Customer Relationship Management

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CRM – A Strategy-First Approach

Even though it doesn’t seems that way these days, Customer Relationship Management, CRM, is definitely not just a software tool. It’s foremost a comprehensive business strategy that focuses on building and maintaining strong customer relationships.

Ever heard that statement before? Yes, of course you have. Even so, the CRM strategy most often becomes an after-thought, easily neglected. We are here to explain why we really think you should turn this around, and start with the CRM strategy and then move on to choosing system and how this is more efficient and valuable.


We know that it may come as a surprise, but one of the major things to strive for when starting a CRM Initiative and embarking on the CRM journey is the objective of getting the entire business customer-centric, some might even strive for customer-obsession.

The thing we emphasize is that the journey should start with the strategy (why, how and what), so that the organization is absolutely crystal clear on where we are going, because it’s a journey of change. CRM as strategy is not a project you implement in a set period of time, it’s an ongoing ever changing business strategy that includes taking change management into account.

You should implement CRM as a business strategy and a supportive system in your business organization, all with the objective of placing the customer at the center of your business operations. It involves understanding customer needs, preferences, and behaviors to tailor products, services, and interactions accordingly. Every process in the business should exist with the customer top of mind, everything else that doesn’t benefit the customer is waste.

CRM System - Enabler

Okay, so we emphasize CRM as a strategy approach. Does that mean we think CRM as a software system is of no use? Definitely not. We believe it’s a very important part of the entire CRM Initiative. As part of the CRM initiative, you might choose to implement a CRM system, and that will be an implementation project. When starting to think about getting a CRM system, remember to take Total Cost of Ownership, TCO, and Return on Investment, ROI, into account directly from the outset.

Data-Driven Decision Making

The CRM system is used to collect customer contact and interaction data, and then you analyze this data to get valuable and actionable insights. In this way you get sufficient information to be able to make informed decisions, such as targeted marketing campaigns, improving your products and services, enhance your customer service etc.


You can also use this customer data to personalize your customer interactions. You can use the data to tailor your communication, offer, and services. In this way you can create a more personalized and engaging experience for each customer.

Sales Force Automation

The absolute most common way for businesses is to implement “a CRM” as a tool for their sales organization to be able to more effectively follow-up their sales efforts. You want to up this game at least a bit. To effectively run a sales organization these days you need proper customer data, well-defined processes and some workflow automation to get things running smoothly and efficient from lead management, sales cycle management, onboarding and keeping happy loyal customers.

You need the system to efficiently help you manage leads, track sales opportunities, and in every way possible streamline the entire sales process. You want to accomplish measureable increased efficiency and, of course, higher conversion rates.

Marketing Automation

The CRM strategy supported by your CRM system should enable you to effectively run your marketing efforts, such as email campaigns, lead scoring, and analytics. The automation helps you in delivering targeted and timely marketing messages. When using this kind of strategy and system you definitely enhances the chances for seamless integration and alignment between Marketing and Sales. Yes, we are fully aware, you still have to make some major efforts in the area of culture to align your Marketing and Sales teams. But you’re running a modern transparent business with excellent leadership, so that’s just a welcomed challenge, right?

Customer Service

Just as the CRM Strategy is supposed to encompass your entire business organization, the same goes for your CRM system. It’s not just for Marketing and Sales. When you bring your Customer Service into the system you shift things up. The system helps you in tracking customer interactions and support processes, which in turn enables you to ensure timely and efficient customer service. The objective is to increase customer satisfaction and as a consequence, higher loyalty.

Customer Retention

Now we’re getting down to one of the main reasons for implementing CRM in your organization, both strategy and system wise. Understanding customer needs and providing personalized experiences are keys to enhance customer loyalty and retention. A major important part of your CRM strategy and system is the ability to identify customers who are at risk of leaving you before they actually do. In this way you have the possibility to change their minds proactively, which is always the preferred way. When you have to put out fires, you have already lost. Your CRM strategy and supporting processes should include procedures to give these at-risk customers some well-needed attention, preferably both in an automatic personalized way and also to be on the safe side, in-person, to retain them.

Cross-Selling and Up-Selling

You should have systems in place to analyze customer buying patterns, so that you’re able to identify opportunities for cross- and up-selling. This will help you maximize revenue from existing customers. You know, one of those essential things actually making CRM relevant for you in the first place, and probably one of the main reasons you’ve ended up reading this stuff.

Collaboration between Departments

As we already touched on above in the section “Marketing Automation”, one of the major things about CRM strategy and system is that it encompasses the entire organization and promotes collaboration between the different departments in your organization. Each and every customer should be One Customer for the entire business and this means that the Silo Thinking has to stop. Remember that the customer contact wants one touchpoint with you. It doesn’t matter which of all your touchpoints the customer choose. Solve the issue for the customer without bouncing the customer around different departments. This kind of customer management requires your organization to be using the same system and having the same data about the customer.

Ongoing support case? Invoicing issue? Whatever the customer interaction is, everyone in your organization should have the information at their screen and fingertips, ready to take appropriate action. Be sure to deliver a unified approach to customer interactions and consistent customer experience.

Continuous Improvement

CRM is an iterative process that involves continuous improvement based on customer feedback and data analysis. To be able to handle this on a daily basis you need a strategy and a flexible supportive system. You should be able to adapt your strategy and processes to changing and different customer needs and market conditions (high and low).

Implementing CRM as a business strategy involves not only deploying the right technology, but also and foremost, fostering a customer-centric culture within the organization. It requires commitment from all levels of the business, starting with C-level supporting the initiative and committing to make the necessary decisions to enable the initiative. Also, remember, it’s a long-term commitment, not a three month project. You have to be prepared to prioritize and invest in building and maintaining strong customer relationships.

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