Tips on how to build an effective CRM strategy..

In order to build an effective CRM strategy there needs to be a significant amount of analysis and evaluation of various areas of the business before any strategy can be crafted.

Many companies use a CRM system first before they have even started thinking strategically about their CRM programme. This causes major problems further down line because they soon find out that the CRM system their using actually can’t fulfill their business needs or that they’re not using it effectively because they are not clear on what they want to get out of it.

The most effective CRM strategies have the customer at the heart of everything so a more relationship and customer centric company will always have much more success than a company that is more product or services focused.

A CRM strategy should have multiple facets within it from business objectives, experience and communications planning, data and analytics strategy, channel strategy, content strategy, technology, continuous improvement and metrics/measurements.

Here are some tips to help you build a more effective CRM strategy:

CRM Vision

First and foremost you need to have a clear vision for your CRM programme. You need to answer the ‘Why’ and the ‘What’. Why do you want to create a CRM programme and what do you want to get back from it. Define top level goals and objectives. You need know what you want to achieve as well as know your customers inside out.

Analysis and Data Gathering

Once the vision is clear and the objectives have been defined it’s time to start utilising all the data and analytics you have at your disposal. Start mapping the customer journeys and understand where your customers touch and interact with your business.  This is where you can highlight problem areas, therefore opportunities, by seeing gaps in customer touch points where you’re not communicating with customers at all or if you are it’s not done in an efficient or effective way. If you start segmenting these journeys it will highlight the differences in these journeys between different customer groups.

Start building a data strategy

Once you’ve highlighted the points you want to modify and impact it’s time to start thinking about building your data plan. You need answers to the following:

  • What data do you have?
  • What data do you need?
  • What segmentations will need implementing?
  • Will you be using any predictive marketing techniques? If so, what propensity models will you be using to ensure certain customer types are communicated with at the right time with the right offer?

Start the creative process by creating an experience and communications plan

What experience can you create and how will you communicate to your customers? You need to provide an enhanced customer experience to encourage your customers to take action. This is a very important element of a CRM plan. Will your customers have quick and easy access to your support? How will you make this process and experience helpful to the customer?  It could be 24/7 support through Facebook, Twitter, Chat Support, Email etc.

Nowadays, customers expect answers immediately so you need to make sure you’re as responsive as possible.

Start building a content and channel strategy

This is where you need to match audiences, channels, customer segments and content together to ensure communication is as relevant as possible to increase conversions, acquisition, engagement and advocacy.

Think about what messages you would like to show and to who and where.

Ensure all employees are aligned with the new CRM strategy

This is the part where a lot of CRM programmes fail and this is because the new strategy has not been communicated clearly if at all throughout the organisation from the leadership team.

There is no point having a well thought out strategy in place if you haven’t got employee buy-in and understanding.  They are the team on the front line that needs to have a clear understanding of the strategy to ensure the right messages and approach is taken with customers.

What technology should you use

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog this is where a lot of companies start and this nearly always wastes the budget invested in CRM systems.  When choosing a CRM software you need to think about how it integrates with the eCommerce platform you’re using.  Do your research to find out what other merchants are using your eCommerce platform and who are also using the CRM software you’re looking at for your business. Maybe try getting in contact with them to ask what they think of the integration or research online by asking the questions in forums or see if the questions about the integration of the two systems in question have already been answered.

Also ask your development agency as they may have already had experience of doing the exact same integration.

Training

Training of new system as early as possible is key to understanding how well it’s been adopted by the relevant members of the team. One-to-one and group training as well as continued support from the technical team of the CRM software company will be vital to ensure each team member is using the system effectively.

Never stop refining the new CRM programme

Once the new system is chosen and integrated an approach plan should be in place to know how you are going to monitor the new processes in order to see how they are performing. You then need to think about when issues are found what processes do you need to have in place to ensure they are reported and dealt with promptly.

Define the KPIs that you want to monitor and make sure the performance of these are discussed and evaluated on a regular basis.

Listen, measure and be agile for change

Now your up and running and your CRM strategy is in full swing you need to ensure all members of staff who are part of the CRM process are listening to customer feedback, on top of any issues with processes and that issues are being resolved quickly. Conduct a/b testing of different messages to different customer groups and track which ones are working best and make sure the required changes to messages are followed through.

 

A CRM strategy, if done correctly is an extremely powerful marketing strategy so remember before you start thinking about what CRM software you are going to use you need to be strategic and think about why you’re doing it, what you want to do and how you’re going to do it.

If you would like help with developing your CRM strategy or you have a Magento site and want to integrate it with a CRM system feel free to get in touch with our consultants.

1 Comment

  1. Ronit Mishra

    What a great blog!! Everyone looking towards CRM as it is trending and fastest growing tool. But no one thinks what things should be kept in mind before implementing it. Very informative. Thanks for writing.

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