Customer Relationship Management (“CRM”) refers to the strategies and technologies used by a business to understand the core of the interactions with a customer or a lead, in order to optimize their relationship. Since a business main concern is to turn clients’ expectations into concrete outcomes, its mission is to provide positive outcomes to counterparties.
In that matter, a relationship developed with customers based on customer relationship management’s data is more likely to remain loyal and hence, to increase the business’ profits.
For that reason, customer relationship management should be considered, not only as a technological tool but also as a strategy project, crucial to the development of your company. As such, it should involve every member whose scope of work might be impacted by customer relationship management implementation.
What is a CRM strategy and should you have one?
A CRM platform is a software hosting your sales and customer data. A CRM strategy aims to use that data to define changes that should be implemented accordingly, to increase your profits.
Do not wait for a CRM strategy to become indispensable to your business to have one: consider it even if you are a small business or even a freelancer.
Have a better vision of your market
A CRM software gives you data with respect to your customers (their client category, buying patterns, etc.). A CRM strategy aims to use these market data sets to make decisions. By exploiting data, you will be able to anticipate your market’s needs by proposing relevant services or products, at the right moment, to the right person.
Improve your business efficiency
A strategy that aims to maximize your company’s efficiency includes standardizing. Therefore, you need to identify processes that can be automated and streamlined and do so. CRM software manages this full operation, from analysis to implementation, on several processes of your business: from sales process to marketing campaigns, and including business analytics.
Perfect your relationship with your customer
Keeping your clients means offering them a good experience, from the sale process to the customer service that they are entitled to receive. In that matter, CRM software simplifies interactions’ processes with your clients, ensuring their satisfaction and hence, optimizing your retaining rate.
How do you define a CRM strategy?
Here are some key answers regarding the process you should follow while defining the CRM strategy that suits you:
To define an accurate CRM strategy, you will first need to define and gather information with respect to:
- Your objectives
Every strategy starts by defining clearly the objectives that you want your business to reach. This also applies to CRM strategy.
To do so, identify the elements of your business plan that do not reach the defined goals – what are you missing? Should you focus on acquiring new customers? On retaining your existing customers? Establish a clear report of all the elements preventing you from reaching the goals defined in your business plan.
- Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
List all the metrics that should be used to monitor your performances: what is your weekly conversion rate from lead to customer? Which platform is the most efficient source of conversion? Why does a lead give up on becoming a customer? What are the key interactions of a lead with your teams?
Define the KPIs that are relevant to your activity to be able to take later decisions based on them and adjust your strategies.
- Your Clients
Communication with your clients is a must to build a relationship. Your clients need to feel certain that they are interacting with a service provider that knows immediately all his or her needs and how to fulfill them. Hence, your marketing strategies should be extremely targeted. Therefore, you need to collect information on your clients and categorize them by segments and sub-segments.
The categorization should occur in two-parts:
The “rule-based segmentation” consists in dividing your audience into subsets according to objective socio-economic criteria (age, geo-localization, interests). Use common sense and a strong market study to define those criteria in light of the service or product that you offer.
Then, you can focus on “cluster-based segmentation” which is based on similarities observed between leads and group them according to those. Use a set of data: purchasing behavior, visitor data, responses to questionnaires, etc. This approach reveals concrete similarities.
Your customer personas will be essential to navigate his or her journey.
- Your clients’ Customer Journey
Immerge yourself into the customer journey experience by your clients and go through every interaction they have with your business, from the instant they become a potential prospect to after the moment they do become a client. This means analyzing each and every call, email, face-to-face meeting, visit on your website that can occur.
By understanding customer journey, you will be able to immediately identify the parts of your sale circle that must be improved and hence, address those issues with proper solutions.
If necessary, make the process for each segment relevant and build a process map to reflect each journey.
With all those information in hands, you are now ready to analyze them and define your CRM strategy.
Analyze your data and establish a CRM strategy
Analyzing your data means creating a spreadsheet and comparing the status of each metric with your goal. This will enable you to list the issues that you want to address in your CRM strategy.
CRM software will enable you to monitor defined metrics and benchmarks while implementing your strategy. The implementation itself will depend on communication within your teams.
- Choose the appropriate software
Choosing CRM software that suits you can reveal itself a bit tricky, since the market is exploding with choices and offers. Opt for a solution that is as complete as possible: do not exceed your budget by choosing a software that requires buying tons of add-ons . Here is a list of the characteristics that you want your CRM software to provide you with:
- Tracking of your metrics: conversion rate and global analytics.
- Managing your customers: providing a consolidated view of all interactions with your customers and offering immediate access to preferred solution via multi-channel outreach.
- Integrated feedbacks from your customers based on satisfaction surveys.
- Implement your strategy
A CRM strategy has a profound impact on the organization, processes, work habits and even elements of the company’s culture of a company.
As such, the impact of your strategy should be anticipated all along the way, to maximize the success of its implementation and respect the certain guidelines.
- Do not forget that a CRM strategy is transdisciplinary. Your teams from sales, marketing, and customer service will benefit from a CRM software. However, changes can be difficult to understand – make sure to involve the actual users of the software from Day 1. By understanding the full strategy, your teams will be inclined to work one with the other in a different manner that the one they were used to.
- Work by schedule. A CRM software has a multitude of advantages. This also means that it is a complex software. Take its implementation seriously and proceed step by step. Make sure that your teams understand every areas of the software so it will be used properly. Make a training schedule on several weeks to cover the full program without being overwhelming.
- Review – Decide – Report – Adjust. Once your CRM strategy is on track, just let it be. Analyze your data on a constant basis and use them to make decision and to prioritize. Keep track on the ongoing strategy by establishing reports on a regular basis. Evaluate your performance every six months by asking for feedbacks from your teams and users, and by analyzing your KPIs and adjust your strategy accordingly.