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Marketing - 6 min READ

Why a CRM Is a Customer Marketer’s Secret Weapon

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Author photo: Liz Gonzalez

Liz Gonzalez

Ever wonder where companies magically pull case studies from?

You click on a website and there they are: dozens of case studies from real customers who’ve turned into the company’s loudest champions.

But what you don’t normally see is the work that goes into the case studies before they’re presented in a shiny, sometimes-downloadable document. In most cases, the success of a case study revolves around getting the right customers to participate—at the right time.

And with tens of thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of customers, how in the world do you stay on top of the opportunities so that you’re able to strike while the iron’s hot?

The answer is CRM.

As a customer marketer, you might be asking yourself… Well, what exactly will CRM do for me?

Here’s how we use a CRM in our customer marketing at Copper.

Timing is everything.

You can’t ask someone to participate in a marketing effort as soon as they become a customer. But you shouldn’t wait too long, either.

You want customers that love your product enough that they’re going to shout about it from the rooftop. Or as I love to say to my team… you want to be striking when the iron’s hot!

If every single customer participated in a case study at exactly the same time in their lifecycle, customer marketing would be a breeze. But we all know that’s just now how the game works. While one customer might be ready to recommend your product to everyone within a week, the other could take months before they become an advocate—or never at all.

Using a CRM gives you the power to keep track and make the most of every single customer connection. It’s the easiest way for us to stay on top of all the moving pieces in our customer marketing strategy.

CRM isn’t just for sales teams.

Although CRM is built with a sales teams in mind, it doesn’t mean they’re just for sales teams.

When you strip it back, customer marketing works best when it’s in tune with other departments.

It’s about having your finger on the pulse of every customer’s journey, end to end.

And because our world revolves around our customers, what better tool to work with than the system of record for all of the company’s relationships?

A good CRM is just as helpful for a customer marketer as it is for a sales rep.

Why? Firstly, your customer’s data, journey, and history are stored in a single database.

That database then becomes a hub where you’re able to collaborate with every team in the company. It’s at this stage (when the customer’s journey is being truly looked after) that you’re able to get the most out of that customer’s relationship.

At Copper, a CRM is more than just a sales pipeline. It’s a relationship-building machine.

Here are three ways to use CRM as your secret weapon for customer marketing.

1. Case study pipeline and tracking

Having a CRM is like having a bird’s eye view of where every case study in your pipeline is at.

It’s a great way to figure out where both new and mature customers are at so you can jump in and connect with them at the right time.

Having this amount of knowledge on our customer database means you’re also more likely to get a positive result when you ask them to participate in a case study.

We use a customized pipeline to track case studies that are in progress and it also shows studies that are out for approval. But the CRM really comes in handy with the “target” tab. This allows us to segment customers who have reached the stage of becoming the next brand advocates.

Using pipeline management to track targets for case studies is also great for team collaborations.

It lets everyone in the company know where we’re at with each case study, which is a massive timesaver and improves efficiency across the board.

For example, once a case study is marked as complete, the marketing team can swoop in and use it in an advertising strategy. Or, the web team can upload it to a landing page.

Think of this part of the CRM as a single (time-saving) source of truth for all case studies.

Bonus: no more lost case studies.

Customer marketers everywhere know about the harsh reality of customer approval timelines. How many times have you sent out a case study and waited so long for it to be approved… only to forget about it?

All that wasted time. The CRM automatically alerts us to follow up with case studies so they aren’t lost in the shuffle (and adds handy alerts like this one to Google Calendar, too.)

Your team members can also see what emails you’ve sent out to any customers. This is super handy if any of them need to check in and see when the last interaction was. Saving a double-up on communications to a customer never hurts!

All of these little automations in the CRM take the stress out of follow-ups and makes the working day just a little bit smoother.

2. Engagement with each and every opportunity.

How many times have you been in a meeting and a colleague has mentioned that they’ve had a call from a happy customer? Or maybe a sales rep has received a customer’s email raving about how your product has been a game changer for them?

Copper helps you get a head start with case studies. If you already know that the customer is having a good experience with the product, you’ll know that approaching them isn’t likely going to be a wasted effort.

If you reach out to a customer for a case study and the timing isn’t right, just make a note to come back to them. You can also use @ mentions to collaborate with other teams and let them know a good time for a warm introduction.

The best thing about the cross-functionality a CRM gives you it can help you save time by getting rid of back and forth emails between sales and customer support teams.

Now, you’ll always know which team member has communicated with which customer.

It’s all right in front of you, 24/7.

3. Marketing permissions tracking

Often, teams will tip each other off when a customer shows signs of becoming a brand advocate.

Amazing, right? Another opportunity for a case study or some extra press.

But then comes the legwork. First, you’d have to search for the customer's initial records from when they came on board. Then, you’d have to trawl through them to see if they agreed to participate in any press or case study work.

It can be a buzzkill and the definition of wasted time. And it’s time you could’ve spent making more moves with customers.

Luckily, with a CRM, everything that the customer agreed to during onboarding is stored on their customer profile. Using a combination of custom fields and activity tags during the customer onboarding process, you’ll be able to quickly see if the customer agreed to any press work or reference calls.

For example, Copper lets you add custom fields to each person’s record, which can be easily sorted and filtered so you can quickly pull these out from a list.

It makes following up a painless task and saves our customer marketing team a lot of time.

With a CRM, customer success is on your team’s radar.

The huge amount of time saved in your customer marketing efforts can’t be underestimated. Same goes for the ability to know at a glance the status of every single customer in your database.

When you strip it back, the path to building the ultimate customer relationship is all about team collaboration. From your sales to support to customer marketing teams, the customer journey needs to be fulfilled end to end.

With a CRM, even if you don’t have a huge customer marketing team, you can efficiently turn customers into brand advocates, share ideas and streamline your team’s processes, and always connect with customers at the perfect time. Give it a try!

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