How To Build a Successful CRM System For Your Business

Business Customer CRM Management Analysis Service Concept

What is the essence of CRM?

When we think of CRM it is a common phrase used in business.  You will see a lot of information on the greatest tech used today.  People talk about putting the tech together for you or getting the best deal.  Even how to implement this technology in your business.  As great as that all is to have a wide range of opportunities and processes.  I believe what is missing in these circles of conversations is what CRM really is.

CRM is a term that means Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  What that really means to you and how you develop this in your business can make an impact on your sales and your operations.  The principle is this “If you’re my customer and I get you to talk to me, and I remember what you tell me, then I get smarter and smarter about you. I know something about you my competitors don’t know. So I can do things for you my competitors can’t do, because they don’t know you as well as I do. Before long, you can get something from me you can’t get anywhere else, for any price. At the very least, you’d have to start all over somewhere else, but starting over is more costly than staying with me, so long as you like me and trust me to look out for your best interests.” John Wiley & Sons (2016) Pg 1

When you understand your customers then it will improve your business.  When you look at what entanglement is “it occurs when groups of particles interact in such a way that the state of each particle cannot be described independently of the others.” (James Lamagna, 2016).  When you understand one part it will improve the knowledge of another part.

When it comes to CRM and building a strategy it is best to think of all your strategies of your business to work holistically together not separate from one another.  Content strategy, website strategy, etc are all part of your business strategy.  Independent strategies improve your business strategy as a whole. (James Lamagna, 2016) To create a CRM system in your business that will be effective you need to look at every part of your business.  They all feed into the business strategy.  Where do you start?  How do you know what strategy will be most effective?  How do you know you are starting in the right place?  When you sit down to plan your next strategy remember it is a map for putting all the pieces together.  The strategy is all about making the business better for the customer or client

Think about it for a minute.  Customers are the business’s source of revenue.  The customer base is the most valuable financial asset a business has.  Creating a strategy and using technology to recognize, measure and manage relationship with each of those customers individually, and improve their experiences with our business.   A forward-thinking business will focus on increasing the value of the customer base.

Customer strategy is not just a task given to a department in a business, it is an ongoing effort.  Businesses manage their customer experiences and relationships effectively to remain competitive. Using technology is to help businesses manage the customers relationships more effectively and create better customers experiences. I will do my best to help you understand the essence of CRM, customer strategy and how to apply it to your  business. John Wiley & Sons (2016) Pg 3.

Once you get rid of all the activities that keep everybody busy every day, the goal of the business is simple:  To get, keep and grow customers.  This is true for any profit, non-profit, agency, university or institution.  What this means is that you need to use strategies that require new technology, a focus on growing the value of a company by growing the value of the customer base.  Customer relationship management means different things to different people.  Some see it as the technology that tracks customer information to provide better customer service, others think of it as a one to one marketing discipline.  Some think of it as a personalized email. John Wiley & Sons (2016) Pg 5

What I see it means is optimizing the value of each customer experience and managing the customers experience. It is about increasing the value of the company through specific customer strategies.  Increasing customer focus while increasing revenues and profits currently and in the long run.  The truth is that becoming a customer-strategy enterprise is about using information to gain competitive advantage and deliver growth and profit.  In the simplest form of CRM can be thought of as a set of business practices designed, to put a business closer and in touch with its customers, in order to learn more about each one and to deliver greater and greater value to each one.  While increasing the value of the business. John Wiley & Sons (2016) Pg 6

Copy of Untitled (6)

This picture is inspired from the book Managing Customers Experiences. John Wiley & Sons (2016) Pg 6

Here Are A Few Of The Highlights of the Essence of CRM:

The Power of Moments

We all have defining moments in our lives-meaningful experiences that stand out in our memory.  Many of these moments are from chance.  A lucky encounter, a teacher who spots talent, a realization that you don’t want to spend one more day at your job. Heath (2017).  Must our defining moment just happen to us? Not all moments just happen to us.   Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen.  Why would we want to create defining moments?  To enrich our life and to connect with others.  Our lives are measured in moments and our lives are the ones that endure our memories.  Heath (2017). 

When it comes to CRM understanding the power of moments and creating these defining moments will help you build a powerful CRM system that will propel your business toward growth.  When you can break down each part of your CRM system and look at all the parts and see how all the systems are working together and create the most meaningful moments along the way will make a difference with your customer.   It doesn’t have to be complicate and it doesn’t all have to be for only the customer it can be for your team and those you interact with.  The idea is to elevate experiences and rise above routine.  

