CRM strategy: why you need it and how to create one in 2020
Buying CRM software without a clear strategy to implement it is like shooting a diamond-encrusted arrow into the dark.
It’s expensive and pointless.
A solid CRM strategy will help you understand exactly why you’re paying all this money for CRM software, and how to make it work for your business.
This article covers what a CRM strategy is, and how to successfully integrate some popular CRM strategies in your workflows.
What is a CRM strategy?
A customer relationship management (CRM) strategy is a plan for your business to grow sales by enhancing customer relationships with the help of CRM software.
On their own, CRM systems are just… systems. To actually make them work for you, you need methodology in place.
In other words, a strategy.
Research shows that while more businesses are implementing CRM systems, when it comes to achieving business growth, the failure rate is startling. One expert estimates that the CRM failure rate may even be close to 90%.
This is exactly why developing a CRM strategy is so important.
An effective CRM strategy acts as a road map for your organization to reach its long term goals. It helps you make better financial decisions, maximizing the profitability of your business.
Research has also proven that strategic planning has a positive impact on organizational performance.
A CRM strategy gets your team up to speed quickly by defining what CRM features to use, how to implement them in your overall sales strategy, and how to optimize the results for future processes.
7 CRM strategies for your business
Now that you know what a CRM strategy is and why it’s important, let’s explore how you can create one for your organization.
Below are 7 CRM strategies to get the most out of your CRM tool and ensure CRM implementation is a success.
1. Run a complete audit
The first step is to do a complete audit of your business.
This includes reviewing external and internal processes, studying the market, analyzing the competition, and conducting a SWOT analysis — an analysis of your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Here’s a competitor analysis template to get you started:
Only when you know your business inside out can you start looking for the right CRM program for your needs.
This step also involves checking whether you have all the resources required to implement a CRM system, such as the staff available for testing the CRM, and a dedicated training budget.
You also need to determine whether the actual users (I.e. your team) are ready for accepting and working with a CRM.
2. Outline your sales process
Now, you map your customer journey, identify the different pipeline stages your prospects pass through, and find out who is responsible for what on your sales and marketing team.
Here’s a sales pipeline template to help you visualize your current business process from the first customer interaction all the way to customer acquisition.
This exercise will let you zoom out and get a bird’s eye view of your existing sales process so you can understand exactly how a CRM application would help you optimize sales funnels.
3. Define your CRM goals
Once you’re done studying your own business, think about what you want to achieve with a CRM system.Setting goals ahead of time is a crucial part of your CRM strategy as it keeps you focused on the features that actually affect your business and its bottom line.
Define SMART goals for your CRM team before you even think about looking for new software. SMART is an acronym for:
A few examples of SMART CRM goals might be:
- Achieving 80% customer satisfaction by May 1
- Increasing revenue by 30% by October 31
- Improving customer retention by 20% by year-end
Here’s a goal tracking template to help you define and measure the progress of your CRM goals.
4. Leverage data to improve productivity
The #1 priority of businesses who adopted CRM was to improve the productivity of their customer-facing employees.
With a CRM platform, you can consolidate customer data collected from different departments, like marketing, sales, and customer service, and let your team access it from a single dashboard.
Leveraging CRM data quickly will save your employees time and empower them to perform their best. In fact, research suggests that data-driven companies are far more productive and efficient than non-data-driven companies.
You need a customer centric strategy so that any new customer data input in your CRM technology can be accessed by any other department who might need it.
For example, your sales rep should be able to quickly access any customer information already captured by the marketing team. So they’re not asking a potential customer questions that have already been answered.
5. Deliver personalized customer experiences
A solid CRM strategy ensures that all your business processes, from marketing to sales to IT, work together in a systematic and organized way.
This lets you provide a seamless and consistent customer experience so you don’t annoy your customers asking them to repeat the same information every time they speak to someone new.
It also helps you build a better picture of who your potential customer is and what they need.
And delivering personalized experiences is much easier when you have access to detailed customer and lead data at your fingertips.
Personalization improves the customer experience. And improved customer experience drives revenue.
6. Track campaign performance
Just because you’ve started using a CRM platform and integrated it across departments doesn’t mean your job is done.
You need to monitor the performance of your team to make sure the CRM solution is helping them hit their individual targets and meet bigger CRM goals.
You can easily track performance with the help of reporting and analytics features that come built-in with most CRMs.
Use CRM dashboards to analyze what went well and what didn’t, identify opportunities for improvement, and experiment with new techniques.
This will help you consistently learn from your mistakes, improve customer experiences, and optimize your sales processes.
7. Reduce costs with automation
With a CRM, you can save tons of time and money by automating repetitive, administrative tasks, such as feeding lead data into your pipeline.
For example, instead of manually typing in data, you can set up your lead capture forms to automatically sync with your pipeline.
Automating your sales processes will free up additional time for your sales reps. They can invest this time in nurturing leads and closing more deals, ultimately reducing your costs.
If you’re planning to implement a CRM system in your business, make sure you have a clearly defined CRM strategy in place.
Getting CRM software is just one piece of the puzzle. To make it work for your business, you need to understand why you’re using it and how it aligns with your overall business strategy, sales goals, and company culture.
Start today by using this sales process template to visualize your existing sales pipeline before shopping for a CRM that fits your requirements.