It’s no longer news that the success or failure of most small businesses largely depends on the kind of relationships they establish with their customers.
Thus, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has become one of the most popular concepts in modern-day business. It refers to the combination of strategies, tools, techniques, and technologies used to create and maintain relationships with both new customers and existing ones throughout the customer lifecycle.
However, most (if not all) CRM programs fail without a well-defined CRM strategy. And, for sure, you don’t want to invest in a failed CRM project, given the amount of time and money wasted.
So What’s The Way Forward?
Suppose you feel lost and are unsure of the proper steps to take regarding your CRM solution. In that case, you will be inspired by a few SUCCESSFUL CRM strategy examples discussed on this page, which you can APPLY to your own business to guarantee success.
Also highlighted in this article are steps to create an effective CRM strategy to make the whole process much more manageable. But before we dive into the gist, let’s start with the preliminaries.
What Is CRM Strategy?
Simply put, a CRM strategy is your overall game plan to enhance the relationship between your customers and your sales, marketing, and customer service teams — while driving revenue and reducing business costs.
Although most companies implement their CRM strategies with the help of CRM software (otherwise known as CRM System or CRM technology), some do not rely on such technologies.
Why Is A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Strategy Important?
Although it takes time and money to implement a CRM strategy effectively, CRM solutions give you a better, more profound understanding of your customer and create more opportunities for business growth.
More business owners are buying into the importance of CRM software and strategy, hence the massive growth recorded in the global CRM software revenue since 2010 — according to Statista. Moreover, a report by Grand View Research indicates that the global CRM market size will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 10.6% between 2021 and 2028.
So, what do the stats above reveal?
Well, it simply means that more industries and organizations are adopting CRM tools in their business processes.
The next question is, why exactly is the mass adoption of CRM tools? Again, the answer is simple: most businesses want to improve customer retention and brand loyalty!
In a bid to meet up with the never-ending demands of customers, businesses nowadays are constantly innovating and creating new products. This has resulted in intense competition between brands.
The consequence of such competition is that customer loyalty has become increasingly challenging, leading to a significant increase in customer churn rate. This is where using CRM software and implementing an effective CRM strategy becomes crucial.
CRM strategy enables you to identify those customer segments that are most likely to churn. Thereby allowing you to alert your sales team, marketing teams, and other front-line workers (who hold direct customer interaction) on the exact customers that need to be re-prioritized or they churn.
Other benefits of having a CRM strategy:
- CRM strategies allow businesses to organize their customer data and interactions into a simple user interface, making it easier to recognize and communicate with customers in a scalable manner. This simplifies the buying and sales processes, enables personalized customer service relationships, and ultimately enhances customers’ experience.
- A well-implemented CRM strategy builds cooperation among customer-facing teams like support, marketing, and sales teams to work towards achieving key organizational goals.
- It gives you an idea of your sales pipeline and lets you know the customers’ stage in your marketing funnel.
- Most CRM strategies are integrated with software that automates many sales and marketing tasks. This allows your sales and marketing teams to make better use of time.
- A CRM strategy also eliminates delays and red tape in communicating to customers and improves your organization’s ability to have a better sales forecast.
Is CRM A Strategy Or Software?
CRM encompasses both the strategy and the software that can be used by a company to easily track all communications and nurture relationships with their customers and potential customers.
So how can a CRM system and Strategy work together?
It’s simple: While a CRM strategy gives you an approach to your customer relationships, a CRM system helps you implement that approach.
The average data-driven business today depends on CRM systems to satisfy its customers and get the much-needed competitive advantage. Thus, the strategy examples we’ll be highlighting below will require CRM software for a successful implementation.
Top Practical Examples Of CRM Strategy
Here are top CRM strategy (customer relationship management) examples you can integrate into your business strategy for a fail-safe CRM implementation:
1. Customer Interactions And Behavior Tracking
The first step in all your strategies should be to know your customers!
CRM systems eliminate the uncertainties and inaccuracies of tracking how prospective customers find and interact with your business online.
For instance, you get to know the exact ad a customer clicked on and determine if a potential customer engaged with your email or left it unread. You also get to know the specific social media platform where a particular customer is most likely to find you. This can only be possible because CRM software allows you to store a wide range of data from existing, new, and potential customers.
