How to craft a CRM strategy for your business.

Building a successful CRM system isn’t just about choosing the right technology. You also need the right CRM strategy in place from a business perspective. Here are seven steps to build a winning plan:

1. Define your vision.

Successful sales leaders know the value of having a clear, repeatable, action-oriented vision that your team can rally around. It can be many things, from becoming market leader for sales in your region, to redefining customer service within your industry. Make your vision both aspirational enough to have an impact, and clear enough that the entire organization can understand it.

2. Define your strategy.

Strategy is what makes your vision achievable. Say you want to be a market leader for sales. Do you do this by competing on price, or by offering different products, or by emphasizing your great after-sales service? It's critical to plan your method for reaching your goals. 

3. Define your business objectives.

Business objectives are where vision and strategy get translated into day-to-day work. A common mistake when implementing a new CRM system is to replicate in it all the old business objectives and processes, complete with their inefficiencies. Instead, view your implementation as an opportunity to review and optimize how you work.

4. Get your team on board.

Executive sponsorship is vital for your overall vision, CRM strategy, and business objectives — for a successful rollout. A lack of executive sponsorship is one of the top five factors contributing to CRM failure.

5. Identify the metrics.

“You can’t manage what you can’t measure” is an adage attributed to many business thinkers. Metrics should be visible to everyone, and this means creating dashboards for all levels of the organization, from sales reps and managers, to the executive team.

6. Prioritize your initiatives.

You’re not going to get everything done at once, so decide what’s most important to deliver first. Training is often the priority, so everyone is ready to use the new CRM system as soon as it is available.

7. Define your roadmap.

You shouldn’t look at building an effective CRM system as a “big bang” event. Yes, a successful rollout is vital, but being able to deliver enhancements and new features after you go live is equally important. Plan beyond launch day and consider what other capabilities you need to deliver for the business. 

Ready to put your strategy in action?