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CRM – Get to Know Your Customers

A friend and I joke about the acronym “CRM” – we define it as “Can’t Remember Much”, which is actually appropriate considering that a good CRM program helps you manage your customer information so you don’t have to remember much!

Last week at the Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium, we heard from many sources about the importance of managing your customer’s information – their preferences, their buying habits, what events they attend, etc.  The more you know, the better you can tailor your sales offers and events to meet their needs.  Targeted marketing is important in today’s climate of massive amounts of information being sent to us through too many channels - too much information can simply be too much information!

Choosing a good program to centralize your customer database is crucial – be sure to include fields in your system that are useful and expandable.  For example, recording event attendance is a great way to get feedback and attendance at the next event, making it a success.  And if you know someone is looking forward to a particular release from a barrel sample they may have tasted and loved, what an easy sale that will be upon release!  The more information you can collect, the bettter, so be sure to have systems in place at all points of contact with the customer – tasting room, website, phone and email – so that your staff can easily share what they learn.

Unfortunately, integration is one element that continues to elude and frustrate us as we try to pull sales from the POS systems, eCommerce systems, wine club systems and social media channels.  Someday we hope the automation is there but for now, it is important to put resources (both time and money) behind the maintenance of your customer database – it will pay off in the long run when you sell those 10 cases of wine to Jane Doe for her daughter’s wedding that you knew was coming up!

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