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TOP 10 TIPS: how to get the most out of your CRM platform

Strategy, Digital

23rd March 2023

susie-clarkHead of CRM

I know when it comes to CRM, there’s a lot to think about so I’m here to help you break it down & ensure you’re focussing your efforts where it’ll drive the best ROI.

Most of you have a CRM platform that is fit for purpose, you’re just not using it to it’s full potential. So here’s my 10 top tips for getting the most out of your CRM platform.


“It doesn’t matter about the size, it’s what you can do with it” – well that’s certainly true when it comes to your customer data and single customer view. Seeing database growth of 10k customers in a month isn’t so good if you can only have a conversation with 40% of them or don’t know the name or ages of 80% of them.

Your CRM system is only as good as the data that’s in it. We know you often think sign-up forms with too many fields can put customers off BUT 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more a personalised experience according to a recent study by Accenture. The more you know, the more you can personalise your comms.

So what data should you be capturing? You need to capture as much demographic, psychographic and transactional data as possible throughout the customer journey to get a holistic view of your customers. If you’re just collecting an email address and their name, it’s a start, but it’s not very useful if you’re trying to understand their buying behaviour for segmentation & personalisation purposes.

Proof of presence data is crucial so that you can understand who visited when (and what they bought if possible!). Types of PoP data include: order & pay data, a WiFi login, loyalty card usage, guest feedback etc. We’ve seen some brands only capture the information of 1% of their customers and that’s all down to lack of proof of presence data capture. 

Integrations matter. You need to make sure as many of your data sources are integrated with your CRM platform so there’s a real-time / daily / regular feed of data going into your single customer view. 

Integrations reduce the need for manual uploads which often take time, increase the room for error and let’s be honest, manual uploads are not the most GDPR-friendly way of doing things!

We know not every platform integrates with everything, but make this a key conversation with your CRM customer success manager and push for those integrations that really matter to you. The chances are, these integrations matter for other businesses too and you’re actually improving the CRM platform’s offering by asking for it!

(Oh, and make sure all the data fields are sent across and are visible in the platform as part of the integration – you never know when you might need them!)

Segment your way to success. No two guests are the same so you can’t speak to them all in the same way. Segmentation enables personalisation.

There are simple ways you can segment your customers (as long as your data & CRM system allows it): by demographic, location, usage behaviour, preference/purchase tags, reason for visiting, frequency, and engagement. 

And then there are more sophisticated (albeit slightly more complex) segments you can build up based on customer value – we’ll save the detail on this for another day!

This is your first step towards personalisation. Whether you drop their name into the subject line, their loyalty points balance into the header, the name of their favourite venue into the copy, these simple things can make a real difference to engagement. 

Emails with personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened according to Campaign Monitor. 

Get as many dynamic fields set-up in your CRM platform as possible.

Dynamic fields are good, but dynamic blocks are better. If you have transaction data or preference data about your customers, you need to use it to personalise their experience.

Why? According to a recent study from Accenture, 91% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. 

If you know they’re vegan, let’s not tell them about our brand new 3 meat sharer roast. 

If you know they usually visit for celebrations, show off your more premium dishes and cocktails.

If you know they have kids, add a ‘half term activity’ story to your monthly newsletter. Make it personal. 

It goes without saying that you need a clearly defined CRM strategy. This strategy should inform your comms plans for all your marketing channels, not just email, and should be focussed on driving acquisition, engagement and retention. 

How can you make sure your monthly comms plan delivers: 

  1. Consistency is key – don’t send emails once a week for a month and then go quiet for 2 months. Keep the conversation going and build up those relationships.
  2. Make it personal –  I’m sure you’re getting the point on this now.
  3. Make it relevant – you cannot plan every detail of comms 6 months in advance, things change – how many prime ministers have we been through in the last year?! Look at what’s going on and make your comms relevant. 

I could go on all day about how important automation is. Most of you already know it. The problem is, not many of you do anything about it. Why? Lack of resource!

Automated comms (email, social ads, SMS, push notifications) deliver an insane ROI with very little intervention (other than optimisation) once set-up. They are way more strategic than your reactive, sales driving comms and deliver always-on personalisation.

Basic automations include: welcome, birthday, lapsing, feedback journeys. 

Sophisticated automations use buying behaviour and AI to drive ATV and frequency through product recommendations, surprise & delight etc. 

Get automating!

If you aren’t using UTM links to track the success of your campaigns, how do you know what your activity is delivering?

They take 2 seconds to add into your campaigns (as long as everything is set-up on the Google Analytics end) and will help you track the ROI that your CRM activity is generating. 

This is how you prove CRM is worth talking about. 

Integration between your CRM platform and social media channels can drive acquisition by targeting look-a-likes of your most valuable customers and also drive engagement, frequency and retention of existing customers through multi-channel automated & personalised campaigns.

Most CRM platforms (not all!) have relatively basic insight dashboards. Make sure you’re getting the insight you need from them. 

How often are you reporting on recency, frequency & value? How often are you looking at whether your automated comms have in fact stopped someone from lapsing? The detail is in the data. Report on it & learn from it.  

One of my favourite quotes is “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” – Maya Angelou. 


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