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A Coordinated Response: Leveraging CRM and Related Technology to Communicate During the COVID-19 Crisis

-By and

The world is drastically different than it was just a few short weeks ago, forcing all of us to try to adjust to what is being called the #TheNewNormal – which we all know is anything but. While we can’t control the situation, which is definitely disconcerting, what we can control is our response to it. The firms that succeed will be the ones that learn to adapt. This means adopting new business development processes, practices and technology to ensure that you can stay in continuous communication with your core constituencies.

The Right Approach

By now, like most firms, you have probably sent at least a few (hundred) COVID-19 related emails. Of course, this is the time to reach out to all your clients, prospects referral sources – every key contact – through a concerted firm-wide effort. While this is important and necessary, don’t leave it at that! During this time of social distancing, maintaining your relationships requires ongoing personal one-on-one interaction to help compensate for the lack of in-person contact. If you want your message to be remembered, it’s important to seek to connect not just as professionals but as people.

Additionally, firms should be making sure that the outreach is handled by the right individuals. This means it is important to identify key relationship holders, information that technology such as Client Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Relationship Management (ERM) and related financial systems can provide. You should also take into account that some of these may be junior professionals, so be sure to include them in relationship management efforts. Outreach also should not be limited to only the top personnel at organizations. Your firm may have relationships at many levels of client companies, and it’s important to make sure not to miss anyone who may need to hear from you.

The Right Message

Communications and guidance should also be tailored to clients’ unique circumstances because different messages resonate with different individuals depending, in part, on their roles and responsibilities. For instance, the message to an HR director may be different than the one sent to a business owner, and both may be different than the ones you send to high net worth individuals.

Additionally, different industries or geographic locations may require different types of communications. People who run restaurants and have laid off many of their staff and have seen their revenue significantly impacted are facing radically different situations right now than pharmaceutical companies working on key projects to help combat the virus or grocery or online retail companies who are rapidly hiring while struggling to keep their workforces safe and healthy.

If you have enhanced your CRM data with key information such as geographic locations and industry information, then segmenting your contacts to receive the right messaging will be much easier. This will help you to create and send a more targeted message that will allow you to differentiate your communications, which is particularly important during this time when almost every communication appears urgent.

A Coordinated Effort

As you can imagine, with so many messages to and from so many people, there is a real risk that your communication could come across as uncoordinated. Many professionals in your firm know a number of the same people within most organizations. While outreach is critical, it’s also important not to inundate people during this time when their inboxes are being flooded with other COVID-19-related communications.

Keeping tabs on who is contacting who is essential to ensure multiple people aren’t tripping over each other while trying to contact the same individuals at these organizations. It’s also important to make sure your firm’s messages are differentiated during the email deluge. There are a number of ways that you can accomplish these goals…

For more than a decade, the team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has been helping professional services firms and other organizations successfully select and implement CRM and eMarketing systems to maximize value, adoption and return on investment. If you need help achieving CRM, Data Quality or eMarketing success, please contact us at 404-249-9914 or Info@ClientsFirstConsulting.com.

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