What Is A CRM Strategy?

What Is A CRM Strategy?

There are many CRM strategies to consider when developing your customer-centric marketing strategy. They range from simple and affordable, to complicated and costly.  

A good place to start is by determining how much time you have available for implementation, what's most important to you (ROI or a more holistic approach?), and at what point in the customer lifecycle do you want the strategy implemented? 

Once this information has been determined, it will be easier for you to choose which CRM strategy is right for you.

When we hear the words' CRM strategy', we're inclined to think about CRM software. But software is only one piece of a much larger puzzle.

There are a number of reasons why your business needs a CRM strategy.

A good CRM strategy will help you:

  • Provide an enjoyable customer experience at all touchpoints of the customer journey
  • Strengthen collaboration between sales, marketing, and customer service teams
  • Clearly and quickly identify the most worthwhile leads and opportunities 
  • Keep track of your leads and customers as they move through the buyer funnel
  • Carry out targeted marketing campaigns 
  • Produce concrete figures and data insights to inform and guide your future business strategies

Why CRM Strategy Is So Important

CRM refers to two distinct yet closely related parts: the type of CRM software a company will use and the individual CRM strategies the business implements to keep customers happy.

It's fair to say that having a solid CRM strategy is more critical than ever before. The CRM market is estimated to reach $114.4 billion by 2027.

There's a good reason for that, too. Breaking it down to its core, CRM is about reducing inefficiencies and improving the conversations you have with your customers.

One of the key benefits of having a CRM strategy is that everything you need for customer communications can be in one place. 

While many companies only focus on marketing messages, they miss out on providing information and updates from other departments such as sales or product development.

This means smoother brand messaging with consistent content no matter what department your customers interact with, even if they don't use those specific features.

This leads to powerful customer bonding, where it becomes far easier for a business to identify a customer's needs and deliver. The better a CRM strategy, the more effective the outcome.

A success story here is Alua, a young hotel chain that heavily focused on putting the customer first.

Its strategy involved integrating CRM software with its hotel booking engine. Over nine months of work, it integrated 120,000 contacts into a single platform.

15 Customer Experience Strategies

There's a customer experience strategy for every business out there. Here are 15 strategies that can help you kickstart your CX journey:

Guess Who? Know Thy Customer

Every customer is different. You've heard this countless times.

How an individual approaches a business is also very different. Each customer has their set of needs, problems, and backgrounds. Personal information, demographic and geographic data, and insight into purchase power can be compiled to curate a holistic buyer persona. This information can be procured with the help of customer data platforms.

It's impossible to create a good customer experience if you don't know your customer's likes and dislikes. Getting your hands on qualitative and quantitative data gives you enough room to work with and produce an excellent experience for your target audience.

Determine Your Business Goals

Understanding your customers is incredibly important. So is understanding your business. This is often mentioned in any strategy listicle, but there's a reason for it. 

Some businesses still struggle to understand what they want to do, how they aim to get there, and what results they're looking to achieve. This goes beyond, "I want to sell a product and make 2x the revenue I made last year." 

As a stakeholder in any business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does our business do?
  • How well-received is our product in the market today?
  • What is our current customer base size? By what percentage did our customer base grow or shrink since last year?
  • How does the business sound to others? Do we fill any gap in the market?
  • Do we need to go in a different direction? If so, will we alienate our existing customers?
  • Do we have the capital to make changes in our product or marketing?

Getting CXOs On Board

This goes for any initiative or strategy implemented within an organization. However, putting your best foot forward in the CX world means getting the upper management's backing on this matter. Everyone needs to be on the same page. It becomes futile if one team has many great ideas, but they don't align with what the higher-ups have in mind. 

Creating a framework and setting it in place helps avoid any chances of miscommunication from both sides. This is where understanding the current business offerings and determining its goals comes in handy, especially when formulating a CX strategy that keeps both parties happy.

Measure the ROI from Delivering a Great Customer Experience

Implementing a CX strategy is great, but it's equally important to see if it truly works.

You know that your business is offering a better customer experience if your results improve. One way of validating this is by seeing the return on investment (ROI) for the CX practices you've executed. Keep a few tangible targets in mind and correlate them to a specific CX goal. If you see an increase in the number of customers, conversions, or just traffic in general, you know you're doing something right.

Envision the Product Story Backward

When companies think of customers, they think of individuals buying the end product. As a result, every CX decision revolves around the final product. However, take a step back and look at how the overall journey fares. If the destination is the product, what does the customer's journey to reach that point look like? 

Enter customer journey mapping.

