CRM technology and strategy have seen a steady rise in acceptance and implementation globally. In 2017, global revenues from CRM amounted to $39.5 million and it’s estimated that implementation of focused CRM strategies globally can lead to revenues as high as $42 million.
Five areas of your CRM strategy that really need your attention
However, it isn’t easy to implement a CRM strategy. Organizations across the world have faced many hiccups during their CRM strategy development journey. The five areas you need to pay particularly attention to are:
1. Data fields
With changing business needs, data needs will also change. However, many organizations fail to change their data forms and make their data fields more complicated than necessary or completely redundant.
Collecting unnecessary data can corrupt the quality of intelligence and lead to errors in decision making.
2. Customer records
One of the biggest CRM problems is the presence of stale records. Not organizing data silos and not separating active accounts from dead accounts can lead to wasting time, money and energy on non-responsive accounts. It can also lead to organizations missing out on accounts that have a sale potential.
3. CRM dashboards & reports
A poorly designed dashboard can put-off even the most loyal customer. It can also make data collection and lead generation extremely difficult. Additionally, a dashboard that hasn’t been designed to support quality data collection can lead to the generation of faulty reports which don’t contain realistic and actionable inputs.
4. Data automation systems
One of the most common areas of concern in CRM is technology upgradation. Many organizations select and implement a single CRM structure for years. They don’t automate as necessary and do not implement other supporting technology to supplement their CRM efforts. This is why it’s important to get 360-degree support when looking at CRM implementation and management.
5. Third-party CRM service providers
The final area of concern with CRM is the outdated tools and practices followed by third-party CRM service providers. Not revising SLAs with them and not asking for state-of-the-art automation can lead to organizations following outdated CRM practices. It can also lead to data mismanagement.
Five best practices for your CRM strategy
In order for your CRM strategy to succeed, you need to ensure that the five areas mentioned above are updated and monitored. Additionally, you need to follow these best practices:
1. Set goals & KPIs before designing the CRM strategy
Just like any other strategy implementation, a CRM strategy will only be successful when organizations have clarity about what they wish to achieve. It's important to set goals in the place first and create KPIs for each goal.
Some of the goals might include:
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Reduction of business costs
- Greater efficiency in operation
- Growth in market share (& leads)
- Enrichment of sales teams’ expertise and knowledge
2. Implement an inter-departmental CRM strategy
Many organizations make the mistake of designing their CRM strategy for their sales department alone. However, this is the wrong thing to do.
Often, leads may first engage with an organization either by reading their blogs, sharing their social media posts or subscribing to their newsletter. They might not contact the organization for product information until the very last minute. Having an inter-departmental CRM strategy in place can help monitor the leads’ movements and create customized marketing communication for them.
3. Automate and train staff to effectively use CRM systems
When we talk of CRM automation, we don’t just mean scaling. The CRM should also be in-sync with other automation used in the organization. For example, CRM should work with Google Calendar and Outlook and automatically map sales pitches and email schedules onto them.
Similarly, the chatbots and virtual assistant software used on websites should be designed to map data from customer interactions into the organizations’ data fields and records.
Once this is done, it's necessary to train employees to use and manage these CRM technologies. Not training staff correctly can lead to CRM technology becoming an expensive liability, as opposed to an asset.
4. Make your CRM strategy social media-friendly
With social media fast becoming the number one customer touchpoint for organizations, it's important to include social media into the CRM strategy. It helps to design CRM systems to track and monitor the performance of the keywords, hashtags and image tags commonly used on social media.
The CRM technology should also be used to access contact details, conversation history, complaints and other communication organizations have had with the customer on social media to improve their online response rate.
5. Redesign your data fields, records and dashboards
One way to get the best out of a CRM strategy is to change the data fields in the forms to collect only the essential information. This simplifies the form and makes data mapping easier. Once data integrity is ensured, creating trustable records is easy. Now, stale records can also be disposed of, and records of active accounts can be built and updated.
Additionally, organizations can work towards redesigning their CRM dashboards to be more graphics-friendly, more readable, have understandable legends and customized to the audience. A/B testing the dashboards will help make iterative revisions as necessary.