Using a CRM Solution to Maximize ROI from SMS Campaigns

According to the research market intelligence firm IDC, the market for CRM solutions has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years with total figures estimated at $ 18 billion for 2011, marking a 7.6 percent year-on-year growth. CRM software applications are used across business functions to optimize processes and increase profitability. As businesses become more and more aware of the benefits of CRM, one question always remains a cause for concern – what is the ROI?

Here we take a look at maximizing ROI of an SMS campaign using CRM solutions. Owing to the constant proximity of a mobile phone to its owner, text messages are considered as one of the most appropriate channels for interacting with the customer. According to research firm IDC, the global Smartphone market is expected to have grown 49.2% over 2011. With such figures, it is safe to say that SMS marketing is here to stay, especially as SMS campaigns are the cheapest form of mobile marketing available.

Link between SMS marketing and CRM
Text messages are one of the most interactive and immediate communication channels available between a business and its customers. Furthermore, these can be narrowly targeted and personalized. In many ways, SMS marketing is inter-connected to the basic concept of customer relations. An SMS establishes a direct contact with the customer and hence, is instrumental in creating and/or maintaining relations with the customer. An SMS can be easily customized to specifically cater to individual clients. It can also be personalized to act as direct communication with the customer. All this improves the quality of communication with the customer leading to a better relationship.

In a cluttered market, SMS acts as a communication channel which can cut right through the cobwebs to reach the client directly. It also provides valuable customer data that goes beyond the mobile phone number. Responses from the customer provide meaningful insight into their preferences and buying behavior which forms the core of CRM.

Text messages are used to create an initial database of phone numbers. After the initial SMS are sent, the database is built based on individual interactions. CRM solutions ensure that valuable data is extracted from each interaction and stored for real-time use. This data is then used to further improve the client interaction and service. The advantage of such a database is that it is customizable. This means that it constantly changes according to the customer so that they can be catered to accordingly.

Increasing ROI with CRM
According to research firm Gartner, companies matching the most appropriate CRM application to desired benefits are likely to witness 15-30 percent faster returns than those which don’t. Companies can increase ROI from SMS campaigns by using CRM applications with an inbuilt ability to enhance text message interactions with the client. Such applications aim at facilitating the SMS campaign, capturing valuable data through it and further using this data for business growth. An effective CRM software also responds instantly to incoming SMS with an appropriate message to inform customers that the organization is following-up shortly or will contact the person soon.

Short Codes are an efficient tool used in SMS marketing to provide automated responses to customers. Usually five digits long, these enable users to get quick answers to their queries, registration requests and other simple interactions. Furthermore, these ensure that customer information is created and updated automatically. As customers get quicker responses to their queries, this increases customer satisfaction which is the basic goal of CRM applications.

Short Code Management aids organizations in running mobile campaigns to increase lead generation, capture data in real-time and use this to enhance the customer experience. In other words, this is a great tool for companies to become more customer-oriented and improve their customer service and offerings. Furthermore, one can schedule campaign messages to be sent automatically at a specific time providing additional flexibility for the campaign.

Keeping a CRM approach in SMS campaigns helps ensure that the customer does not witness any disruption or invasion. For example, providing ‘opt-in’ confirmations and an ‘opt-out’ choice are instrumental in keeping the customer happy. With an ‘opt-in’ confirmation, they know that they are on board and with an ‘opt-out’ choice available, customers are content that they can leave the service when they want. An ‘opt-out’ customer can also be added to the CRM software text message DND (Do Not Disturb) list.

In today’s world where channels of communication are many and widespread, SMS marketing manages to facilitate that personalized contact with the customer which is essential for good Customer Relation Management. Companies seek to integrate their various channels and in this mix, SMS often acts as the stepping stone to other forms of interaction. With such crucial aspects attached to SMS campaigns, CRM solutions are essential to ensure maximum ROI from them.