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CRM strategy: 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 a waste.

If you’ve never considered taking your CRM software beyond its features, we’re here to tell you to shift your mind.

A solid CRM strategy will help you understand exactly why you’re investing in CRM software, and how to make it not just work for your business, but generate success too.

What is a CRM strategy?

CRM strategy spelled out is Customer Relationship Management strategy. This strategy is a company-wide plan for your business to grow revenues and profit, reduce costs and enhance customer relationships (putting them first). Many choose to do this with the help of CRM technology.

On their own, CRM systems are just… systems. To actually make them work for you, you need a strategy in place.

Why do you need one?

You may have heard the expression that “the customer is king”. When creating a CRM strategy, it’s not a bad idea to bear this in mind as you build it to manage the interactions with your current and potential customers.

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%.

CRM tools help businesses organize their collections of data into a simple user face so they can then recognize and communicate with customers in a scalable manner. This could include any number of important functions beyond storing contact information; from logging representative touchpoints with prospects via email, phone calls, in-person and voicemail interactions, a CRM software’s ability to track deal stages and more hold a world of potential for increasing profits for a business.

If this sounds like a lot of information, you’re right!

This is exactly why developing a good 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.

How can you implement one? 7 CRM strategies for your business

Now that you know what a CRM strategy is and why it’s important, this section will walk you through how you can create and run 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 has an easy and intuitive template to build your own competitor analysis.

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This step also involves checking whether you have all the resources required to implement a CRM system, such as available team members 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 teams.

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 goals might be:

  • Achieving 80% customer satisfaction by May 1
  • Increasing social media followers by 30% by October 31
  • Improving email marketing click rates 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, the sales team for example never double handles 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 and customer loyalty.

6. Reduce costs with automation

With a CRM, you can save a whole lot 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.

Build it and success will come

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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