A customer journey is the sum of several touchpoints. No matter how well-thought-out a particular touchpoint, if the overall journey is weak, the probability of a customer completing the journey will also be weak. Customer drop-offs are the result of poor experiences in one or more touchpoints. This is where customer journey mapping helps. Customer journey mapping aids businesses in understanding how a user would move across different channels. 

With a journey map, CX experts can visualize every step of a customer's journey. This puts them directly in the shoes of a consumer and anticipates which stages of the process could be unconducive to movement. For example, situations like a form with too many fields or a queue that takes too long to move are incidents that can be predicted with the help of a customer journey map and subsequently avoided or optimized to prevent such an occurrence.

Customer journey analytics assesses how a customer engages with a business within a customer journey. It provides a comprehensive view of every customer interaction across separate channels and helps detect pain points from a customer's point of view.

Taking Feedback: Actively Listen to Your Customers

If customers aren't happy with something, they'll tell you.

The number of insights businesses can get from their customer base is enormous. Consumers interact with a product more intimately than the product team that configures the platform as the end-user. This means that customers end up seeing a lot more than a vendor would. As a result, every little detail about the product, its shortcomings, and what makes it better than other variants in the market are factors that customers observe and possess information about. 

Customers are quite vocal too. They're the ones spending money on your product. It's only likely that they have something to say about their investment. With any investment, a person wants to see things improve over time. These suggestions and complaints are given in the form of feedback to the company. Gathering all this feedback in the form of reviews, surveys, or even in the form of goodwill can help businesses look at their current offerings in a new light.

With any stable relationship, someone needs to listen. That's where businesses can step up to maintain a good relationship with their customers.

Competitor Analysis: Size Up the Competition

There should be an FAQ section for competitors. 

Throughout the lifetime of any company worth its salt, there will be competitors along the way that'll only continue to grow in number. In an already crowded market, there isn't much room for error. Businesses look toward their counterparts to see what they're doing differently and take inspiration from them. Knowing what gaps that other vendors aren't filling in the market gives businesses a competitive advantage.

Conducting a robust competitive analysis gives information on competitors, a feel of what the market looks like, and what trends have taken over the industry.

Conflict Resolution: Where's The Help Desk When You Need One?

Even the best-laid plans have their share of hiccups. 

There's a reason why amusement parks have help desks at every corner, even though visitors are also supplied with maps, informational brochures, and clear signages. Assuming that the customer is smart enough to "figure it out" or that your process is fail-proof is a dangerous assumption to make. 

No matter how well-thought-out your journey may be, no business can factor in all the possible external variables. There's bound to be some conflict that requires troubleshooting. It helps to have a guide or a little help whenever needed. Helplines, customer support teams, and AI-powered chatbots act as tour guides for the lost and uninformed. 

A great customer experience has timely conflict resolution. No one likes hearing "Your call is important to us" looping for several minutes. Not only does this frustrate a user, but it also gives the impression that their issue doesn't mean much for the business. On the other hand, hearing a customer out and helping them escape a sticky situation makes them feel valued. 

Improve Your Customer Service Experience

We've established that customer service is different from customer experience. However, good customer service plays a crucial role in providing a good customer experience. For example, it doesn't matter if the food tastes good or not if the staff serving the customer doesn't even serve the meal on time in a restaurant.

Customer service doesn't offer consumers anything tangible. The customers like to believe that they're paying for quality service. Good customer service isn't very complex; it's just timely assistance with no strings attached. 

Being attentive to customers' needs and addressing them as swiftly as possible gives any business a gold star for customer service. It's a simple strategy that goes a long way in improving customer satisfaction and experience.

Stand Out From The Crowd With Your Brand Personality

"We're a company that solves this issue through our new-age, digital-first tech platform."

Now, where have we heard that before?

Here's a great piece of copywriting advice. When you talk about the features of your product and replace it with your competitor's product name, does it fit?

If it does, you're in trouble. You risk sounding exactly like another company.

It's a crowded market out there, and most businesses aim to tackle similar problems with their solutions. However, it gets hard to stand out when all that can be said about your company is already another company's website content. 

So how do you distinguish twins from each other? By their personality.

If someone asks you what's the point of branding, this is it. Brand recall is what differentiates an iPhone from other cell phones. 

Taking a long hard look at what makes your company unique is a great way to build a brand identity that customers can associate with. This impacts CX as the customer expectations change according to how they perceive a brand. 

How your product is priced, the features it offers, and the reputation it holds within the market can all be justified by brand perception and your core personality.

Automate Tasks With Ai

What is considered fast today could be made even faster tomorrow. 

