crm

How to develop an effective CRM strategy

A customer relationship management (CRM) strategy is a plan to use CRM software to increase sales and improve customer service.

Before even thinking about developing a CRM strategy for your company, you should be clear about your goals and the requirements to make your business grow more efficiently.

The first steps before creating a CRM strategy

There is a lot to research and review to do before designing a plan for how to use your CRM software.

  • Review your overall business strategy
  • Define the value proposition of your company
  • Understand your business goals
  • Be clear about your sales objectives
  • Build a long-term corporate culture

Review your overall business strategy

Before even define an effective CRM strategy you should be able to understand your company’s business strategy which include where, what, who, and how you will operate in the market. These elements have to be clear before creating a sales strategy.

Define the value proposition of your company

A good value proposition will give your company an advantage over your competitors and for many consumers because, this is the first thing they encounter when exploring your brand. Having a clear, concise value proposition is essential to get notice by prospect customers.

Understand your business goals

Business goals are great to know where the company would like to be in the future. Setting the right business goals will keep everybody within the organization informed about your customer relationship management strategy. The goals will be some kind of guides for the staff, especially at the executive and management level.

Be clear about your sales objectives

Your sales objectives must be realistic and attainable. They will provide your sales team a clear road map of what they need to do to help your company achieving those goals. Setting sales objectives goes beyond setting goals based on revenue. You can be more specific and set objectives to improve any part of your sales process, from decreasing expenses to changing the way you manage your customer data.

Build a long-term corporate culture

Company culture is arguably one of the most significant components to your business. It is an integral part of any business and affects nearly every aspect of a company. If you look at successful companies like Apple, Google, Amazon or Disney, the common thread you would find is its company culture.

How to choose the Right CRM for your business

With so many CRM systems in the market, it can be hard to choose the right one for your business. To fully understand their capabilities you need to discuss this with your sales, marketing, and service teams. Here are few tips that can help you to pick up the appropriate software for your business.

Define your needs

The first thing you should have in mind is what you need the CRM system to do for you. There are some very powerful CRM solutions out there; however, most businesses only end up using less than a tenth of these features. Before choosing a CRM, make sure they matches your business needs.

Integration and open API

Most companies use several applications to execute their business operations. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a CRM that can integrate with other business systems such as e-commerce platforms, accounting software, among other applications.

An open API allows integration with third-party apps and enables you to work with them from within your CRM system. It also synchronizes data from external apps into your CRM allowing you to have one source of reliable data.

Review & research

Identify the requirements you will need for a CRM software by meeting with sales, marketing, and service teams. By doing that, you will know which software they are using and what they need from a CRM.

Once you have determined your CRM requirements, it is time to research your software options. Check the CRM reviews sites to compare the different features and use cases, and to read user reviews.

Test drive CRMs

Once you have selected a handful of CRMs that meet your requirements, you should review all the features, costs, and upgrade capabilities. Most offer free trials, so sign up for a few of these to get initial impressions or request a demo with the company for some hands-on experience.

Create a CRM strategy in 7 steps

Use these seven steps as a roadmap to build your own scalable and effective cross-departmental CRM strategy.

Map out the customer journey

The ultimate goal of any CRM is to improve the overall customer experience and to achieve that you should understand how your customers interact with your brand. Each interaction is an opportunity to use your CRM strategy to improve it. To map out the customer journey you should be able to identify all the interaction between customers or prospects with your brand.

Line up cross-department communication

Sales, customer service and marketing must all be on the same page. Your customers should feel that whatever happens, whenever it happens, they would receive the same outstanding service. The ultimate goal is to create a reliable and consistent experience your customers can count on and to achieve that, customer communication must be consistent across all departments.

Build CRM strategies to streamline workflow

Most CRMs will include features and integrations for streamlining workflow across the organization. Your CRM strategy should improve the workflow, clearly defining roles and responsibilities. This will avoid confusion around assignments and workflow.

Organize customers and leads

Create segments to organize them into more controllable groups. This will allow employees to quickly and efficiently organize their leads and customers into categories based on their place in the funnel. This can help improve the efficiency and quality of customer communication.

Establish key performance indicators

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics used to measure the performance of a strategy, team, and organization as they relate to their goals. To measure the effectivity of your CRM strategy you need to define key performance indicators (KPIs).

Some key CRM strategy KPIs to include are:

-Customer retention rate

-Renewal rate

-Number of new prospects

-New revenue

-Close rate

There are many other measurable KPIs to consider; however, the main task is to identify the metrics that will measure the success of your specific CRM goals

Define the CRM components

This is the more granular stage of the CRM strategy, and is where you define the who, what, and how. It includes defining contacts, creating pipelines and deal stages, identifying requirements, and selecting any additional software necessary for a successful sales team. These actions do not have to be created in the CRM initially, though it may help to visualize everything. If you have not selected a platform yet, create these steps in writing until you do.

Define contacts, leads, prospects & opportunities

If you have used a CRM before, you know how quickly it can get over-stuffed with contacts from various sources. Because not all of these need to be in your CRM, define what is for you a good contact. At a minimum, it should be someone with a full name, email, and phone number. A lead may be someone who downloaded an e-book from your site. A prospect is someone who experiences the types of problems that your company solves. An opportunity can be someone who has a challenge you can solve and is considering your company to help them solve it.

The best CRM software can help you to identify leads, prospects, opportunities, or whatever label you want to use. Depending on which CRM you use, you may have to adjust how you define these categories.

Bottom Line

Creating a CRM strategy is crucial in order to grow a company’s sales and improve customer service. Though sales will be the primary users of the software, other departments should be also included in strategy conversations, as the use of a CRM will affect all customer touchpoints, from the website experience to customer service.

Bear in mind that the success of your CRM strategy will depend on the levels of engagement and collaboration of your teams. Get them on board from the beginning and you will get better results.

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