10 Steps to Develop a Winning CRM Strategy for Growth!

November 27, 2019 9 min read

Gaetano DiNardi

Gaetano DiNardi

How to Create a CRM Strategy - Featured Image

Why do you need a solid CRM strategy to dominate your niche?
The right CRM strategy helps you convert leads, boost sales, and skyrocket growth.
Consumers have many options, and you need to compete to win over customers and operate your business effectively.
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about crafting a solid CRM strategy.

  1. Define Your Goals
  2. Find and Record Your Baseline
  3. Fine-Tune Your Customer Segments
  4. Document Your Customer Journey
  5. Put All the Pieces Together
  6. Create Your CRM Strategy
  7. Find the Best CRM Software
  8. Share Your Strategy With Your Team and Launch It
  9. Make Adjustments and Create SOPs
  10. Review & Revise Your CRM Strategy

Let’s start with an understanding of the basics and why this all matters.

What is a CRM Strategy, And Do You Need One?

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, primarily describes the software that houses your sales and customer data. You can integrate other tools with your CRM, for example, your VoIP phone system, and create more robust customer profiles.

Although, anyone can get CRM software. It’s what you do with it that matters. This is where a CRM strategy comes into play.
A CRM strategy encompasses your ability to leverage your CRM software with customer and prospect data to achieve business outcomes.
The key ingredient found in many successful CRM strategies often includes aligning multiple customer-facing teams to use one platform.
A CRM strategy helps your business:

  • Streamline and scale your sales process. Many businesses use subscription-based software to manage their sales pipeline, work leads, and ultimately close sales.
  • Provide excellent customer service. Many organizations use a centralized CRM to equip their customer service team with real-time business information to help customers.
  • Boost customer retention rates and brand loyalty. Enhance your customer experience and customer support, and you’ll have customers for life.
  • Make data-driven decisions. Set goals, check progress, and forecast with efficiency using your collected data.

All these benefits make CRM the perfect platform to grow your business and increase your bottom line. Increased sales? Better service? Faster workflow? Yes, please!
So, how do you build an effective CRM strategy if you’ve never done it before?
Related: Operational CRM: What is It & How Do Businesses Use It to Grow

10 Steps to Develop a CRM Strategy For The Future

Follow the steps below, and you will have the perfect plan to implement your CRM.

1) Define Your Goals

Every successful CRM strategy begins with clear goals and objectives.
Sure, every business wants to increase sales and customer satisfaction. But you need to get more specific.
Pull out your business plan and see which goals overlap with those you can meet with an operational CRM strategy.

Related: Digital Transformation Is Over: The Digital Normal Is Already Here!
Establish your goals using the SMART goal methodology so you can stay accountable and clear on what success looks like.
To get started, answer these questions:

What’s The Future of Your Company?

Picture the state of your business in the next two, five, and ten years.
What does your business look like in the future? How does it differ from where your business is today? You’ll likely need to develop repeatable and scalable processes to get there.

What Do You Need to Overcome Right Now to Be Successful?

With your company’s future in mind, examine your current reality. What needs to change to evolve your business to meet your goals?

  • Do you need more new customers?
  • Or, are you struggling to keep customers or move away from the bad ones?
  • Are you capitalizing on steady sales and customer growth?

Jot down all the roadblocks in the way of your business goals. You don’t have to have all the answers, but writing them down helps with planning your CRM strategy.

2) Find and Record Your Baseline

How do your current business metrics stack up to the goals set in the first step?
To gauge the success of your CRM initiative, you must establish a baseline to improve.
So go through your customer data and record all the metrics related to your goals.

Want to attract more customers? Identify how many customers your business gains each week. Inspect their lead sources and evaluate the conversion rates by lead source.
Need to fix a disjointed customer journey? You’ll need to understand bottlenecks where customers or team members are getting stuck. Document every interaction throughout your customer journey.
You’ll monitor these key performance indicators (KPIs) often. They’ll show whether your efforts are working. Detailed documentation helps you spot areas ripe for more strategic discussion.
At this point, you should identify your customer segments, which steers many elements of your CRM strategy.

3) Fine-Tune Your Customer Segments

Segmenting your customers allows you to craft ultra-targeted messages that connect. And you can track their impact in real time.
Let’s say your business caters exclusively to women.
You can segment your customer base into different, more specific subcategories, such as:

  1. Working women without kids
  2. Working women with kids
  3. Stay-at-home moms
  4. Empty nesters

Each group has a unique situation that influences its decisions. And that means each group requires a different message if they’re going to convert.
As you fine-tune these cohorts, you’ll also want to separate the data collected for each group. You can analyze each segment and make specific tweaks instead of scrapping everything.
Understanding your buyer personas is crucial for navigating their customer journey.

4) Document Your Customer Journey

Besides diving into your data, you’ll also want to go through your sales process as if you were a new customer. This prospect-to-customer experience is known as a customer journey.
It’s vital to see what customers experience, including every call, email, text, website visit, and action they take.
If you want to decrease your churn rate, for instance, you need to know what’s causing people to jump ship.
In reality, your customer experience may not be the sunshine and rainbows you think it is. It could be quite terrible.
That’s why you must go through the entire customer experience—from start to finish—for yourself.
When you put yourself in your customer’s shoes, you’ll know right away what your team should be doing better. Then you can identify issues in your sales cycle and build solutions to address them.

Related: What are the three types of CRMs? Find out!

Develop Customer Journeys For Each Buyer Persona

Have more than one buyer persona or many customer segments?
Articulate the optimal path each buyer should follow to achieve their goals. This understanding could be in the form of a flowchart, a process map, or an epic customer story.
You’ll need a thorough understanding of your sales process from every perspective. It’s likely that what works for one group may not work quite as well for another.

