Your CRM is about more than just software; it’s about establishing a strong and trusting relationship with your customers.

And yet, many companies set-up their CRM without actually implementing a CRM strategy at all. Which is puzzling.

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In today’s increasingly digital world, clients expect your attention 24/7. Thus, it’s essential that your business is equipped to meet these demands.

To help you create a winning CRM strategy, I've put together these ten simple steps that are designed to develop and strengthen your customer relationships for the long haul.

1. Develop A Vision For Your CRM Strategy

It’s important to gain input from your employees to find out what they expect from your CRM.

Once you’ve gathered enough ideas, you can see which tie in best with your overall business objectives and take it from there.

2. Put Together A CRM Team

Your CRM team should include mix of employees from each department within your organisation that uses the CRM system.

Whether it’s sales, marketing, finance, or customer support – their opinions and experiences will help you to develop your CRM strategy into a winning strategy.

3. Empower Your Employees

Your people are the driving force behind your business and it’s essential that they’re equipped with the correct training required to fulfil their roles. Your front-line staff should always be at the top of their game, and it’s up to you to empower them to do so.

These employees are the face of your organisation and they must be trained to represent the values of your company. With regular customer satisfaction surveys and incentives for employees who go the extra mile, you’ll keep your customers happy and your staff motivated.

4. Make Processes More Efficient

Go through the customer sales cycle with a fine tooth comb and streamline everything. Prepare templates in advance, automate follows up, and get rid of duplicate data. If something doesn’t need to be there, take it out. If you can skip a step, do it.

The aim of the game is to make life easier for your customers and streamlining your processes is a key part of doing so.

5. Make Customer Support More Accessible

Your customers are online 24/7, so your business needs to be too. You should provide customer support on multiple channels such as Twitter, Facebook, phone, email, and online chat.

Remember, if your customer can’t complain directly to you, they’ll just complain about you instead.

6. Promote Collaboration In Your Organisation

By regularly capturing and sharing customer data, your employees can stay up-to-date all on customer interactions and provide an even better service.

Gaining access to this customer relationship data will also enable you to continually analyze, assess, and improve your business operations,

7. Understand Your Customers

Before you can connect with somebody, you need to know who they are. Ask yourself (and your staff) the following questions:

  • Who are your customers?

  • Where do they come from?

  • What do they do?

  • What do they like about your product/service?

  • What do they dislike about your product/service?

  • Are they satisfied?

This kind of information will allow you to forecast and plan efficiently, and also provide valuable insights which are crucial to successful customer relationship management.

8. Market Your Product/Service Correctly

Don’t spam your customers.

Use targeted direct marketing to send messages that will won’t be ignored, up-sell higher quality products/services, and cross-sell any other products or services that will suit their needs.

9. Focus On Customer Retention

It’s important to reward loyal customers and a great way to do this is with a customer loyalty programme. With something like this, you can thank them for sticking around – but also incentivise them to keep sticking around.

Don’t forget about generating referrals either; once you have a loyal customer base in place, this can be an excellent way of expanding it even further.

10. Measure Your Success

Once you have your CRM strategy up and running, don’t let it go stale.

It’s important to keep up with your customers and constantly update and improve your strategy to meet their needs.

People First

Once you’ve built a successful CRM strategy, you’ll also build customer trust and loyalty. This will help you to retain your current customers and win over new prospects to grow your business.

Remember, customer relationship management is about people rather than technology – and your CRM software is simply the supporting act. Once you have a strong team in place, your business will be able to utilize your CRM software to its full potential.

Do you have any good CRM strategy tips of your own? Why not share them with us in the comments below.