You may be launching a new business soon. Perhaps you already have a thriving or struggling company. Either way, you’re curious about starting to look at tools that will help you manage customer relationships. When, in the lifespan of your business, is it best to try out CRM planning and implementation?
First, let’s take a look at what CRM entails. At some point, all businesses should have a strategy in place to guide how they will connect with customers, both existing and those that will surface in the future. This is their CRM plan. During the planning phase, a company looks at who their target market is, what the typical behaviors are, and what tools they should be using to best appeal to their market. As with all business-related strategies, these need to stay open for scheduled evaluations and be altered as needed. A great piece of advice is to make sure that the entire organization is briefed when a new or modified plan is executed.
So, when is the right time to start planning your Customer Relationship Management? No matter what point you are at in your business, the answer to the posed question is, “now.” Even if you haven’t launched your products or services to the public, having a great CRM plan involving the five key cross-functional processes is vital. If you’re already in business, CRM is only going to benefit your sales. Here’s what you need to consider today.
Strategy Development Techniques
What means are you going to use to create your strategy? This is just as important, in CRM, as the plan itself. You should have an idea what kind of information you will need. What target demographics are important to your strategy? Where are you going to compile your information from? How are you going to organize this information? Who is delegated to which tasks? When is the deadline for completion? Ask yourself these questions, and make the appropriate connections before you dive into the planning. A department meeting is a good way to brainstorm and make sure you are going to have all bases covered.
Once you have a good outline of the strategy, you and your team can start researching. You will want to compile as much information as you can about your prospective or current clients/ customers, depending on the maturity of your business. The goal is to see their spending habits and any needs or problems they have that you might solve.
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Value Creation Methods
Now that you have all of the important details in front of you, it’s time to take a look at providing value to your consumers. First of all, you must stand out from the crowd. You must also solve the problems and fill the needs of your target market. What are their issues and how can your customer service efficiently help them?
For example, out of a sample of 100 people, 60 of them said that not being able to call a company after 5:00 pm, EST was hindering their likelihood of ordering products like yours. Currently, you have no after-hours call center. You can provide value by opening the telephone lines for extended hours and/ or directing after-hours calls to an answering service asking callers to visit a website where they can potentially see a list of frequently asked questions or start a live chat with an agent. By coming up with a viable solution to a real problem, you create value. Your CRM strategy is going to basically be a series of value creation tactics with your clients and customers in mind.
The Importance of Multichannel Integration
Integrating multiple channels of customer relationship tools into your plan is key. Email marketing, customer service, lead funneling, and all other CRM functions are each a working part of a larger whole. If your strategy involves simply having a shoddy contact form on your website to which you respond to inquiries within a couple of days, chances are you plan needs more work. Decide which tools you will be using and how you can digitally integrate these tools with one another for the best user experience. Automate what you can, and let your tools work for you and your customers.
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Information Management Considerations
This is where you will want to start tracking the effectiveness of your CRM plan. There should be a section in the strategy itself outlining a timeline and what you will be tracking. Do you need to know who is opening your emails, how much revenue you’re bringing in, the performance of your salespeople? These are some of the things you will need to consider in the information management portion of your strategy.
If you look at Amazon.com, you will see that the website is booming as one of the largest online retailers on the planet. They got this way by maintaining the highest standards for customers. They continuously recycle energy into CRM planning and implementation with the customer in mind. The final portion of your planning will go into assessing the performance of your current plan, and making changes. Again, you will want to brief your entire organization when changes are made to any of your company’s strategies. This is no exception.
It is essential to always leave room for improvement in your relationships with customers. When you make mistakes, quickly find a solution and move forward. The important part is that you start nurturing the relationships you have with your customers, starting today. As you experience growth within your organization, you can be grateful for giving appropriate attention to the CRM portion of your company structure.
Related: Old vs. New CRM