The newest feature on OnePitch allows you to filter your list of Pitch Scores by…
In Public Relations (PR), there are likely as many roads to success as there are PR professionals. Much like with copywriters, marketers, and sales representatives, innovative approaches, circumstantial awareness, and plain luck can all facilitate positive outcomes. That does not mean, however, that intuition and ingenuity alone suffice. Indeed, all of these positions necessitate a deep understanding of audience insights and emerging trends to inform data-driven decisions. For many, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software offers these insights – but acting on them may still incite debate. Thus, let us devote this article to exploring five ways PR professionals can use CRM effectively from start to finish.
Initially, for the sake of clarity, let us briefly define CRM. CRM software is a type of business software that seeks to manage all aspects of a business’s interactions with customers. Notably, the CRM software market is currently the most prominent software market in the world. Moreover, Statista forecasts that it will grow to $43.5 billion by 2024, reflecting its high adoption rates across industries.
To achieve this goal, CRM solutions typically offer the following core features:
- A consolidated customer database that allows one to track customer information and interaction history
- Marketing and sales automation tools
- Lead analysis and customer segmentation tools
Core features aside, CRM software may specialize in one of 3 main areas for enhanced focus and performance. Namely, these are:
- Operational CRM, which focuses on marketing, sales, and service automation.
- Analytical CRM, which provides deeper customer segmentation, profitability analysis, and, frequently, predictive modeling functionalities.
- Collaborative CRM, which focuses on internal communications and channel consolidation and management.
Nonetheless, exact CRM features will vary among solutions to account for industry differences, specific role focus, and other factors. Thus, coupled with persistent end-user adoption challenges, choosing the right CRM solution often requires careful planning and due research.
Uses for CRM across industries and the overlap with SEO
Having defined CRM, we may briefly explore two key factors to contextualize how PR professionals can use CRM. Namely, how it overlaps with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and how different industries use it.
CRM across industries
Stating with the latter, it is crucial to highlight that CRM solutions see different uses across different industries. For example, eCommerce often sees CRM inform live chat and chatbot functionalities while also employing insights to address cart abandonment. Similarly, moving businesses manage to achieve more customer retention and better internal organization through segmentation and process automation, respectively.
CRM, SEO, and PR
Different applications across industries aside, it bears mentioning that CRM universally augments SEO. SEO, at its core, enhances search engine visibility and requires augmenting multiple metrics to do so. Among the over 200 factors that inform SEO, consider the following:
- On-page engagement; time on page, bounce rates, etc
- Off-page engagement; referral traffic, shares, etc
- Content quality, relevance, and value to the audience
CRM helps with these crucial metrics by enabling audience segmentation, which can inform outreach timing, social media activity, backlinks, and even content creation strategies. It follows that, since PR and SEO overlap in terms of optimal audience outreach, CRM can enhance both.
5 Ways PR professionals can use CRM
With the above context in mind, let us delve into exact CRM applications PR professionals can consider.
1. Contact and channel management
First and foremost, CRM offers enhanced organization through its consolidated, centralized contact database. In turn, this allows one to reduce paperwork or migrate to CRM from spreadsheets, ensuring easier access to more accurate information.
Similarly, CRM solutions (Collaborative CRM even more so) can offer channel management assets. With this functionality in mind, PR professionals can gauge public social interest and engagement to inform their pitches and outreach.
2. Scheduling follow-ups
Along similar lines, CRM can facilitate easier follow-ups if need be. Improved organization aside, it can do so through automated notifications to specific, appropriate staff to remind them to follow up on previous contacts. Moreover, lead and customer segmentation functionalities also offer to automate such outreach based on prospects instead. One may set automated event triggers with specific criteria, such as communication delay, to ensure they don’t miss outreach opportunities. Combined with lead analysis, both sales teams and PR professionals can use CRM to ensure optimal communication timing.
3. Internal collaboration
On the subject of internal collaboration, CRM breaks down data silos by definition. Concentrating all relevant information and allowing swift access by all relevant parties ensures better coordination among teams. PR professionals specifically may consider two critical distinctions in this regard:
On-premise versus cloud-based CRM
Typically, on-cloud CRM facilitates data input and access “on the go” better than on-premise CRM. This is arguably one of the reasons why on-premise CRM’s comparative prevalence has drastically diminished over the past decade. SelectHub notes this trend as well, echoing past research on the subject.
Similarly, as outlined above, Collaborative CRM excels at facilitating internal communication. However, other internal assets may suffice for this role, so PR professionals may opt for Analytical CRM for enhanced insights.
4. Developing personal relationships
Internal communications aside, all PR efforts hinge on audience insights. In this regard, the wealth of data that CRM can record and offer provides an invaluable PR asset. For example, most CRM solutions will offer custom input fields for contacts. PR professionals can use those to record information such as interests, values, and past interaction observations to inform future ones. Understandably, these insights can offer a notable advantage when pitching a story and potentially help cultivate a long-term professional relationship.
5. Measuring results
Finally, and perhaps most notably in terms of strategy evaluations, CRM can enable PR professionals to measure their efforts’ results. By definition, gauging success in solid, tangible ways can present a challenge. In this regard, CRM’s various analytics tools can help provide insights into the exact effects of one’s outreach efforts. Moreover, many such solutions offer integration options with other analytics tools, ensuring accurate, actionable data.
To summarize, PR professionals can use CRM in many ways across a business’s operations. From managing channels and monitoring social activity to scheduling follow-ups, CRM’s insights can help develop personal relationships. Internally, CRM can also enhance collaboration across teams and help monitor outreach effectiveness. Far from just a sales tool, this software type lends itself to these and other innovative applications to improve PR.
Looking for more tips and tricks about the PR industry? The TypeBar offers ample amounts of resources for PR best practices and ways to make your job that much easier. From KPIs to track to tips for writing a press release, there’s everything you need to know to simplify your PR process.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly PR hacks straight to your inbox. We include each month’s most sought after blogs featuring the greatest minds in the industry. Plus, we also provide numerous tips directly from journalists themselves. Subscribe here.