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Six Key Steps for a Robust CRM Program

Whether you are a business of one or a full-size enterprise, you need to have a Customer Relationship Management process. CRM helps businesses develop relationships with their customers that, in turn, create loyalty and customer retention.

At its core, CRM is all the activities, strategies and technologies that companies use to manage their interactions with their prospects and customers. As it is said, you are not the owner of your business – your customers are, and they can fire you at any time!

To avoid getting “fired,” you need to meet your customers where they are, understanding the reasons they do business with you. Today’s informed, socially engaged consumers look for more than price and product in exchange for their loyalty – they demand a positive customer experience and true, sustained value exchanges over time, and your CRM strategy is key to delivering that experience when, where and how they want it.

Consider these steps when planning your CRM strategy’s content:

Step 1: Determine a Distinctive CRM Value Proposition
This step is the core component of a customer relationship strategy because it considers the customer’s point of view. The value proposition looks outward at customers and answers these three fundamental questions:

Which Customers Will You Serve?
Before considering how to develop strong relationships with customers, you need to decide which customers to serve based on who you want your business to reach. With customers at the center of your CRM strategy, you should analyze this group with value and profitability in mind, so you will remain loyal to the customer relationship strategies that follow. Adjusting business objectives to your target customers is the foundation of the other two segments of the value proposition: customer needs and pricing.

Which Customer Needs Will You Meet?
CRM is the art of determining which resources to market. A good strategy aligns your sales and marketing processes to identify unique customer needs. Encourage innovative ideas from your sales and marketing teams about how to collect data from sales processes to reveal opportunities to enhance customer experiences. This in turn permits you to model “lookalike” prospective buyers from your current customers.

At What Price?
Evaluating the pricing of products and services is a core method for building and keeping up with customer relationships and a meaningful indicator of effectiveness. Consider analyzing your sales data from your targeted customers and aligning pricing with the unique customer needs you’ve identified. Track data on your target customer segmentation and assess customers’ reactions to your pricing. Uncovering the hidden potential behind pricing will support your CRM value proposition and offer a real-time improvement to your overall CRM strategy. 

Step 2: Tailor Communication to the Value Proposition
Today’s modern CRM processes and technology enhance the communication between business operations and customers; this incorporates showcasing marketing automation, email campaigns, social media publicizing, etc., which all give your brand a voice. Make certain to tailor this communication activity to the CRM value proposition.

Communicate Like a Person, Not a Robot
Customers don’t like to be sold to; they prefer relatable interactions. Develop your customer relationship strategies to uniquely design correspondence that reflects the voice of your primary customer segmentation.  Influence your CRM technology to communicate your story in ways that elicit an emotional connection with your brand.

Communicate Quickly and Frequently
Customer relationship techniques require speed and proficiency. Your CRM activity needs to be customized to the diversity of your customer interactions and needs. If your marketing and sales activity use multiple channels, build and enforce a reliable communication timeline that coordinates customer interactions and focuses on providing helpful resources. Plan a CRM support process that forms regular customer touchpoints depending on their stage in the buyer-seller journey.

Step 3: Use Trade-Offs to Enhance Customer Service Strategy
The principle of making difficult decisions — choosing  what not to do — borders on accepting boundaries in a competitive market. The need for trade-offs is the foundation of a good strategy. A sound CRM strategy also requires making sacrifices or choosing trade-offs. Customer service is both a business process and a culture inside an organization. The obligation to an essential customer segment and its unique desires is a practice in trust, competence and integrity.

Value Complaints and Use Data to Make Difficult Choices
Word-of-mouth matters, and customers who buy from you and have a bad experience will not only complain but also share their experience and opinions within their social network. Recognizing this opportunity and using complaints to improve products and services, build positive brand awareness or grow the desired customer segment can be a competitive advantage. Also, complaints can help you determine which unique customer needs are fitting for your business and align with your profitability goals. A bad customer experience doesn’t seal the fate of your relationship – what you do next matters, and customers often continue to do business with companies that resolve complaints in their favor.

