How To Develop a CRM Strategy

Heather Davis Lam

Heather Davis Lam

Heather Davis Lam is the Founder & CEO of Revenue Ops LLC, and holds multiple certifications from Salesforce, Salesloft, Hubspot, and other revenue operations platforms.

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Why Develop a CRM Strategy

Customers are central to everything you do in your business, but if you don’t have a strategic plan in place for everyone in your organization to connect with your clients, you’re missing a critical opportunity. If you’ve made the move to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, you’re definitely ahead of the game – but it’s only the first step. You need a CRM strategy to tie it all together and ensure success. 

More than ever, the customer lifecycle has become more circular than linear, with buyers regularly bouncing between your marketing, sales, and customer service teams. Once you’ve implemented CRM technology, all of these teams have a way to access critical information about each customer, including the products they’ve purchased, service tickets opened, etc. In the current environment, more and more customers expect tailored solutions that meet their unique, individual needs, and your CRM system can help your business deliver that – but not without an overarching strategy. So, where do you start? Once again, it’s a circular process, but one that’s well worth your time.

Step 1: Define success

It’s hard to track progress without a roadmap, so taking a step back to assess how you define success will help you determine what’s most important to your business. Convene your leadership team and ask some soul-searching questions.

  • What does your business look like five or ten years from now in a perfect world?
  • What are your expected growth engines?
  • Who is your target customer? What do they demand from you?
  • Will client retention overtake prospecting in importance?
  • How will your business shift and adapt as a result?

All of these answers will help you shape a vision for your company’s future – and what it will take to achieve it.

Step 2: Determine the most important metrics

We’ve all heard of KPIs or key performance indicators. However, they shouldn’t all share equal importance. Take a moment to think about your core customer base. Are they avid users of social media? Do they listen to the opinions of influencers? Are they consumers of thought-leadership content in your industry? All of these questions lend themselves to answers that will lead you to the best metrics to measure the success of your business. And keep in mind SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals – for example, one of your SMART goals might be to increase marketing email open rates by 10% before year-end. Try to determine the goals that seem most relevant to your organization and your target customer and use those guardrails to determine your big-picture goals.

Step 3: Gather the right data

Tap into the appropriate tools to ensure you have all the right information to assess your progress. Revenue Ops LLC can help you do this based on your unique goals and KPIs as well as your CRM system. Existing technology can help you more accurately measure the success of your email campaigns, your targeted customer outreach, and your client contacts. However, this can quickly turn into a jumble of meaningless numbers when you don’t understand how to prioritize the data and align it with your organizational goals.

Successful CRM Strategy

Step 4: Deliver to your customers

If you use Facebook or Instagram, you’re well aware of the power of personalized advertising. Have you ever thought to yourself, “How did my social-media platform know I was looking for exactly what their ad just delivered to my page?” Aside from suspecting the eavesdropping Alexa device in our homes, the truth is that we as consumers are increasingly expecting a more customized experience from advertising. So you’ll need to use the data you’re gathering in your CRM to gain a clear picture of your customers and their expectations – and a much better understanding of how to service them. 

Step 5: Get feedback

Surprisingly, one often-overlooked element of a CRM strategy is collecting real-time feedback from your customers and prospects. Consider using tools ranging from quick surveys to phone interviews to glean more information about customer satisfaction and awareness of their needs and perceptions. All of this information is critical for informing your teams and your CRM technology about how to measure client satisfaction (and likely retention)!

Step 6: Track your performance

Take the feedback from your research and technology and apply it to the goals you set in Steps 1 and 2. Remember that these data points at any given moment are simply snapshots in the bigger picture. You’ll need to collect this information over time to get a truly accurate view of your progress and strategic success. 

Step 7: Share your information

The data you’re gathering is so important – don’t forget to share it with key people across your organization. Your colleagues in marketing, sales, customer service, and even leadership will have ideas on improving the metrics going forward. Be generous in sharing the information and don’t discount the input provided by all of the stakeholders in your organization. Some of the best ideas are those that bubble up from the least-expected places.

Step 8: Strategize again

While all of the steps outlined here are important for your overall success, a great strategy isn’t created in a vacuum. Instead, it relies on consistent input and evaluation. So, at regular intervals, take a step back, assess your metrics and your progress, and gather input from stakeholders across your business. Although the strategy is a critical component of any successful business, it’s a living, breathing entity that needs your constant attention, assessment, and re-evaluation to be truly effective. 

Would you like some help with creating or evolving your CRM strategy? Schedule your free consultation to see how Revenue Ops LLC can help you improve your customer relationships today using tools like Salesforce. We help businesses like yours increase revenue by enhancing technology, improving processes, and optimizing reports and dashboards so that you can make data-driven decisions to drive your business forward

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