Once you’ve successfully engaged yourcustomers, a CRM platform lets you know them far better than you would have without a CRM solution. Of course, “knowing your customer” doesn’t imply knowing just their names or email addresses. Instead, it means understanding the date and nature of their last engagement with your brand, their previous orders, and their total spend. Such “personalized” knowledge is precisely what you need for better customer relationships and to target them with discounts or rewards based on their specific purchasing preferences.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Create a detailed customer database to get more insight into how, when, and where they interact with your brand. The more you know your customers, the better your customer engagement, sales process, and marketing are. This will directly result in more income.
2. Loyalty Program
One main aim of a standard CRM strategy is to satisfy more customers and make them loyal. This can be achieved by establishing a loyalty program. But the question is, are you taking advantage of this great marketing strategy?
Loyalty programs offer rewards, discounts, or other special benefits to customers. They are designed as a reward package for repeat customers to retain them for the long run.
You may employ this strategy by allowing your customers to accumulate digital currency whenever they buy on your website. These accumulated points will motivate them to return to your company website for more of your services since they directly benefit from each purchase.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Always use Loyalty Programs to reward your most loyal customers. Offer them discounts and personalized offers based on their preferences.
3. Targeted Marketing
The essence of CRM is to improve customer experience. And the first two CRM strategy examples on this list will do an excellent job of improving your customer experience — through enhanced customer interaction, behavior tracking, and customer loyalty programs.
But then, it shouldn’t end at that. Another helpful strategy is putting the data obtained through those interactions into good use. And one way to do that is by carrying out marketing campaigns tailored to your audience.
Here are some tips to succeed in your email marketing campaigns:
- Personalize Your Emails: Ensure your marketing department understands the need to integrate personal details into emails. Studies have revealed that emails with personalized lines are 26% more likely to be opened by the recipient. The reason is quite simple: The emails you usually send your customers are most likely unsolicited. Hence, the least you can do to involve them is to address them by name! Using names gives the reader the impression that your email is not another bulk marketing — even if that’s exactly what it is.
- Be Specific: customers are constantly seeking an easy way out. Hence, the more specific you are about your offer, the less stress you cause your reader. And the more likely it is to gain their attention.
- Categorize Your Customers: The fact is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. Because what works for Mr. “A” won’t necessarily work for Mr. “B.” After all, our ideas, perspectives, and preferences are fundamentally different. That’s why you need to categorize your email lists. The right marketing CRM software typically allows you to sortyour audience by purchase history, demographic, andpersonalpreferences. This ensures you always send the right messages to the right people while avoiding embarrassing mistakes.
- Make Unsubscribing Seamless: While this might seem contradictory to your marketing efforts, it’s for the best! One mistake most marketers make is making unsubscribing difficult for users. Providing a visible link in the email footer where users can easily click to unsubscribe makes you GDPR-compliant and makes your brand trustworthy and less spammy. An easy unsubscription helps your database clear out users who are no longer engaged to avail space for more lucrative prospects.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Establish a CRM strategy for tailored, personalized email marketing by categorizing your customer list. This will not only maximize the effectiveness of your messages but also help you avoid some silly marketing mistakes.
4. Data Cleansing/Deduplication
The goal of every business is to grow consistently and reap all the benefits of consistent growth. Sadly, one burden every brand has to deal with as they grow is increased attention and scrutiny from the media.
That’s why avoiding making high-profile mistakes during your sales marketing is crucial.
For instance, attempting to sell a product to a customer you should have known died long ago is a silly mistake. Another example is to target married couples who are no longer together with your marketing emails. Such errors can easily cost you your hard-earned reputation. Unfortunately, those are some of the easiest mistakes to make!
However, such slip-ups can be avoided with CRM usage because a customer relationship management system allows you to unify your data into a single system and avoid duplicate entries across different systems. This makes it easier to manage, cleanse, and regulate sensitive customer data for accurate marketing decisions.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Always audit your customer database to eliminate mistakes, ensure data integrity, and guarantee data relevance.
