The killer CRM strategy aligns your company’s goals and vision with putting the customer center stage. Customer Relationship Management isn’t new. But its overarching importance is. So let’s take a look at what really matters here.
What you will learn in this article
- What is CRM and CRM strategy
- How to develop your killer CRM strategy
- 6 top tips for developing your CRM strategy
- What you need to know about CRM in a nutshell
- Getting started with CRM
What’s CRM and CRM strategy?
The term CRM has been floating around since the Nineties to describe a wide range of IT systems. Over time these separate systems gelled into one technology. And today, the latest generation is cloud-based CRM systems.
The rush to adopt CRM is not without its risks. Too often, the technology loses sight of the strategy. If you are interested in acquiring a CRM system, you first need to develop your CRM strategy. And know how this will affect your overall business objectives. A CRM strategy needs to be more detailed than simply the tool you are planning to use. Instead, it needs to be a much holistic approach that is customer-centric.
How to develop your CRM strategy
The starting point for any CRM strategy is a trigger. Generally, this is a need for business change. It could be winning an enormous new contract that’s going to stretch your resources. Or alternatively, a pain point where change is unavoidable to keep pushing your business forward. Research shows that the top pain point is organizational efficiency. For instance, you want to do email marketing, but your database is hopelessly out of date.
6 top tips for developing your killer CRM strategy
Spotting tank traps
Understanding the customer’s challenges will infinitely improve your CRM strategy. Look at all your business processes from the customer’s viewpoint. Search for pain points and anything that is likely to trip customers up during their buying journey. Similarly, ensure all your sales staff have the resources they need to respond to customer requests promptly. Are there time-consuming manual tasks you could automate?
Training your troops
Switching to CRM is often undone by poor implementation and poor user uptake. The first step is embedding CRM into your company’s culture. And doing so until CRM becomes invaluable. Expect some change resistance at first. Salespeople are particular skeptics. They are often happy with their current way of selling and see a CRM system as a means to monitor their performance.
CRM strategy meetings
Every successful CRM implementation involves buy-in from senior management downwards. Strategy meetings are an excellent method of pointing out ‘what’s in it for me.’ Ensure you and other company leadership are on CRM daily and visible to staff. Using CRM reports and forecasts at meetings helps to underline the importance of CRM to your company. Recruit departmental CRM champions to help implement the system.
Your weapon of choice
The CRM marketplace is a very crowded place. Always define your business goals and processes before you go CRM shopping. The primary point to remember is selecting a system that’s a good fit. You don’t want it overly complex, or staff will be unwilling to use it. Equally, you don’t wish to be paying for functionality you don’t need and won’t use.
Over time, your business needs change. For small businesses, a cloud-based CRM gives them everything they need now. And the option to scale up later. That way, you only pay for features you currently need. Upgrading is just a matter of switching the subscription plan. Ideally, the CRM system you choose should reflect your short and long-term business objectives as mapped out in your CRM strategy.
When you finalize your CRM strategy, be sure to take baseline measurements. That way, you will have a benchmark against which to measure your CRM’s performance and productivity gains. When you know where you are at present, set SMART goals, this acronym stands for specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, timely. These goals will let you mark achievements as you go along.
Finally, bear in mind that nothing is set in concrete. Plans can evolve and change as you acquire new data and insights from your new CRM system.
What you need to know about CRM in a nutshell
- Understand the challenge: Take a microscope to your customer journey to find problems.
- Define success: Define your goals and what constitutes success.
- Get a map: Figure out where you presently are and where you want to go.
- Set milestones: Chart milestones and objectives for the journey.
- Get buy-in: Ensure staff and management buy into the concept and appoint CRM champions.
- Set the rules: Set clear rules for everyone on how you should use the CRM system. Lead by example.
- Keep house: Clean the data regularly and appoint someone to manage this.
- Decide what you need: Carefully consider which CRM features you need. Anything else is a distraction.
Getting started with CRM
CRM, as we have seen, is an integral part of your long-term sustainability plans. CRM solutions are not outside the reach of most small businesses anymore. Cloud-based CRM solutions have made the technology much more affordable. You can scale up your CRM requirement as your business grows. That way, you won’t be paying for stuff you’re never going to use.
Developing an ideal CRM strategy involves tracking your customer’s entire buying journey. It would help if you walked a mile in their shoes to understand their challenges fully. Only then can you hope to build a strategy that will ensure long-term success for your business.
A vital cog in all of this is CRM system. If you are a small business, contact us, the cloud CRM experts, today. We specialize in helping small businesses wring the maximum benefit out of CRM. You won’t regret it!