CRM As A Strategy

Posted on February 3, 2015

Using a CRM to improve your business is a strategy, not just a decision to purchase tool. CRM is a methodology, a process for putting your customer at the center of your business, and other pieces ancillary. Meaning, we understand our customer by knowing where to find them, how to attract them and how to ensure they have a winning experience with us.

As Gartner tells us, a CRM strategy should comprise three sections:

  • Set the destination: The vision of the company and the goals derived from this vision are the intended destination of the CRM strategy. The vision will be heavily dependent on the leadership of the company and on which definition of CRM is used.
  • Audit the current situation: Skills, resources, competitors, partners and, of course, customers all need to be consulted in assessing the starting point.
  • Map the journey: The journey may take many years, and the map will change along the route. It is important to plan for this before starting.

Google defines customer relationship management (CRM) as a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.

As a CRM is mapped out for a customer, we need to think about the processes that occur within their business in order to market (identify prospects), sell (convert prospects into customers), service (handle customer issues), and then run those customers through the cycle again.

In years past, companies would place their ERP, Finance, Project Management or their particular product at the centre of their business. Now, it’s clear that in order to perform with the best, we need to put the customer at the center of our business and there is no better way to do that, than CRM.

Now, instead of ERP or our product being at the center, the CRM must be that center. With the rise of Software as a Service (SAAS), CRM is hub of the wheel, while other pieces of the business are extended off this hub via spokes as apps. ERP, Product, Finance, Project Management are now the outlying ‘tire’ to the CRM’s hub.

Working with so many businesses that have never used a CRM, very similar questions come up during the process we take on with our customers. So often, very few, if any processes have been recorded or documented over the years. The business runs off of the vision and ‘brain’ of a founder or a group of partners and the company has expanded from the ‘day to day’ that those originators started with.

Since these processes are not in place in these situations, we help our customers create documentation during the initial phases of a CRM implementation project. Questions like – How does your company market to prospects? What needs to happen in order for your sales team to win a deal? What happens when that deal has been won? Is an order created? Does a project kick-off? How do you handle service issues?

Once these steps are documented through the process the following actions are next:

Implementation

  • Business Process Review
  • Configuration
  • Data Migration
  • Integration
  • Training

Deployment

  • User Adoption
  • Change Management
  • Maintenance
  • Agile Development

Wondering if your business would benefit from a CRM system? Contact us and we’ll be happy to discuss.

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