Cultivate Relationships with CRM for Cannabis Companies
Article

Cultivate Relationships with CRM for Cannabis Companies

August 16, 2021

Cannabis businesses need to manage rapid growth while overcoming unique industry challenges such as cash-only sales and restrictions on marketing. Customer relationship management (CRM) software, also commonly known as a customer experience platform (CEP), can help you enhance your operational and financial performance by streamlining your marketing efforts and integrating your financial and regulatory compliance tools.

A CRM platform provides your cannabis company with a single source of marketing, sales and service data that allows you to track customers and accounts at the retail level, as well as with your distribution partners. It consolidates your customer and prospect data and lets you run and measure marketing campaigns, all in a single system.

This helps you reach your best prospects and service customers without relying on manual processes and having to juggle customer and marketing data in multiple systems. The result? Happier customers, vendors and staff.

Integrating Data for a Unified View

You can integrate data into your CRM from a variety of industry-focused tools, including seed-to-shelf product tracking, customer loyalty programs, accounting, inventory management, forecasting and others. This provides a unified view of your customers, suppliers and performance, so your teams have full visibility of your sales processes and can accurately target customers and convert them quickly, as well as integrate with business-critical systems like the ERP and METRC.

CRM tools can also prepare graphics-rich visualizations of performance data to generate insights and identify growth opportunities. For example, data combined with Einstein AI, native to Salesforce, allows dispensaries to identify upsell opportunities, target the hottest leads and engage customers with personalized offers.

The need for an effective CRM platform — and to integrate that platform with other financial, operational, and compliance tools — is especially acute for cannabis companies because most experience rapid growth. Many companies track their revenue and expenses with manual, spreadsheet-based processes, which get more and more challenging to maintain as your company evolves.

Cash Sales Hamper Customer Insights

Similarly, the cash-only nature of retail sales makes it difficult to analyze data about specific customers as well as overall revenue trends. In response, a growing range of cannabis-specific point-of-sale (POS) software platforms include integrations with accounting and inventory management software while also feeding data into a company’s CRM platform to provide a single view.

The industry’s reliance on cash also requires a hybrid approach to ecommerce sales, in which a customer can place an order online but must pay for that order in cash when the order is picked up at a retail location or delivered. A CRM can allow customers to order online and enjoy a convenient Amazon-like experience, while retailers can now view their customers and form relationships comparable to a traditional all-cash, brick-and-mortar experience.

Cannabis companies also face stringent inventory management and reporting compliance requirements that rely on seed-to-shelf product-tracking software. These tools allow you to identify how much inventory you have on hand, the location and source of those products, and how much has been lost or destroyed during the production process. Accessing this data through the CRM platform’s interface helps you prepare timely and accurate regulatory reports more efficiently (and avoid potentially hefty fines).

In addition, linking accounting and CRM data helps management analyze sales trends to better identify market drivers and optimize production. By understanding how promotional efforts influence sales, for instance, you can make sure you have enough inventory on hand for high-demand periods or can adjust your pricing to boost revenue if needed.

Enhancing Marketing

When it comes to marketing, CRM is especially important for the cannabis industry, which faces a number of marketing restrictions under state regulations, as well as the reluctance of some social media and email marketing platforms to work with cannabis companies.

In response to these restrictions, many cannabis companies and dispensaries rely on targeted mobile marketing campaigns and customer loyalty programs to communicate with customers who have agreed to receive marketing messages. State regulations require cannabis companies not only to obtain specific permission from customers, but to document and retain that permission.

Text-based marketing and customer loyalty programs, managed through a CRM platform, can provide you with sales data and insights while also offering effective differentiation from your competitors. For example, a VIP club may allow your customers to receive text-based member-only specials, or early access to limited-edition strains, product updates, recipes or other exclusive information.

Loyalty programs can provide valuable data about specific customers and their preferences. Some customers may prefer to purchase plants, for instance, while others may prefer edibles or tinctures. Some may shop on a consistent basis, while others only come in for promotional offers.

A CRM platform helps you identify and understand these patterns by evaluating the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and which messages resonate with different customer groups. These insights, in turn, help you improve your marketing efforts and forecasts by understanding customer purchase patterns and trends.

Mobile Access Increases Platform Effectiveness

An important part of an effective cannabis CRM platform is mobile access that enables your sales team to update customer and opportunity data from the field. This allows your company to track and convert its opportunities more effectively by providing real-time access to the latest data.

In addition, being able to update customer and prospect data reduces the common obstacle of sales reps not adding new information into the system immediately after a customer meeting or contact.

Supporting Growth

A CRM system enables you to take better care of your customers, business partners and employees. Having access to real-time sales and prospecting data, combined with the ability to manage marketing, customer service and operations within a single interface, will help you streamline your operations, increase sales and drive future growth.

Have questions or want to learn more about maximizing your organization’s CRM strategy? Reach out to our cannabis experts.

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