Step 4: Determine If Your Customer Relationships Fit Your Strategy
Do your business processes align with your customer relationship strategy? Do the conditional choices your company makes daily “fit” with your customer relationship strategy? The implementation of your CRM activities impacts the value of individual business activities.

Connect Your CRM Processes with Relationship Marketing
Relationship marketing places customers at the center of your business strategy. It is a business concept that relies upon all stakeholder activity to create value. You synchronize marketing and sales activities in this framework by focusing on earning customers, developing relationships to increase retention, and maintaining overall customer lifetime value. Create your CRM process and technology plan to track individual business activities and make sure they fit together with the principles of relationship marketing. Align your culture, leadership, people, technology and process with your CRM strategy – while keeping the customer at the center – to reinforce the value of your business activities and create a competitive advantage.

Analyze Your Customer Relationship Return on Investment
The meaning of customer relationship ROI is unique to your value proposition and the activities that support your value chain. Delineate and measure your relationship ROI with key performance indicators (KPIs). Adjust the activities based on your analysis of your customer relationship ROI metrics to fit the overall CRM model. Your customer relationship action should improve your business competency and vice versa.

Step 5: Invest in the Right CRM Software to Support Sales Processes
Arguably the most important asset of your CRM plan is a tool that creates a simple user interface for the collection of data that helps businesses recognize and communicate with customers in a scalable and personalized way. Utilizing and keeping a CRM tool is the basis for a scalable sales and marketing framework. Any size organization will benefit from keeping a record of which discussions, purchases and marketing tools can be associated with their leads and customers.   

Seek a CRM Tool That Integrates with Your Company’s Tech Ecosystem 
A strategically developed technology stack will enable your CRM tool to seamlessly share real-time data and resources with other utilized services. This could include your partner portal, email marketing automation, appointment scheduling platform, social media management tool and site analytics. Another valuable step when improving your technology stack? Look for overlaps in the various tools’ capabilities. The strategic contents of your CRM platform may eliminate the need for redundant software, helping you streamline both your processes and budget.  

Step 6: Enable Continuity with Data-Driven CRM Processes
Without continuity, the competitive advantage that a well-built CRM strategy provides will go unfulfilled. Achieving continuity is a conversation about change and growth. Furthermore, the facts confirm that gradual changes to individual CRM processes and technology compromise the strategic progression and lessen your competitive advantage. However, by leveraging data-driven CRM processes to implement change strategically, you can avoid the pitfalls of changing too much or changing the wrong things.

Utilize Data Before Contacting Customers
CRM technology can collect and store data on individual behaviors through various capabilities that provide user recognition and online preferences. For example, mobile device IDs provide important metrics for mobile advertising decisions. Sophisticated email marketing technology enables A/B testing and sophisticated trial-and-error capabilities to inform relationship marketing decisions.

Analyze sales data to avoid making incorrect conversions in rolling out some unacceptable improvements for the sake of development. Such ill-informed changes may include experimenting on the wrong customer segment for the sake of growth. Make improvements to the quality of collected data and study CRM processes and technology that make this data accessible in the field for sales operations.

Modern relationship marketing and the various categories of support for this framework (digital marketing, for instance) are rooted in data-based decision-making. Data-driven processes are critical to the stability of overall CRM strategy, as they support sales and marketing activity by uncovering capabilities and weaknesses, placing a company’s brand identity under the microscope of measurable results.

Use these steps to create a solid CRM strategy which aligns with your business and value proposition. As a result, you’ll benefit from the limitless scalability and improved customer happiness.

Are you leveraging your customer relationships to grow your business?

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about the author

Lillian Reyes  As the CRM Senior Manager at Luquire, Lillian is responsible for the development and execution of digital CRM strategies and maintaining strong partnerships with clients and cross-divisional stakeholders to manage the CRM efforts to guide delivery of programs and insights. Prior to joining Luquire, Lillian was the Senior Database Marketing Manager at Hilton Grand Vacations, where she managed marketing campaigns and led a database marketing team that leveraged advanced analytical techniques to develop insight into customer behaviors and predictive outcomes.


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