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Valentina Pacitti
27 May 2022
Reading time: 4 min.

Growth hacking: how to make CRM into a tool for growth

To grow with Growth Hacking you must have a creative mind and be able to use conventional marketing tools in unconventional ways. CRM, for example, can be a key to the process of experimentation behind growth hacking. How? We find out in this article.

Growth hacking is a method used by start-ups to grow quickly and exponentially. A concentrated timespan and a low-budget approach encourage entrepreneurs to use this method, which was first proposed by Sean Ellis in 2010 and is now widely used by companies both large and small.

The growth hacking method is based on experimentation and analysis of performance: this allows a business to limit the budget required to get going and accelerate growth.

Another important element of this method is unconventional use of classic digital marketing techniques (email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, etc…) and tools (erp, crm, cdp, etc…).

But what does “unconventional” mean? Basically, you need to change your perspective to become a growth hacker: while a conventional marketer builds strategies around the product, your focus should be the consumer. 

Your experience with web marketing tools will come in handy, but growth hacking demands that you change your way of relating to others.

What is CRM?

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM software allows a company to record and efficiently process information on its customers, such as their order history and contact information.

CRM allows you to break down the contacts in your database on the basis of their features, interests or purchasing behavior.

This permits more effective management of your marketing campaigns, which can be customized for each customer, and lead nurturing strategy. A lead scoring system allows the CRM to find out what point in the customer journey each lead in the database is at, and what marketing strategies would be most effective to encourage him or her to convert.

The principal benefits of use of CRM are:

  • having all the information on prospects and customers in the same place,
  • breaking down an entire database by similar features,
  • automatically following up on all your leads,
  • classifying, customizing and automating all your marketing actions,
  • planning your agenda of actions, individually or as a group,
  • you never lose any information, and all the people on your team can access it at any time, from any device.

Growth Hacking and CRM: how to conduct customer relations to encourage growth

CRM is what allows a company to establish a solid personalized relationship with its customers, encouraging the growth of the business by building customer fidelity and managing customer value.

Here are some ideas for using CRM for growth hacking:

1. Differentiate between hot and cold leads

Not all the contacts in your database will be at the same point in their customer journey: some are closer to conversion, while others are still a long way from this goal. You can automatically distinguish between the former (hot leads) and the latter (cold leads) using the filters in your CRM, so you can concentrate on the leads most likely to convert.

The key is to customize your strategy, ignoring cold leads and focusing on hot leads.

2. Break down your database on the basis of multiple data sources

If your CRM is connected to other platforms (Email Marketing tools or marketing automation, Google Analytics, etc…), you can achieve deeper segmentation, going beyond a single channel or data source.

This approach allows you to obtain more in-depth knowledge of the demands of each lead and respond to them with customized Growth Hacking strategies.

3. Identify the most effective channel of communication

Some users respond best to email marketing, others to advertising on social media. Your CRM gives you performance data on each channel and allows you to communicate with each lead through his or her preferred platform.

The result? You can use growth hacking techniques to reach a broader audience and prove to your contacts that you really care about them.

4. Experiment, measure and optimize on the basis of performance

Experimentation is essential to the growth hacking method.

Your CRM helps you conduct the tests you need, sending different variations on a single message to the same segment of your audience or testing how different channels perform.

The test results will allow you to identify the combination of message, trigger, channel and segment that generates the greatest engagement and the best results in terms of conversion.

5. Create customized campaigns to reactivate cold leads

There will definitely be a group of inactive leads in your database who no longer respond to your messages and don’t seem interested in what you have to offer.

Ignoring them is not the best way to deal with this situation: remember, you invested resources in acquiring those contacts!

CRM software offers a number of functions to help you recover cold leads. For example, you might come up with a retargeting campaign specifically targeting this part of your customer database, or offer them a special discount on one of your products.

6. Use machine learning

To make sure your next campaign works, you need to know what has performed best in the past. Your CRM can tell you which combinations of input produced the best results in your most recent marketing activities: you feed this information to machine learning software to automate the next step.

This ensures you always send the most appropriate, effective message to each segment of your database.

7. Don’t ignore your current customers: this is a great opportunity for upselling and cross-selling

Customers who have just converted may still be hot, ready to supplement their purchase with more products or services. Don’t ignore them – organize upselling and cross-selling campaigns for them! 

Your CRM offers all the filters and tools you need to reach these contacts with customized messages (for instance, a series of emails at regular intervals containing special offers).

Customer relationship and the growth of a business: the 3 basic principles

The combination of growth hacking and CRM could become the key to your success, but in order to grow, a business must above all establish a relationship of value with its user base. 

For this to happen, 3 principles must apply:

  1. You must know what point in the customer journey each of your potential customers is at. An automated system can help you intercept every lead with the right offer at the right time.
  2. Don’t just sell: build trust. Many of your potential customers are not yet ready to finalize a purchase with your company, so your growth hacking strategy must be based on building a relationship of trust with users.
  3. Keep testing consumers’ response using the information your CRM can record and get organized to try new relational approaches and combinations of messages, canals and triggers, constantly improving your growth hacking techniques.
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Valentina Pacitti

Copywriter and translator since 2012, in charge of SEMrush Italia's blog since 2015. Words are my means of communicating with people - I read and write plenty of them. I like to know them inside and out, so that I can pick the best ones for every story I'm telling. Simple, clear, precise - this is the writing style I prefer. I'm more offline than online, but you can always find me on my social channels to discuss ideas and projects.

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