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CRM strategy: why you need it and how to create one in 2021

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Buying a customer relationship management (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.

What is a CRM strategy?

A 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 a strategy in place.

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, helping you make better financial decisions, maximize the profitability of your business and boost your overall organizational performance.

7 CRM strategies for your business

Now that you know what a CRM strategy is and why it’s important, let’s explore how to 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.

competitor analysis

Build your own competitor analysis using this easy and intuitive template:

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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.

2. Outline your sales process

Next, 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.

sales pipeline from

Use this template!

This template enables you to 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.

Define SMART goals for your CRM team before you even think about looking for new software. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

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

4. Leverage data to improve productivity

With a CRM platform, you can consolidate customer data collected from different departments, such as marketing, sales, and customer service, and let your team access all data 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.

Making data available to all departments involved in the CRM process also ensures communication is streamlined and made transparent at all times. This way, departments never double handle data or waste time asking customers the same questions twice.

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 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. Reduce costs with automation

With a CRM, you can save a whole lote 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.

7. Track campaign performance

Finally, monitor your team’s performance to ensure the CRM solution is helping them hit their individual targets and meet the larger goals set out by your CRM strategy.

You can easily track performance with the help of reporting and analytics features that come built-in with most CRMs.

Photo of reporting and analytics features

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.


If you’re planning to implement a CRM system in your business, creating a CRM strategy to understand why you’re using it and how it aligns with your overall business strategy, sales goals, and company culture is critical.

Start today by trying out this sales process template. Use it to visualize your existing sales pipeline and get a better grasp of your company’s needs before shopping for a CRM that fits your requirements.

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