5. Accurate, Seamless Stakeholder Reporting
Your business stakeholders won’t typically only require you to present a segmented view of your entire customer base but would want it delivered as quickly and efficiently as possible!
The challenge, however, is that no matter how skilled your database manager is in excel, spreadsheets alone can not suffice in handling the task here!
Fortunately, you can quickly generate visually impressive reports and export them seamlessly with analytic CRM software. This is because, with such software, you can compile a series of customer/business data into one place and manipulate it via multiple online dashboards.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Enhance your credibility and transparency in the eyes of the media and stakeholders by using CRM software to generate internal and external reports about your business’ health and customer base.
6. Customer Relationship Identification
Customer relationship management goes beyond understanding only your relationship with your customers (relationship management). It also involves understanding the personal or professional relationships your customers have within themselves.
For example, the comprehensive view of your customer database, as provided by the ideal CRM software, ensures you can identifythe potentially profitableconnections between your clients. You also gain more insights into the personal links shared by your customers for more informed marketing decisions and good customer relationships.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Understand your client’s professional and personal connections for more tailored sales, marketing, and customer service efforts.
7. Customer Service Team Integration
Customer relationship management software is not just important to your marketing or sales team but also crucial for your customer service strategies.
Your CRM system makes cross-departmental communication possible and seamless. This is because, with a CRM system, you can transmit information about the interaction between your customer and marketing/sales reps to your customer service teams. This allows your service teams to know exactly what the problem is at any given time and how to fix it.
With this strategy in place, your customers won’t get stuck or bounce from one customer service agent to another while trying to explain their issues repeatedly. Of course, that’s a bad customer experience and a common CRM problem you should avoid at all costs.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Connect your team and ensure your business is harmonized with CRM software to ensure your customers’ experience is at the highest level.
8. Value-Added Content Creation
It’s one thing to reach out to customers and sell directly to them via email marketing, but a different thing altogether to attract, engage, and convert new inbound prospects into loyal clients! But why exactly? It’s simple: you need more than email marketing to do the latter. You need to create content — whether as blogs or social media posts — to provide your audience with the value they can’t find elsewhere.
Publishing unique and verifiable content, whitepapers, webinars, case studies, and infographics would establish you as an authority in your niche while entertaining and engaging your readers with valuable information.
A CRM solution provides a platformthat allowsyou to create, schedule, and publish unique, SEO-optimized content. The software also integrates with your social media accounts to streamline community management.
You can also monitor keyword trends, review the performance of your past social media posts, and examine their engagement levels – all from a single user interface. Another critical dimension of the software is that itintegrates with social mediamonitoring tools to keep you steadily informed on what your customers are saying about your brand.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Add a new dimension to your business by creating original, value-added content for your website and social media channels and monitoring everything with a CRM system.
9. Employee Empowerment And Autonomy
One fact every business owner has to face is that the more employees are empowered to do what’s necessary, the higher their productivity level.
CRM systems can boost employee empowerment in many ways. For instance, the software can break down data silos to enable more efficient team collaboration. This will go a long way to add some elements of transparency to every interaction your sales, marketing, and customer service teams have with your clients.
Now, with your team of employees empowered to use the CRM tools and data at their disposal, they will feel more independent, accountable, and confident to make better decisions towards achieving the organizational goals.
STRATEGY BOTTOM LINE: Empower your teams to use CRM software for improved collaboration and greater access to data.
10. CRM Inspirations From Big Names
Adopting any customer relationship management strategy examples discussed above for your business could prove a little complicated, considering the peculiarities of different business situations. In fact, you can easily be short of ideas on how to go about it.
That’s why it’s a great idea to check out the most successful businesses globally (in terms of CRM implementation) for much-needed inspiration.
How To Create An Effective CRM Strategy
Having explored some examples of CRM strategies to adopt for your business, let’s find out HOW TO create some of these strategies:
1. Review Your Overall Business Strategy
The first step in creating a CRM strategy is to review your overall business strategy. This gives you a clear idea of what goals you want to achieve for your business which may include understanding your customer history, more customer acquisition, retention of repeat customers, increasing your workforce, or growing your revenue by a certain percentage. The question is, how exactly can you carry out this overall review?
