Implementing a Customer Relationship (CRM) system without a proper business strategy is like navigating an ocean on a pitch dark night sky without a compass: you don’t know where you’ll end up. A CRM is a piece of technology which, used the right way, can help you reach and even exceed your goals. Many companies make the mistake of implementing a CRM without having a clear strategy. Just because everyone is doing it, doesn’t mean you have to use the first CRM that you come across. Just like every other important decision in business, you have to make your own research before implementing a CRM. Most of all, you need a clear strategy and vision of where your company will be headed.
A CRM is not just a technology devised to help companies reach their goals; it is also about helping people reach their goals. What makes a CRM strategy successful? What are some of the steps you need to take in order to build a winning CRM strategy?
Understand your customers
Before you even start considering implementing a CRM, you need to ask yourself questions like: “Who are my customers? What do they need from us? How can we help them succeed? Do they like our product or service? If so, what do they like about our product/service? If not, what do they dislike about our product/service?” Clarity is the first step towards understanding. If you can answer these questions, you’re on the right path to devising a clear plan of action. The more you know your customers, the more able will you be in getting valuable insight for your CRM strategy.
Empower your employees
With so much talk about why the customer should be the focal point for every company, people seem to underestimate the importance of taking care of employees, the driving force behind every business. If you want to build a winning CRM strategy, you need to make sure that everyone inside the company knows the ins and outs of the CRM. There shouldn’t be just one person or a couple of people who go by the title “CRM expert”; everyone inside your company can be a CRM expert. Think about it this way: if everyone inside your company feels involved and totally invested in creating a winning CRM strategy, the results will be amazing.
Know your long-term goals
Implementing and using a CRM without a clear vision for the future of your company is like betting on the stock market without ever looking at companies charts, trends over the past couple of years, management, etc. Sure, you might get lucky every now and then and make a profit, but it’s highly improbable that you will be successful in the long run. Likewise, using a CRM without a proper long-term strategy and clear vision isn’t going to cut it. You need to know where your company is headed. Ask yourself: “why are we doing this? How can we help our customers get the most of our product/service? Where will our company be five, ten or twenty years from now?” These questions help you focus on what’s most important to achieving long-term growth.
Track and prioritize your customers
The great thing about implementing and using a CRM is that you can track customers across their entire journey. The right CRM allows you to know your customer before he/she even contacts you directly. By tracking their activities across various channels of communication, you are in a better position to offer relevant and personalized messages. In addition to tracking customers, you need to prioritize them. Some customers are more profitable than others, and that’s where your main focus should be. What makes a customer valuable may be unique, but the bottom line is: you need to focus more on those customers who may prove to be more valuable in the long-term. Focusing on customer retention is crucial.
Experiment and act accordingly
Each company has its own unique needs and challenges, that’s why you should be always experimenting. If your CRM strategy doesn’t seem to be working, don’t be afraid to reevaluate your approach. There’s no one-size-fits-all CRM strategy. Sometimes even the most fine-tuned and in-depth strategy won’t work, and that’s okay. Knowing what doesn’t work is as important as knowing what does. Your company’s needs may change over time, and so does your long-term CRM strategy. Developing a winning CRM strategy is acting in spite of uncertainty. After all, that’s what makes the difference between successful companies and those who lag behind.
Building a successful CRM strategy may take time, deliberate efforts and drawbacks here and there, but if you commit yourself 100 % to devising the right long-term strategy, you’ll soon find out that the CRM can greatly improve the relationship with your customers. Building a winning CRM strategy is also about being flexible and quick to adapt to changes. Once you do that, you can work on building customer trust and loyalty. Remember, the CRM is more than just an innovative technology; it is about helping people reach their goals. People should come first, with the CRM serving as an extension to human needs. This is how you can build a successful CRM strategy, this is how your company can thrive.