Create a CRM strategy in 6 steps (with examples)

Retrato de contribuidores da equipe AsanaTeam Asana26 de julho de 20226 minutos de leitura
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Summary

A CRM strategy is a company-wide plan to increase revenue and improve customer relationships using specific actions and technology. In this piece, we teach you how to build a CRM strategy with the use of CRM software. CRM software helps teams turn strategy into action by consolidating data. It also helps teams improve existing CRM strategies to better meet customer needs.

In business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, the buyer journey is paramount. Happy customers are loyal to brands they love. So whether you’re in charge of sales, marketing, or customer service, your business processes should focus on customer needs.

To build that loyalty, you need an effective customer relationship management (CRM) strategy. One way to develop a strong CRM strategy is to create a sales funnel and use customer data to improve your funnel. 

This cyclical process increases customer retention while keeping potential leads front of mind. Whether you’re starting a new business or you’re an established company wanting to develop a CRM strategy for a new initiative, this piece will teach you how to build a CRM strategy from the ground up so you can set and reach your business goals

What is a CRM strategy?

A CRM strategy is a company-wide plan to increase revenue and improve customer relationships using specific actions and technology. CRM software helps your team turn strategy into action by consolidating data and by giving you insight into your customer’s online behavior.

[inline illustration] CRM system (infographic)

An effective CRM strategy has various touchpoints that each target customers in their own unique way. The touchpoints you create should lead your potential prospects down the sales pipeline. Touchpoints may include:

  • Online shopping

  • Email sign-up form

  • Social media platforms

  • Customer service chat portal

These predetermined touchpoints lead potential customers through your website and direct them toward a product to purchase. Combined with CRM software and data from your website, you can use this information to analyze customer behavior and create additional touchpoints that better serve buyer needs.

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6 steps to build a CRM strategy

When you build a CRM strategy from the ground up, your CRM software won’t have data from past funnels to report. However, you can use market research and some old-fashioned critical thinking to help build your customer base.

1. Define your business goals

When you have clear business goals, you’ll have an easier time building your CRM strategy. Without goals in place, any CRM strategy you create will likely struggle to point your customers in the right direction. 

For example, if one of your business goals is to double sales next quarter, you can use your CRM strategy to answer the following questions:

  • What will doubling our sales require?

  • What must we do to increase our customer base?

  • What must we do to keep current customers coming back?

  • Can we get current customers to refer their friends?

Tip: You may have sales goals that don’t involve customers. For example, you may be able to double your sales next quarter by improving your product or revamping the backend of your website. But remember that CRM strategy is a customer-centric methodology.

Read: Sales and operations planning (S&OP): A project manager’s guide

2. Outline the customer journey

The best way to ensure customer satisfaction is to understand who your target market is. This is called a buyer persona, and there is typically more than one of them. Each different type of customer should have their own persona. Then, you can use this information to further customize your sales funnel.

To identify your ideal persona(s), use market research to analyze who has bought your products—and your competitors’ products—in the past. Collect metrics like age, gender, race, location, level of technology use, preferred social media platform, and socioeconomic status to map specific touchpoints for every customer. All of this information, together, makes up the ideal customer(s) you’re selling to.

[inline illustration] Buyer persona (example)

Once you identify who your ideal buyer is, you can use their demographic information to figure out where they spend their time online. For example, which social media apps do they use most frequently? How do they relate to brands online? Understanding their online habits can help you identify where and how to connect with them.

Tip: With buyer persona charts, you’ll create an in-depth profile of a potential customer. It’s important to get detailed with each customer profile so you can put yourself in their shoes and find ways to guide them through their sales journey. But keep in mind that each persona represents an entire group of people you intend to target. 

3. Map the sales pipeline

Once you know who your target market is, you can create your initial touchpoints—or the first moments of customer engagement. Align your sales pipeline with your CRM strategy so you can visualize where to take action when things go awry. 

Common sales pipeline stages include:

  1. Lead generation

  2. Lead qualification

  3. Initial contact

  4. Making an offer

  5. Negotiation

  6. Closing the deal

[inline illustration] CRM strategy vs. sales pipeline (infographic)

For example, if metrics from your CRM software show that you have both a high number of website visitors and a high bounce rate, this means prospects are coming to your website, but they’re leaving before making a purchase. By comparing that to your sales pipeline, you can see that you have a problem somewhere between initial contact and closing the deal. 

