While the New Year is still around the corner, now is the time to start planning how you’ll ensure your customer relationships remain on the right track in 2015. But don’t wait until January 1st! Now’s the time to create a plan and start executing so that next year you’re not scrambling to provide your customers with great deals and offers. Here’s a game plan that, if executed now, will make it easier to serve customers next year.

Step 1: Make Sure Everyone’s On Board

Your customer relationship management software won’t help your business succeed unless your entire sales team is ready and willing to use it. Set yourself up for success next year by ensuring everyone has been adequately trained, their questions have been answered, and they’re using the CRM to full advantage. If they’re not, ask them for the reasons. Is it difficult to use? Are they simply resistant to change? Do what you can to make the transition easier for them.

Action Item: Schedule a training day while work is slow during the holiday season. That way, those who have been trained get a refresher and newer hires get the hands-on training they need. Insightly has great online self-service training tools so that your team can learn at their own pace and their own convenience.

Step 2: Create a Customer Touch Plan

You know that repeat business is at the core of your company’s revenues. But if you’re not regularly checking in with customers, you can’t increase repeat sales. Create a plan for how you’ll regularly check in with customers next year. This can involve:

● Phone calls

● In-person meetings

● Email campaigns

Action Item: Put it on your calendar to check in by phone or email every quarter, and create a series of emails to fill in the gaps with great offers.

Step 3: Reward Loyal Customers

Another way to maximize those customer relationships is to create a loyalty program that rewards customers for coming back. Perhaps you can send an email to anyone who’s made a purchase a week later with a discount on their next purchase. Or use a points system where they can redeem points for prizes.

Action Item: Conduct a survey for your customers to get their input on what they would want out of a loyalty program.

Step 4: Set Your Holiday Deals Calendar

Holidays are great opportunities to maximize sales throughout the year. Create a calendar now for all of next year’s holidays, including the small ones (National Talk Like a Pirate Day, anyone?) and build marketing campaigns around them. All your marketing efforts — from social to email — should encompass each holiday deal.

Action Item: Sit down with your teams to discuss offers for each holiday that are most likely to boost sales, then create a plan for how you’ll promote it across all channels.

Step 5: Create Alerts for Milestone

Your customers probably don’t expect you to be paying much attention to them if they’re not buying from you, so surprise them. You can set alerts for a client’s birthday and send her a gift or an extra special offer by email. You can do the same for the anniversary of a customer’s first purchase. These don’t have to be manual activities, and if set up correctly in your CRM, can run themselves.

Action Item: Create email templates for every milestone you want to respond to, with offers for each. Track results and tweak as necessary.

Everything you do right now will help you have better relationships with your customers in 2015, and CRM plays a big role in building those relationships. Responsive and intuitive customer relationship management is just another way Insightly CRM helps businesses better serve their clients.

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