5) Put All the Pieces Together

Now it’s time to pull out all the relevant information from your research to identify areas you want to improve.
Create a spreadsheet to compare your current data with your future goals. You should have metrics such as new customers/week, abandoned carts, churn, etc.
Add all the notable issues you stumbled upon during your customer journeys too.
Put all the pieces together and you should have a list of issues to address with a CRM strategy.
These actionable steps will become your CRM strategy’s main points of focus.

6) Create Your CRM Strategy

Consider your CRM strategy as a roadmap for reaching your business goals using your CRM software.
Highlight benchmarks and hiccups in your customer journeys. Explain how a CRM will correct them, both internally and externally.
It’ll take more than a great plan and the best CRM software to win. You’ll need resources: talent, time, and money. Like a three-legged stool, without these, your strategy may falter.
If you’re the primary decision-maker, then great, you can move forward. Otherwise, it’s is critical you gain buy-in from influential executives to understand your vision and how to get there.
Failure to get consensus from company leaders might result in political posturing and resistance that could blow up your CRM implementation.

7) Find the Best CRM Software

Legitimately, there are hundreds of CRM apps, and it’s challenging to select the right one for you. To ace your CRM strategy, you need a platform that keeps up.
Some CRM solutions act as a back-end for business operations, requiring you to purchase and integrate add-ons. This approach can wreck your budget, and you’ll end up with a complicated experience for employees. Half-baked integrations often sour the strategic benefits of using CRM.
Instead of finding a basket of separate apps that might work together, opt for a scalable business platform that works from day one.
The best CRM software enables you to:

CRM Software Must-Haves

Besides being the right fit for your goals, CRM software should let your team:

  1. Manage contacts and accounts in one location, so you never lose a customer again. These features help sales teams work together and close more sales.
  2. See customer interactions in one consolidated view. You’ll have a better idea of what they want before they ask.
  3. Use customer satisfaction surveys for unbiased feedback. Fix issues and uncover your happiest customers so you can find more just like them.
  4. Use multi-channel outreach. Your team can message customers using their preferred method for higher engagement: phone, email, text, website, or in-person.
  5. Analyze data in real-time so you can make better decisions faster.

Compare your options and choose a CRM solution that checks these boxes. Take a few days to familiarize yourself with the software first. Then prepare to launch your strategy.

8) Share Your Strategy With Your Team and Launch It

The data management in CRM software allows each department to work together. Sales, marketing, and customer service will work as one cohesive unit instead of in silos.
To get your team on board, emphasize how a CRM system benefits team members in:

  • Customer service. Streamline customer interactions to handle issues better. Increase customer retention and customer loyalty.
  • Marketing. Targeted messages lead to higher engagement rates. Delivering value to your audience over digital channels becomes more efficient.
  • Sales. Improve customer acquisition at every touchpoint to convert more. Monitor follow-ups with a centralized platform.

CRM implementation can be a tricky area of the process to master because many people don’t like change.

How to Launch Your CRM Strategy

A CRM strategy gives your business strategy a customer-centric approach to growth. It doesn’t have to happen overnight.
Roll out this new process over a few weeks instead of all at once.
You may want to create a schedule to train your team in one area of the CRM at a time. You’ll be able to cover everything without overwhelming them.
Another approach is to train the trainers and task an SME from each department for hands-on, dedicated learning about the CRM so they can teach their teams, respectively.
After a few weeks, everyone will feel comfortable with the new business processes. And you’ll start collecting valuable data to get closer to reaching your goals.

9) Make Adjustments and Create SOPs

Like your marketing strategies, you can’t leave your CRM strategy on autopilot.
Review your analytics, KPIs, and other important customer health metrics often. Watch how your data changes from baseline to your new stats.
Use your data moving forward to make better decisions and prioritize upcoming projects.
You’ll need to update your strategy once you know what works and (eventually) reach your goals.

Documentation From Day One: SOPs

Following your CRM launch, you should provide and maintain extensive documentation on standard operating procedures (SOPs).
SOPs provide instructions for how authorized staff can make changes to critical business data and functions within your CRM. This effort allows for faster onboarding for new employees.
You want your CRM strategy to endure beyond the launch; SOPs keep you accountable no matter who manages your CRM.

10) Review & Revise Your CRM Strategy

Evaluate your past performance and plans at least twice every year. Not everything can be solved with a CRM, but your strategy behind it should remain.
You’ll have KPIs and historical data to spot trends and patterns. You should incorporate all these into your strategy. Gather your customer service experts to chime in on their observations and the gameplan.
Ask for feedback from your team about the process. Solicit feedback from users to find out how you can improve their workflow. Pilot new ideas before deploying them for everyone.
This surefire strategy will boost sales and increase customer growth and engagement in your company.

Create Your CRM Strategy

Follow these ten steps for developing a winning CRM strategy today. You’ll make your sales process frictionless and easier for everyone.
There’s a lot that goes into a CRM strategy. If you invest in establishing your business goals upfront, it will pay off later when implementing your CRM.
Selecting the best CRM software is a breeze when you have a strategy fully baked and ready to go.

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Gaetano DiNardi


Gaetano DiNardi

Gaetano DiNardi led demand generation at Nextiva and has a track record of success working with brands like Major League Baseball, Pipedrive, Sales Hacker, and Outreach.io. Outside of marketing, Gaetano is an accomplished music producer and songwriter. He’s worked with major artists like Fat Joe, Shaggy, and loves making music to stay turbocharged.

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