions that work with MailChimp. There are several options and one that I like is Capsule CRM.

Capsule is a cloud based system. You can login to it via a website browser or via their App (which is very useful). You can create a free account and experiment with it (with up to 250 contacts).

The best CRM (Customer Relationship Management system) for your business is the one that you actually use.

I have read countless stories in the marketing and business press regarding complex databases, that have cost a great deal of money,  which have failed.

Many CRMs are too complicated and take too long to learn.

You can install a CRM on your own office server and there may well be good reasons for doing this, i.e. if it integrates with your accounting / e-commerce system.

Alternatively, you can use a cloud based system. This option can be easy to implement and inexpensive to run.

MailChimp and Capsule and be linked together via an API (Application Programming Interface).

I have got to know the Capsule CRM well as we use it every day within The Marketing Compass and I offer Capsule CRM training.


The song of the customer

I want to talk to someone now.
No, I cannot wait.
I have a million questions.
Does it do this?
Does it do that?
Why is it so expensive?
What do you think of this competitor?
I am not being difficult but…
All of a sudden I am not in a rush.
I will think it over.
Yes, I have your proposal.
Yes, I am still alive, thank you for asking.
Remember me?
OK I will buy it.
Can I have it today?
I can’t make it work.
I have 10,000 questions.
OK I am happy now.
What a great company you have.
I would like to buy another one please.

Who are your customers?

The Marketing Compass logoEvery business has a quick answer to this question. When I ask my seminar audiences, they are happy to describe their customers to me. However, I wonder how deep their knowledge goes?

In post industrial fast moving economies, the lines have become blurred, when it comes to trying to pin people down in terms of job title or demographics. In the last century, the paper that I read, my postcode, job title and age would give you a reasonably clear idea of buying preferences. This has become much more of challenge in recent years.

Business to Business: The usual attributes include: organisation type, job title and where they are based.

Consumer marketing: Typical attributes include: gender, age, socio-economic group and where they live (i.e. postcode).

Additional information (B2B and B2C) would include who influences them, and what media do they read, listen to and watch?

Think in terms of a timeline: dormant, current and prospective customers. What are the differences between these different groups?

Questions to ask yourself include: who influences the buying decision? Does your promotional mix reach them? Who makes the decision to buy? Why would they buy from you again?

Many buying decisions are influenced by word of mouth. This far outweighs the direct influence of social media on buyers. How can you reach the people that influence the sale is a key question to ask yourself.

An email marketing list can be really helpful – particularly if subscribers reveal information about themselves via a sign-up form. This can be cross referenced to the customer lists within your CRM. Your CRM should have a considerable amount of information about your customers (taking into account the data protection legal requirements).

Surveys can help, however, it can be difficult to get people to help with this. Haing said this, I am amazed by the small percentage of companies that bother to ask for customer feedback. The easiest way to get feedback is via a smartphone, by the way.

Above all, you need to continually talk to customers and meet with them in person. No machine or software program can replace the nuanced information that happens when two people talk to each other.

Finally, try and see your brand, products and services from your customers’ perspective. If you were one of your customers – what would you think of your marketing, service and performance?

Putting the customer at the heart of your business

Marketing is all about customers. Finding them is supposedly the hard part. Keeping them is a different thing entirely. Various encounters that I have had this summer, with a wide variety of enterprises, has made me think about customers and what they appear to mean to different organisations.

A large financial institution comes to mind. I had an issue that needed resolving within one of their departments. It transpired that the department could not help me. The problem was that they they didn’t know who else could. Two months, dozens of phone calls and emails later I finally resolved the matter. I think that they have lost site of what a customer is. As far as I am concerned they saw me as a nuisance, which is funny really, as I have been a customer of theirs for over 40 years.

The financial institution in question has many parts, hundreds of offices and thousands of staff, many of whom I have got to know quite well, as I was passed along the chain of “how can I get rid of this guy?” If there had been one person who could have looked after me and resolved my challenge, I wouldn’t be looking at alternative suppliers (of which there are many).

I have called this blog “Putting the customer at the heart of your business” because for human beings ‘Feelings R Us’. If you feel good about a purchase, you may well tell your friends and you may also return for more of the same product / service. The pleasurable experience can last for a long time. Sadly, it does not take much to upset us, does it? An unkind word or gesture; not being listened to; or a myriad of others things can upset the balance of our emotions.

Many companies are product focused. I understand this, as running a business is tough enough without getting all schmaltzy about the customers. Having said this, the products don’t have feelings, do they?

Here are some ideas for you:
* Try and see your products and services from your customers’ perspective
* Ring up your company and see what the reception is like
* Map out the customer journey and see what you put them through
* Keep track of customers within your software, i.e. your CRM
…see: Capsule CRM review

Customer attraction system

Do you have a Customer Attraction System (CAS) as part of your business model? Does it generate a steady stream of conversations, sales enquiries and sales? Is it predictable? During the last century, marketing was largely all about pushing. Companies pushed the (unwilling) customer towards their brands, using expensive advertising, telesales, direct mail and sales forces. In the 21st century, pushing has become more difficult, due to the fragmentation of media, an explosion of communication channels (i.e. TV and radio stations, websites, blogs etc), laws to protect consumers from overactive marketers and more educated buyers.

Smart companies realise that getting customers to come to them is way better than the old style ‘hunt and kill’ methodology. Broadly speaking, an attraction based approach includes customer education and knowledge sharing. It is co-operative, trusting, interactive and more female than male in nature. It also happens to be ideal for the world wide web – which was originally conceived as a way of sharing files amongst scientists.

I know that this approach does not appeal to everyone. “Why should I share my hard won knowledge?” they say to me. “That’s fine,” I reply. “Keep all of your professional knowledge locked up in a darkened room. Lock and chain the door. Let some large, angry dogs wander around the corridors putting the fear of God into anyone who enters the building. What will happen? The knowledge will shrivel and die, as it needs interaction with others to flourish and grow (just like you do). Mind you, you’ll have to go and bang on all of the doors in the neighbourhood to find new business. By the way, how will your neighbours know that you are so brilliant at what you do, as they can’t see your expertise?”

My advice is to share a little more. If you need any more encouragement, I am sure that your competitors are already doing this.

By the way my last book was entitled ‘How to get clients to come to you‘ so this is a subject close to my heart!

Nigel Temple is a marketing consultant, speaker and trainer. He shows business owners, professionals and teams how to get better results from 21st century marketing – including brand awareness, website traffic and sales enquiries. To find out more about Nigel’s services email joanna@nigeltemple.com or call Joanna on +44 (0)1628 773128.

He welcomes media enquiries about 21st century marketing, social media and digital marketing. He has appeared within the national press and broadcast media.

Nigel is the founder of The Marketing Compass – join thousands of business owners, tell us about your business and ask some marketing questions!