Here are some steps to go about it:
i. Identify And Write Down Your Business Goals
To set relevant business goals, you should focus on what you want to achieve within a year or five years through your CRM strategy. Doing this will give you a competitive edge in your industry.
Some top goals you can set for your business include,
- Increase productivity by 20% by the end of the 2nd quarter through a particular number of promising leads
- Enhance customer satisfaction survey ratings by 15 points to promote customer loyalty
- Increase sales target by 15 percent by the end of the year.
ii. Create A Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
A Unique Selling Proposition (USP), or Unique Selling Point, is that outstanding value that sets you apart from your competitors. Hence, creating a USP tells your customers why they should choose you instead of other companies providing similar services to yours.
iii. Define Your Buyer Persona
A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your ideal customer, including their behavior, likes and dislikes, and interactions with your brand.
This persona is usually imaginary but typically based on comprehensive research of your desired audience or the existing ones.
Creating a buyer persona allows you to identify your target market, understand exactly what your target buyers are looking for, and offer your customers precisely what they need.
iv. Understand The Competitive Landscape
To succeed in your CRM strategy goals, you must understand your competitors and how your business fits into the industry. This will allow you to monitor the current trends and understand how your company can maintain a competitive advantage.
2. Establish Your Sales Processes And Sales Channels
Establishing and ensuring a streamlined sales process or channel guarantees a good experience for your customers—from their point of purchase down to their after-sales activities.
Sales channels are the means through which your business distributes your products or services to a market.
For example, some businesses use business-to-business (B2B), meaning they are dealing (selling to) with another business entity that is the intended end-user of the product. Others use the business-to-customer (B2C) sales channel, where they sell directly to individual customers.
A sales process, on the other hand, is a set of steps required to move a prospective customer from the brand awareness stage to the stage of a closed sale. Defining your sales process is crucial for the overall growth of your business.
3. Map The Customer Journey
Customer journey maps are diagrams that illustrate the stages customers undergo when interacting with a company. This may include the stage they bought a product online, the stage they interacted with customer service via telephone calls, or when they aired their grievances on social media. In other words, a customer journey map is a visual representation of a customer’s interactions and experiences with your business across touchpoints.
In mapping your customer journey, you have to pay attention to the following:
i. Identify The Present Challenges
Having identified the stages of your customer journey, the next is to determine the possible obstacles your customers face when buying. These challenges may include sending generic emails that don’t match customers’ interests, not having a detailed FAQ page on the company website that addresses important questions, or limited customer support channels.
It’s only when you identify these challenges that you can come up with ways to resolve them and move your business forward.
ii. Establish A Content Plan
The next thing is to create content for each of the customer touchpoints. In doing this, you have to provide different types of content ideal for your prospects — including educational e-books or how-to guides — to address the prospect’s pain points and solve some of the challenges identified above.
4. Select The Right CRM Software
Now, you can select the ideal CRM software based on your peculiar needs and the short or long-term business goals you intend to achieve.
In choosing the right CRM solution for your business, you must consider some critical factors, including features, capabilities, pricing, and integrations.
Always involve your sales, marketing, and customer service departments to select the CRM tool(s) that they typically require to drive towards your business objectives.
5. Plan Your CRM Implementation
Once you have arrived at the right CRM platform, the next focus should be on implementation! Implementing your CRM has to do with setting up and deploying your strategies! You need thorough planning and a roadmap to make the most of your CRM investment.
6. Define Team Goals And Set KPIs
Setting organizational goals is excellent, but don’t forget to narrow down these goals from team to team. This is because having individual goals for your sales, marketing, and service teams creates employee expectations and gives each staff member something to work toward. These team goals, however, should be geared toward achieving main organizational goals.
For a more organized process, you can employ the SMART Goal Model (SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). This model will ensure you reach the goals and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Creating a CRM strategy is crucial in cultivating customer relationships, improving customer experience, and growing business revenue. It also enhances the collaboration between your sales, marketing, and customer service teams. And equips your company with the much-needed data and metrics to guide you in making critical business decisions.
With the strategy examples discussed on this page and the tips to create a working CRM, it becomes easier to get your implementation right.