Tip: Your CRM strategy is a more refined version of a traditional sales funnel. Both the traditional sales funnel and your CRM strategy aim to attract and convert prospects, but your CRM strategy improves upon the traditional sales funnel by considering your customer’s specific interests and needs. 

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4. Organize your internal processes

To execute your CRM strategy, your team members must understand and know how to manage CRM technology. CRM software can help team members in customer service, sales, and marketing reach departmental goals such as:

  • Increasing lead generation

  • Reducing bounce rate

  • Improving customer retention

  • Revamping marketing plans

CRM software can also streamline data across departments, which provides a comprehensive view of your customer base and promotes cross-functional collaboration.

Tip: Have your team members set SMART goals that align with your CRM strategy. By setting measurable and time-bound goals, you can track the progress of each goal against the metrics in your CRM software. For example, if a sales team member’s goal is to generate 20 leads per month in the next quarter, the CRM tool will show how close they are to achieving this goal. 

5. Define CRM components

Defining and organizing your CRM components means getting specific with who you plan to target and when.  By using a CRM software, you can organize potential customers into categories like contacts, leads, prospects, and opportunities.

  • Contact: Someone you’ve previously done business with.

  • Lead: Someone you haven’t worked with but could have business potential.

  • Prospect: Someone who fits your target market and has the power to initiate a purchase. 

  • Opportunity: A prospect who has shown interest in your product and is ready to make a purchase.

Once you’ve grown a list of contacts through social media, an email list, or an e-commerce platform, your CRM software will pull those contacts in and identify which category to place them in. 

Tip: Depending on the CRM tool you use, your team may also benefit from more specific contact categories. Nurtured leads are people that fit your target market but haven’t yet shown intent to purchase. Marketing qualified leads (MQL) are people that have shown some level of intent to purchase. Sales qualified leads (SQL) are people that the sales team are actively trying to convert to customers.  

6. Invest in CRM software

CRM software keeps your sales pipeline flowing as current customers cycle through it and new customers flow in. Your CRM tool should integrate across various platforms so you can intake analytics information—from your website or email management tools—and export next steps to create the best customer journey possible. 

In particular, the right CRM software should integrate with your project management software. That way, team members from all silos can use updated customer information in daily project decision-making.

Tip: The customer journey doesn’t stop with the sales team, and your technology shouldn’t, either. That’s why Asana’s work management tool offers robust, cross-platform integrations with the best CRM softwares like Salesforce, Zendesk, and Hubspot. When you combine Asana for work management with your favorite CRM tool, team members across all teams have a clear idea of what they need to do to close deals and keep customers satisfied beyond their purchase. 

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CRM strategy examples

CRM software provides you with insights on how to better serve your customers. Depending on your product offerings and target audience, you may notice that the people you want to reach get most of their information from blog posts. Or maybe they spend a lot of their time on social media. 

You can improve your marketing tactics for both new and existing customers by using these insights to your advantage. Consider these examples of different CRM strategies 

Value-added content

People use Google as a first resort to answer questions and search for product offerings. If your site ranks at the top of Google for a specific keyword or question, then users are more likely to visit your website. The best way to rank on Google is to create valuable, SEO optimized content that’s relevant to your product. Consider writing content for people in various stages of their sales journey to move them through the sales pipeline. 

For example, some people may not be ready to buy your product, but they’ll have relevant questions you can answer. Others may want to know more about the differences between products, which means they’re further along in their sales journey and are closer to making a purchase.

Loyalty and rewards programs

Customer loyalty and rewards programs keep first-time buyers coming back. You can customize one of these programs to your product by offering discounts, gifts, or other bonuses as incentives for them to make purchases and refer their friends. 

Consider airline companies with complex loyalty programs that offer miles on credit card purchases, discounted flights, and priority boarding. These perks keep passengers dedicated to one airline even if other airlines will occasionally offer them better rates.

Level up your customer experience with CRM software

When you make customer satisfaction a top priority, you can increase your chances of profit growth and secure a long-term spot in the market. Customer relationships are more important than individual purchases because building trust leads to invaluable name recognition and lead generation.

CRM software levels up your customer experience by helping you keep track of different customers and their needs. It’s difficult to make customer support feel personal, but when you use sales management software, your team members gain perspective and can make every customer feel supported.

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