Developing a CRM strategy that best fits your business
POSTED : November 20, 2018
BY : Spencer Pereira

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is a system that stores information about prospects and customers related to their inquiries, quotes, purchases, contracts, service requests and more. It also allows you to maintain communication with these contacts through email, which is all tracked within the system. This software has made communication between businesses and their prospects and customers much easier.

CRM systems allow you to connect multiple sales and marketing tools to help increase profits and improve overall company communications regarding prospects and customers. However, it’s estimated that 43% of businesses currently using a CRM are failing to use it correctly. This can be tied to many different organizational problems, but the CRM strategy is the most common issue.

Before you implement a new CRM, and to ensure that you are using the software to its full capacity, you should have a CRM strategy that the company follows. As stated above, failure to create a CRM strategy is a very common cause of failure. Follow along with our tips on how to build a CRM strategy that will benefit your business.

Step 1. Determine goals

Look beyond the CRM system and consider a holistic approach to customer relationship management. This strategy needs to align with the company vision in how to ensure that the customer always comes first.

Break down a big overall goal into smaller goals that can be achieved quickly. This will allow you to accomplish pieces of the overall goal sooner. Each of these smaller goals should align to a business process and customer touchpoint, whether that’s the first time a prospect hits your website to the moment they bill their bill or submit a service request. Defining your company goals will help you align processes that can be supported by a robust CRM.

As your business changes and grows, oftentimes your goals will too. As long as you are realigning your strategy so that the CRM is helping you achieve these goals, you will be on the right track.

Step 2. Get employee buy-in

If you’re making changes to your company processes, like implementing a new CRM, you need to get employee buy-in early on. After all, employees will ultimately implement the strategy and be working within the system.

It’s important that they are brought into CRM decisions early on so they are able to familiarize themselves with the product and be part of the requirements gathering process.

Involving employees in CRM implementation will also help them ease into new processes that will help them achieve the company’s overall goals. Once you empower your employees to be part of the process, they will take ownership of their part and you’re a lot more likely to succeed with their support.

Step 3. Understand your buyer’s/ customers journey

“A customer journey is a diagram of the touchpoints a customer has with your company. This helps you understand how your customer interacts with your brand in every portion of the sales funnel — and how you might improve those interactions and make them more efficient.” – Salesforce

To start, you need to understand the buyer’s journey from the very beginning stage of awareness all the way to the decision-making stage. The very first stage to map out is the awareness stage. It’s the beginning of the buying cycle where the buyer hasn’t realized they have an issue or know what their problem is yet. We call this “problem awareness.”

The consideration phase is pretty simple. The buyer is researching different options that will allow them to solve their newly-identified issue. During this stage, they need information that highlights different products or solutions. Customer testimonials, product videos, or live webinars are key in the consideration phase.

Finally, the decision stage is where the buyer is deciding on which solution to go with. This is where a company needs to prove that they are the best solution for the buyer’s issue. Give them the information that helps persuade them to choose your solution.

Building out this process will help you understand how a buyer finds you and what you need to offer/communicate with them during the sales process. You can configure your CRM platform so it monitors leads as they move through each stage of the process. Mapping this out will make it so you can align messaging (blogs, emails, whitepapers, etc.) with the stages of your funnel — so leads receive content that speaks to where they are in the buying process.

Step 4. Foster collaboration within your organization

Once your new CRM system is launched within your organization, it’s necessary to foster a culture of collaboration to help improve the customer experience even further.

When your sales, customer service, and marketing teams are all working together, the organization will be able to provide better service and improve overall company operations. If this piece is missing, different departments may work on the same tasks, repeat work that’s already been done and limit the success of the CRM software on improving the customer experience.

Step 5. Create best practices documents

As you are collecting data on your current customers and future buyers, it’s necessary to follow a standard set of rules to ensure the data is accurate and doesn’t become misconstrued.

Creating a set of standards to verify the accuracy and completeness of records will ensure your system doesn’t contain incorrect data that will inhibit your teams from communicating with customers and prospects effectively. This best practice document should include ways to remove old data, tests to ensure your CRM is communicating with other systems properly and controls on how data is uploaded into the CRM itself. This document will streamline your daily operations as well.

Now you’re ready to tackle your own CRM strategy to ensure that your business is using its CRM to its full capacity. If you’re overwhelmed with the thought of creating a CRM strategy or even starting the discussion of implementing a new CRM, contact us! We are here to help you along your journey from initial evaluation, implementation, and beyond!

About the author

Spencer PereiraSpencer Pereira has a degree in integrated marketing communications and writing. He has worked in various marketing roles at Google and Valmont Industries.

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