How to evolve your CRM strategy
When you first start out in business, you typically don’t think about how to manage your customers, and sales pipeline, as typically a good old bunch of yellow (other colours available) sticky ‘post it’ notes, whiteboard, or spreadsheet can see you through in the short-term. Hello CRM!
As your business begins to grow, customers expand, new team members join and complexity introduces itself…the right strategies, processes and tools can help you keep focus, track everything and realise your business goals. But tools alone without a strategy and a little bit of process aren’t enough. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has become extremely sophisticated and is now critical in helping businesses build scalable and sustainable growth – in fact we prefer to call these strategies, tools and processes – Growth Platforms.
1. CRM (Growth Platforms), why bother?
Revenue Operations has emerged as a critical topic with business owners, CEOs, marketers, and growth leaders because they crave revenue growth yet don’t have a proven system to achieve it.
Unsure of where to get started, and which platform would work best for your overall goals? You might want to check out our preferred three growth platforms article for more insight.
A CRM is more than a simple database of contacts where you add all of those business cards…mind you business cards have phased out in recent times and digital cards like mine are more suitable with the hybrid working situation being more of the norm these days.
The beauty of these platforms is that it allows you to work as a lone wolf or / and stay connected with your customers in a team setting. It allows you to customise, integrate with your other processes / systems, and to keep track of all of your customers’ data and interactions with you, team members or anyone in your broader business setup. You can track the entire customer journey from the very first visit to your website all the way through to purchase and beyond. We prefer to map customer journeys within our attract, engage, sell, delight and expand stages (our growth methodology)- you can read more here.
It doesn’t stop there – you can record contact and buying preferences, marketing segmentation, notes of all conversations and task management. It’s a great start for managing your customer relationships and keeping track of your sales opportunities. It also helps drive alignment between marketing and sales personnel in how best to achieve business and customer goals.
What are the benefits?
It starts with happier customers, higher individual and team productivity, improved teamwork and being able to measure and manage your sales, marketing and customer experience performance. We don’t plan to dig too much into marketing in this article, but we love how the right growth platforms can really boost your marketing efforts too, and allow you to track marketing attribution, handover leads to sales, automate customer journeys with targeted nurturing sequences and communications, trigger retargeting ads to the missing 98% that don’t convert when they visit your website the first time, manage social media , email marketing, SMS and messenger marketing, and so much more. Find out more on our build a smarter marketing strategy article.
2. Having A CRM Strategy is Key
The whole “build the plane as it’s flying” approach doesn’t work in the long run. It creates far too much reactivity and you end up always chasing leads, trends, and your competition.
The impulse to compromise long-term plans for more immediate gains can be short-sighted. As stated previously, without a strategy, no tool will deliver you the results you might want.
Maybe you have a tool, but have failed to establish your strategy, and the chances are it’s not getting used properly and will never support you as you first anticipated.
Source HubSpot: A CRM strategy is a plan that your entire company adopts to help increase productivity, efficiency, and profits. It’s an organisation-wide belief that customers are the lifeblood of your business. Building relationships with them and nurturing those relationships is the fastest path to success.
The lack of a CRM strategy will result in chaos, reactivity, lack of alignment between marketing and sales, employee overwhelm and failure in adopting and using the tools that will help to drive the necessary growth of your business.
3. Creating A CRM Strategy
Like any strategy (Business, Marketing, Sales or CRM), you have to start with determining what it is you’re looking to accomplish, what are your business goals, what are you hoping to achieve from your CRM investment, how would you describe your ideal clients (think Persona if it helps) and where do they frequent (online and physical world), define your customer buyer journeys – note the plural in journey(s), a business can have many customer buyer journeys and it can vary by business model, product, service, type of ideal client and other attributes.
There are many CRM strategy examples you can learn from and be inspired by when witnessing your own customer experience and every day interactions with various businesses you engage with. Or do a bit of research and find a company in your industry or in a different industry that is going from strength to strength and emulate some of those best practices. Customer-centric businesses with a CRM strategy (and Growth Platform) tend to make good use of these practices (examples only):
- Creating a multi / omni-channel touchpoint experience for customers and respond fast to their needs – you snooze, you lose!
- Tracking customer website digital behaviour and segmenting for future targeting and communications
- Implementing rewards and loyalty programs based on customer data
- Automatically suggesting products via email when a customer has visited website
- Retargeting lost website visitors/customers via facebook ads or google display ads
- Sending customer notifications via email, SMS or other messenger platforms
- On-boarding new customers after the sale
- Automating after purchase follow-up to survey for feedback and capture online testimonials
Of course, many other examples exist on how CRM tools and a proper strategy can offer a way to leverage customer data, find information easily and ultimately create happy, repeat purchase, and loyal customers.
Great, you have now defined your strategy, purchased and implemented your Growth Platform (CRM) and ready to go for growth. Easy Tiger!
Make sure to onboard your employees, provide them training, clarify who’s doing what when it comes to tasks and processes. Also make sure to regularly review your CRM strategy as it shouldn’t be static, it needs to adapt based on business, employee and customer experience feedback and opportunities.
Autus provide Revenue Growth Platforms, Marketing & Sales Automation and Digital Marketing services to help sales and marketing personnel and teams build efficient and effective sales and marketing best practices and automate their marketing and sales processes by leveraging personalised content, various digital marketing tactics, segmentation and behaviour of their prospects and customers.
Find out more here.
Our founder, Tom Berry, also provides selective fractional CMO services and is a member of some client boards.
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If our team at Autus can help advise further, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our founder, Tom Berry.
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