Selling a platform said to reduce turnaround time (TAT) that takes customers several days just to hit the checkout button or get an issue resolved is just ironic. 

Consumers don't like to be kept waiting. And why would they? When AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) are set to solve problems and products are marketed to be quicker than the others, customers expect speed during the journey as well. 

Businesses should consider using AI to automate pivotal tasks within a customer journey and respond to service requests. 

Digital self-service allows companies to provide online support to customers without involving any interaction with a company representative. Auto-responses to inquiries allow your customer support team to tackle bigger issues rather than spend precious time addressing straightforward situations. 

Are You A Bot? Creating A Human Experience

AI automation is truly a godsend. But it still can't beat human intervention. There's something different about talking to an actual person as opposed to a series of automated replies. 

There's a reason why helplines are still a thing in today's world. For the most part, automation eradicates obstacles and takes less time than if a human were assigned to tackle every task. However, some customers may have specifically unique requests or questions that an FAQ page or a chatbot may not be able to answer. 

Personalizing interactions with customers comforts them, knowing that their requests aren't going to be buried in a sea of automated responses. Sometimes automation isn't always faster than the good old manual intervention. Human experience, at its core, is built on emotional connections. Technology aims to solve a problem, but emotion is what drives that problem. 

This was predominantly seen during the pandemic. During such a crisis, an automated response seems cold, mechanical, and uncaring. However, when customers can't pay for the monthly subscription of a product due to unavoidable circumstances, businesses that were more understanding offered discounts or postponed payments until further notice. 

This is where human connection and common sense prevail and come in handy for situations that can't otherwise be predicted and accounted for by a system. Human experience aids in customer relationship management and helps create a loyal customer base.

Speak In Your Customer's Language

It's not just automation either; nothing turns customers off than having to sit and listen to a formulaic sales pitch that's been reused several times. 

Users don't care about how many modules or platforms you offer. Instead, they care about solving their pain point as quickly as possible. 

Beating around the bush by droning on about case studies that aren't even relevant to the industry or solution a customer is looking for is counterintuitive and wastes everybody's time. Similarly, using technical jargon with a customer whose line of work doesn't involve working directly with technology will only confuse them. 

It doesn't make your business sound smart. It just makes it seem too complex for what a customer feels is a very simple problem statement.

Observe what kind of words decision-makers use when they talk about their problem or their line of work. For example, artists want to paint with a good colour payoff. Start yammering about the composition of each colour pigment, and they'll go ahead and buy a standard set of acrylic paints somewhere else. 

Adopt An Omnichannel Strategy

The world is interconnected with online channels. Customers interact with businesses through multichannels. 

Most businesses have now realized the importance of offering a mobile experience in addition to a desktop experience. But omnichannel experiences are a little more nuanced than that.

Customer touchpoints aren't limited to the typical journey that takes place from a website and ends at the checkout stage. 

The entry and exit points can occur at any segment within the journey. Whether customers begin their journey from an email campaign, an ad campaign, a search engine, or even social media, their onboarding and offboarding must be seamless. 

Your process cannot be easier from one source and difficult from another. If you had two entrances in your house, but a tree blocked one, you might as well say that you have one entrance only. 

Don't risk making any potential source redundant only because it wasn't planned better to accommodate customer movement. 

Good User Experience Equals Great Customer Experience.

User experience (UX) isn't the same as customer experience (CX) but directly impacts customer experience. 

UX represents the sum total of a user's emotional and cognitive experience after visiting a company's website or app. It's centred around digital interactions while maintaining a consistent feel across all touchpoints within a journey. With most interactions occurring on a digital platform these days, optimizing UX improves the digital customer experience.

Slow loading times, unclear navigation across a website, long forms, and unusual dashboard layouts are just a few examples of bad UX. This, in turn, affects how a customer's overall experience fares. Often a customer might drop off feeling frustrated and confused.

It isn't just our attention spans that have dwindled. Our tolerance levels for disruptions have also reduced over the years. If something's not getting customers faster to their final destination, it has to go.

Frequently Asked Questions

By intelligently storing and managing your customers' data, a CRM system increases lead volume, helping your marketing team find new customers faster. It supports your sales teams in closing more deals faster. It also enhances customer service.

A CRM tool lets you store customer and prospect contact information, identify sales opportunities, record service issues, and manage marketing campaigns, all in one central location — and make information about every customer interaction available to anyone at your company who might need it.

Definition. CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM is a combination of strategy and technology to build and improve business relationships with customers. The CRM system goals are threefold- to acquire and nurture leads, increase sales conversion, and improve customer satisfaction and retention.

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