A traditional buyer-seller model has evolved into a customer-centric one, with business relationships requiring higher levels of maintenance. This is why businesses now have entire CRM strategies dedicated to managing customer relationships.
It’s largely because consumers expect more than ever from customer service. If yours isn’t up to par, they won’t think twice about going somewhere else.
CRM strategies are often associated with the software. But software is only one piece of a much bigger puzzle. The best customer relationship management strategies include both people and software.
Our comprehensive 8-step guide will help you in improving your CRM strategy.
How does a CRM strategy work?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a process, action, and technology-based approach for improving sales and customer service. In most cases, it involves a business’s sales, marketing, and customer service activities.
CRM plays an important role in your business for several reasons. CRM strategies can help you:
- To ensure a positive customer experience at all points of contact with the organization.
- Integrate marketing, sales, and customer service teams.
- Determine which leads and opportunities are most valuable quickly and clearly.
- Maintain a buyer funnel for your leads and customers.
- Plan and execute targeted marketing campaigns.
- Identify concrete metrics and data insights that will guide your future business strategy.
Creating a sales CRM strategy from Scratch
To build a CRM strategy from scratch, you must follow eight essential steps.
Establish the vision and goals of your CRM strategy
You should first review your overall business strategy and high-level goals before developing a CRM strategy.
Set goals for your CRM strategy. Consequently, the strategy will begin with a clear purpose. Consider how you can help your business succeed.
CRM strategies aim to increase customer satisfaction, increase productivity, and decrease customer churn. Don’t let your CRM strategy become an end in itself. Make sure it drives your business goals. Therefore, it must be integrated into your overall strategy.
Identify your target customer based on buyer personas
Make a buyer persona representing your ideal customer. Provide as much detail as you can. You should include demographic information, behavioral characteristics, interests, challenges, and aspirations.
You can use the following methods for research:
- Interview with your sales team and customer service staff.
- Interview customers directly and study different customer profiles.
- Survey your customers.
You need to understand why your customers purchase from you to maintain strong customer relationships.
To become a customer-centric business, you need a clearly defined buyer profile. Making sure your teams are focusing on the needs and expectations of your customers, it’s crucial.
But that’s not all. Your sales and marketing will be less likely to waste time on unsuitable leads if you know exactly who to target.
Establish your customer journey
You must know every step of the customer journey if you want to master customer relationship management. At each of those touchpoints, you need to provide a top-notch customer experience.
The beginning is the most important. From the moment a customer discovers you or you discover a customer, map all their interactions with you. Direct contact with team members, digital ad campaigns, email marketing, or other methods should be employed.
Here you’ll identify areas for improvement and identify who is responsible for what.
You should ask yourself the following questions when mapping the buyer journey:
- How is the customer being contacted at that moment by the team/process?
- What can be done to improve these interactions?
- Analyze the buyer personas that were developed in Step 2. Based on what you know about your customers, what is their preferred method of communication? How can you communicate more effectively?
- What does the customer hope to accomplish?
- Are there any challenges the customer faces? Is there anything you can do to better support the customer?
- Which content are they interacting with?
Implement a 360-degree customer experience
You should have identified areas of improvement in your CRM strategy planning so far.
Next, you should examine your internal processes. What resources are available to you to provide a 360-degree customer experience?
To ensure that all the bases are covered, conduct an audit of roles and responsibilities.
Examples of areas where processes can be optimized are as follows:
- Pre-sales: What is your status when it comes to analyzing potential customers’ needs, gathering information, and setting up business cases?
- Automated sales processes: How can you make your sales processes more efficient?
- Offers tailored to customers’ needs: Are you meeting your customers’ needs? Do you communicate in a personal and relevant manner?
- After-sales: Do you have the right support systems in place to ensure those customer problems are resolved quickly? How do you rate your customer service?
Think about how you can improve the process before making the changes within your organization.
Know your positioning and study the market
CRM strategies should always be inspired by the competitive landscape.
Consider the following:
- What is your company’s position in the market?
- Is there something that makes you different from your competitors (i.e. what sets you apart from them)?
- What makes your competitors different from each other?
- How can you gain an advantage?
- Do you understand how they treat their customers?
- Which trends are affecting your industry?
Understanding your product or service
Defining your value proposition and revising your product/service narrative is key.
How will your message be received? What benefits will you highlight? What makes you the best option among your competitors?
Make sure your employees know these benefits by communicating internally and training them. The message must be echoed throughout your company.
It is also an excellent time to put in place best practice guidelines for customer communications and define your brand tone of voice.
Take advantage of CRM software
Investment in CRM software for your business is one of the best ways to drive forward your CRM strategy. Collaboration between teams, storage of customer data, and keeping track of all interactions are all facilitated by this tool.
The main factors to consider when choosing CRM software are price, functionality, and ease of use. Evaluate your existing business processes and ask your team for input.
Once the software is installed, you need to consider how your teams will use it. Assign an administrator to manage user access.
You should also define what constitutes leads, prospects, and opportunities. You should create a pilot committee to train people on how to use CRM software. Don’t forget to keep your contact list organized and up-to-date before importing it.
Team KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
A CRM strategy is no different. You need to measure its progress – and your CRM strategy is no exception. In Step 1, you outlined your CRM strategy goals. Now you’re going to give your team some specific targets to aim for.
Make sure your team’s objectives are S.M.A.R.T (i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound). You might want to include the following performance metrics:
- Satisfaction of customers.
- The retention of customers.
- Churning (when customers leave a company).
- Gross profits (totals per customer/account, totals overall).
CRM strategies are successful based on the engagement and collaboration of your teams.
From the beginning, get your employees on board. Inform, educate, and keep them up to date with all aspects of your CRM strategy.