Having a clear and specific marketing strategy makes it possible to attract the right target and encourage the purchase faster. On the other hand, the techniques are so diverse that it is easy to get lost. Between prospects and customers, there is already a big gap. You will need to implement the right actions to address each of these actors.
SMR: a new concept compared to CRM
Much less common, the term PRM or » prospect relationship management » refers to prospect relationship management. It has recently appeared in the company’s jargon. Indeed, we only knew CRM or « customer relationship management » until then, which is simply customer relationship management in French.
Before developing any strategy, it should be kept in mind that the prospect is still only a potential customer of the company. This means that he has not yet made a purchase and that the team must change him to the status of actual customer. Beware! The prospect must already have created a first contractwith your company, unlike the suspect who just has the criteria to be part of your target.
Nevertheless, there is a common basis for both concepts. In either case, it’s about managing a relationship with an individual. It’s not just about sending generic emails on a regular basis. On the contrary, technology must be used wisely to personalize contact, to create a dialogue with real added value.
The place of prospects and customers in the purchasing process
The model of the purchasing process developed by Engel, Kollat and Blackwell (1968) highlights 5 stages: the manifestation of need, the search for information, the evaluation of alternatives, the act of purchase and the post-purchase evaluation. The individual is considered as a prospect when he has not yet arrived at the fourth step: that of purchase.
In the first 3 steps, the individual becomes aware that he has a need to satisfy. Naturally, he will look for the good or service capable of filling this gap. This is where the work of salespeople begins. Indeed, at the end of his research, the prospect will be faced with several choices and this is where your offer will have to stand out from that of the competition. It is necessary to highlight the advantages of your product, such as technical specifications, discount offers, warranty or after-sales service. Only by reassuring the prospect can you convert him into a customer.
In the last 2 stages, the work is not easier. Yes! After encouraging your prospect to buy, it will now be necessary to retain him so that he does not go to your direct competitors. In addition to the price reductions granted on future purchases, it is the relationship between the provider (you) and the customer that will convince him to stay or not. It will be essential to accompany him in the discovery of your brand and update it on your product catalog.
Techniques specific to SMR and CRM
Unlike CRM, which relies largely on the customer journey, the prospect is seen as an unpredictable player. He will approach your company by first looking for information. Sales reps need to be trained to determine the needs of prospects instead of mechanically quoting all the specifics of a product (this is annoying and scares away interested parties). Instead, it will be necessary to focus on questions, such as: « What exactly are you looking for? A smartphone? What is your budget? What use do you want to buy it for? ». These questions, a priori simple, remain the best way to capture the attention of your counterpart.
It is essentially a front office job, where the sales force is continuously in contact with new potential customers. For optimal results, especially in mass distribution, it is recommended to assign a sales representative to specific categories. This will allow them to be specialized and avoid confusing elements of each product.
In some industries, such as banking, prospects are even invited to join a manager’s office to learn more about the products. If you get to this stage, it is because the customer is strongly interested. It will then be a question of delivering the « coup de grace » with advantages that he would not have thought of.
That’s it! The first sale has been completed, but this is only the first step for your business. Now that you have one more client in your portfolio, don’t let them go! This is where after-sales follow-up comes in. The term should not be confused with after-sales service. This is a proactive approach, not a reactive one. In other words, it will now be up to you to come to your customer to find out if he was satisfied with his purchase. If he makes comments about your product, do not take it badly! This is an opportunity for you to rectify the situation and show that you care about their well-being.
In addition to this post-purchase analysis, it is useful to keep your customer informed about the arrival of new products, for example. This can be done by sending regular newsletters. Being informative emails, it will no longer be necessary to bombard the message with long texts, but to go directly to the heart of the matter.
You will have to keep in mind that your relationship with your customer will be decisive for the rest of the events. It will be necessary to answer these questions as best as possible, even if it means making a phone call. Also be careful not to fall into a common trap! Instead of outbidding the characteristics of your offer, prefer an honest speech that highlights both its positive and negative points. You will quickly notice that your customer will be touched by your authenticity, and will be more inclined to continue shopping with you.