April 27, 2018

How to Build and Implement a Successful CRM Strategy

BY Caitlin Delohery IN CRM Software One Comment

Chances are, you know a lot about building a successful business strategy. But, if you’re reading this article, it’s likely you’re wondering how to apply higher level thinking to the way you integrate your CRM with your existing workflows and to how you collect and analyze your data.

Here are five tips for creating a successful CRM strategy.

Make sure the CRM data you gather and track ties to larger goals.

Start with the big picture questions. What do you want your data to do? Or, to put it a different way: how do you want your data to support your biggest goals?

For example, if you run a professional speaking business, let’s say one of your top-level goals is to increase the number of speaking gigs you book annually. The kind of data that will help you support this goal is:

  • How many speaking gigs you currently book annually
    This information will help you refine your goal so it’s more concrete: “Increase the number of speaking gigs I book annually by 20%”
  • How many of your leads typically convert to paid gigs
    This information will help you understand how much outreach you need to do to reach your goal.
  • What types of leads convert to paid gigs more often
    To drill down even further, if referral leads convert 5x more often than website leads, you can reallocate your energy and outreach dollars toward gathering and nurturing more referrals.

Expand your data collection touchpoints.

Businesses often think very narrowly about their opportunities to collect data from their clients or about the way their business functions. But, this can be a dangerous trap to fall into because it means you’re missing out on rich sources of info that can fuel innovation and efficiency.

So, don’t just gather data when your customers first get in touch with you or when they make an order. And don’t just analyze client behavior when it comes to traffic or closes. Think outside the box. Here are a few ideas.

  • Add an NPS survey to your post-demo outreach.
  • Put a short pop-up on your website asking a couple interesting questions, such as “What’s your biggest challenge?” and “Where did you hear about us?”
  • Keep track of how long it takes clients to move through your onboarding experience or for customers to repurchase after their first experience with your business.

Question which data really needs to be collected.

On the other side of the spectrum, it can be easy to think that when it comes to data collection, the more the merrier. But every piece of data that you regularly collect requires a bit of time and effort from your team — or from your customers. And because you’re likely to be collecting data at nearly every stage of your customer interactions, that bit of time and effort can really add up.

Time-intensive info forms can also tax your customers’ patience and make for a less fun customer experience. No one wants to fill out eternal forms.

Simplicity is often your friend. For example, if you’ve always collected customers’ shipping addresses but rely entirely on digital product delivery, don’t be afraid to nix that piece of data from your order forms.

Determine what aspects of data collection can be automated.

The more automation you build into your data collection processes, the more time your team has to focus on the things that really matter — building strong customer relationships, giving back to your clients, and getting great data out of your CRM.

Look for as many opportunities to automate as possible:

  • Select a CRM that integrates with your commonly used apps and customer interfaces, such as your email, your calendar, and your website.
  • Use email templates to automate your outreach.
  • Create task templates to streamline your to-do lists and workflows.

Create processes to check data quality.

No strategy is perfect. You will collect bad data and duplicate info. Your data will go bad, expire, and become irrelevant. So, a great CRM strategy will also include processes to weed out the bad data from the good.

  • Perform periodic duplication checks — both to de-dupe your database and to identify any processes that may lead to duplicate information.
  • Consider outreach campaigns that check for clients’ most up-to-date contact info, user preferences, and top-of-mind business needs.
  • Schedule periodic data cleansing to keep your data fresh, relevant, and useful.

Looking for more tips and getting the most of your CRM? Check out our article on tracking the metrics that matter most.

Caitlin got her roots in inbound marketing before it got its name. As a teenager in the 90s, she promoted her independently published magazines by writing about the importance of indie publishing all over AOL. Now, Caitlin is passionate about moving people and society forward. She follows thought leaders in the National Speakers Association, the staffing industry, and all human rights movements. She loves learning and helping people learn.

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