Buying a platform is easy. Write a check, swipe a card, or send a wire transfer and you’re done. 

It’s building a strategy around the tools your company invests in that takes time and effort. Beyond “what are we buying?” you must challenge yourself with “why are we buying this?” and then build a plan to achieve the why. This is called your strategy.

What is a CRM strategy?

A customer relationship management (CRM) strategy is the specific, documented way in which your employees work together within your chosen CRM platform to serve customers and potential customers and elevate the overall customer experience.

Why do you need a CRM strategy?

Sure, you can jump into a platform and pushing data through it, but without a strategy, you’ll be missing out on the true value of your purchase. Here are a few benefits of putting together your CRM strategy:

ROI from your CRM – A CRM is a big investment, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a return. Having a strategy in place up front helps you look for the right data points to show the investment is paying off. 

Better sales pipeline – Your pipeline will be under the scrutiny of leadership, so you have to get it right. Part of having your CRM strategy will be defining key terms. Having common definitions that are supported by your CRM will make it easier to forecast your revenue. For instance, does everyone know what constitutes an opportunity? If one rep opens up an opp after a first call and another waits until there is a timeline and a quote, your forecasting will forever be flawed. 

Data you can trust – Some companies subscribe to the “if it’s not in the CRM, it didn’t happen” philosophy. If you make this part of your strategy, you’ll be sure that the data you are reporting is accurate and up to date. Nothing is more troubling than running all sorts of reports only to find that one rep is behind on data entry. Your CRM strategy includes policies that ensure everyone is in the CRM regularly and that data entry is everyone’s process all the time. 

How to build a CRM strategy

Your CRM strategy will be unique to your business and your goals. You can review guides and research options, but ultimately it will be up to your team to build. Here are some ways you can move along that journey:

Define your CRM goals

If this is your first CRM, perhaps your goal is simply to have all of your data in one place and create a single source of truth. If you’ve had more experience with CRMs, you can look to increasing sales rep productivity, or relieve them of manual processes to make them more efficient by using automated workflows. With even more experience,  you can look beyond internal metrics and seek to increase customer satisfaction (NPS, CSAT or the like) or decrease churn rates. 

Map your customers journey

As part of your CRM strategy, you’ll want to step into the shoes of your customer and see what the process is and what improvements can be made. That’s called customer journey mapping. It’s the process of creating a visual step-by-step view of your customers’ interactions with your brand. It seems simple, but it can awaken team members at all levels of flaws and pain points in the system and areas for improvement. With these insights, businesses can optimize their resources to deliver an improved customer experience via the CRM.

Analyze your sales process

It’s always a good time to take a look at your sales process, but when building your CRM strategy, it’s crucial. How are leads routed? What’s the time to first touch? Do you have a self-serve model, or are salespeople required for all deals? How many calls does it take to close? Are reps discounting? What’s the length of the sales cycle and is it getting longer or shorter? Where are deals getting ‘stuck?’ Keep in mind that your sales process should mirror the buyer’s journey

Knowing all of this will help you better position your CRM for success. You’ll set up better pipelines, employ custom fields, and create the right reports to get visibility into the business. 

Identify customer touch-points

As part of your journey map, you can identify each customer touch-point. A touch-point is each interaction your business has with your customers. You’ll want to map the touch-points and individually consider each one. Is there a way we can improve this touch-point? Perhaps it’s a form with seven fields. Can we cut that to five? It’s also important to check each touch-point on different devices. It may be a perfectly good touch-point on a desktop, but mobile users may struggle with it.

It’s tempting to complete this exercise and then forget about it, but the best experiences are reviewed regularly for updates and improvements. You should set a schedule for reviewing your touch-points – preferably quarterly.

Assess the data you need to collect

In order to determine  the success of your CRM strategy,  you’ll need data points. This is a good time to determine which data points to collect and measure. 

Caution: there are infinite ways to view, slice and dice data. What means the most to your company? What will the leadership team need to know to make decisions? These are the types of data points on which you should focus when deifining your KPIs in step 7.

To get your ideas flowing, review this list and see what makes sense to track for your organization:

Pre-sale metrics 

  • Lead count by source
  • Opportunity count by pipeline
  • Lead-to-opportunity conversion rate
  • Average projected deal revenue 

Post-sale metrics 

  • Win percentage
  • Revenue per sale
  • New revenue per day, week, month, etc. 
  • Order volume per sales representative
  • Estimated profitability per won deal 

Delivery metrics

  • Opportunity-to-project conversion ratio
  • Project aging (average number of days or weeks)
  • Percentage of past-due projects to total
  • Actual cost vs. budget Productivity metrics
  • Task completion count
  • Tasks completed per team member
  • Task duration
  • Top-producing team members 

You can roll these metrics up into dashboards for your leadership team and/or for in-house monitors around your company offices.

List the tools your teams are using

Each department in your organization has the applications that are essential to how they operate within your business. Plus, there are some communications tools that are used throughout (looking at you, Slack and Gmail.) You’ll want a comprehensive list of those as you create your CRM strategy. Your CRM is the heart of your business, so it must interact with all of the applications in use. CRM integration creates an accurate, comprehensive picture of your customers and prospects. It improves how you communicate with customers, delivering more value from every interaction. Some CRMs require coding to get integrations to work. This can be costly and time consuming to both set up and maintain, likely by an expert resource or an outside firm. Modern CRMs have no-code, drag and drop functionality for integrations that make building and maintaining them much easier. 

Define your KPIs

Your team should set lofty, yet attainable key performance indicators (KPIs). As noted in section 5, there are many types of data your CRM can report. You’ll choose to roll up those data points into KPIs to share a few vital data points among stakeholders. What specific data points will you look at to determine CRM performance and thus the performance of the business? How will you report on the KPIs and how frequently? These are the questions to answer as part of your CRM strategy.

6 CRM goals examples

Coming up with your goals can be difficult, so below are some examples to help get you started. Your business is unique, however, so you should consider this a starting point and turn these ideas into your own. Consider the metrics that matter most to your business, and determine how the effective use of a CRM can impact them. 

For each goal, be sure to have a metric that you can measure. Below is a list of improvements with a sample goal under each one.

This is not an exhaustive list. You can look at any of the benefits of using a CRM and assign a quantifiable value to it. For example, how can you quantify the benefits of a 360-degree customer view? More accurate customer data? Reduced sales cycle? These can all be part of your goals and strategy.

  1. Improve user experience – Achieving 83% customer satisfaction by 12/31.
  2. Create personalized campaigns – Improving email click through rates by 8% in Q3.
  3. Increase customer loyalty – Increase open rates on customer emails by 4%.
  4. Improve your sales process – Use automated workflows to decrease time spent on repeatable tasks by 20%.
  5. Track and report sales performance – Improve first response time to leads by 5 minutes.
  6. Save your sales reps a lot of time – Automate 5 workflows this quarter.
  7.  Bonus goal: Align your teams – Reduce expenses by eliminating apps from your tech stack by 30%.

How can a CRM do that last one? Well, Insightly CRM is part of a powerful platform that puts your CRM tool in the same suite of products as your marketing automation app and your customer service app. This aligns sales, marketing and customer service teams on a single, powerful platform. You have one platform for three teams, saving time on logins and data sharing, while empowering your teams to get the full picture of each customer. 

Choose Insightly CRM to achieve your strategy

Your CRM strategy will ensure that you get the most out of this critical tool and elevate the customer experience. The steps above will ensure that you are on the path to ROI from your CRM investment.

If you are selecting your CRM, put Insightly on your list and set up a free demo and discover how you can grow your business today.