Break the script and move past what the expectations of how an experience will unfold.  Moments that break the scripts are critical for organizational change.  How you elevate your customer experience will bring you more customers who want to come back for more.   Can you raise the stakes and go further with your customer or with your process?  Celebrate milestones and create shared meaning.  The moments of insight deliver realizations and transformations.  When creating defining moments in your CRM system it is important to add connection as part of your CRM strategy.  It deepens the ties and improve your customer experience.  Your customer will remember your business, your brand and that experience long after it happened and then they will share that experience with others.  

Moments of connection bond us with others.  To spark this moment of connections especially in groups we must create shared meaning. With time relationships grow closer.  Sometimes long relationships reach plateaus and with the right moment, the relationship can deepen.  What deepens relationships is responsiveness, mutual understanding, validation and caring.  You can create this by just changing the way communicate.  For example, you can listen more, instead of asking what is the matter you can ask what matters to you?  Responsiveness coupled with openness leads to intimacy. 

baby-2416718_1920

Here is a review of some helpful tips when creating powerful moments:

CRM At Work, Putting it all together

Laying the Foundations:

Every organization is built on relationships, it is relationships that drive the success or failure of that group of people and the technology behind them.  The more you understand how these relationships work, and how everyone in your organization influences them, the more efficiently your organization runs and the easier you generate revenue.  For CRM to work in today’s businesses it requires a combination of strategy, practice and software that brings together everything.  Lars.(2017)

Every business is unique, and the way a CRM is used within that business is also unique.  There is no one size fit all for any business unless you are a franchisor and even then, there are variables from franchisee to franchisee.

 

Disorganization in any business leads to missed deadlines, sloppy work, and uniformed managers.  CRM is the cure for these negative effects by creating organization and defining processes, but it doesn’t just happen.  It takes leadership, focus, and dedication to achieve the vision that you set.  Lars.(2017)

It takes an understanding of every piece of your organization to make complete CRM work.  CRM is more that just software it is a mindset.  A good CRM system builds a framework for the information managed in your organization.  Relationships represent the lifeblood of any organization, even those that done outright sell products or services.  The better you can understand and learn from those relationships, the more valuable and efficient you and your organizations are.  

In order to get started with CRM it is a good idea to understand some of the terms associated with CRM and how they are a part of your CRM system.  Content Marketing is all about educating people on how great your product/service is that you are selling.  Your complete CRM is connected to your content marketing pieces.  Every blog, article, e-book, etc would capture the readers contact information so you can follow up with relevant, personalized and targeted messages.  You capture all this information with your CRM and your sales and marketing teams.

Personalized contents mean that you create content specific to the person reading it.  Conversion is what happens when someone does something of value for you.  Data-Driven are actions, decisions driven by data.  The more everyone relies on data to justify decisions, the more accountable and rational those decisions are.  More people have accessibility to more data now than ever.  Understanding what to do with all the data you gather is more important than accumulating mounds of data.  Segmentation means they are looking at smaller subsets of the entire potential market of customers. 

Buyer persona is a characterization of a particular market segment.  Buyer personas are useful in helping you set up your market segments and personalize messages sent through your CRM.  Inbound marketing means taking care of leads when they make the effort to contact you.  Lead nurturing is another phrase you’ll here in marketing circles.  Inbound marketing is about setting up processes to capture those leads and follow them all the way to conversion. 

Customer lifecycle/journey is a term that encapsulates the journey people take from the time when they first hear about you, through their decision to purchase from you, to their consuming your product or service and becoming an advocate for your brand.  A good manager of this lifecycle can track where people are in various phases of engagement and can set up marketing and automation to encourage movement towards conversion.

Sales pipleline/funnel is when your potential customers move through the process of buying something from you, you can place them into categories along their journey.  It is called a pipeline because usually people go through a standardized process from stage to stage.  Funnels on the other hand start with the neck of the funnel getting smaller to represent the exit of potential buyers as they go from stage to stage. 

Opportunities represents a change for a lead to become a client.  They are typically used for selling high-value products or services.

Strategies and Tactics.  Strategies are high-level, macroeconomic ways of looking at how to keep our business competitive.  They tend to focus on the why of the business.   It includes market forces, resources, investment and brand.  Tactics are about what happens every day at your business.  They involve tools, people and how they use them.  This is more about the how. It includes CRM, outbound communications, funnels and conversion, and access to relevant information.  Lars (2017) Pg. 10-21

Choosing the Best software

One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want your software to life in the cloud or reside on servers in your office.  For most businesses using software as a service (Saas) makes the most sense. Picking a CRM solution isn’t about finding the perfect vendor the decision should a narrowed field with few good choices.  Your buying in to a complete solution for your business.  Your CRM initiative serves your entire organization, including the design, implementation and maintenance of the tools your team will be using.  Look at reviews and evaluate pricing models.  Another factor you will want to consider is calculating the total cost of ownership.  Clearly define your CRM requirements before you look for a software vendor.  Every CRM implementation requires understanding of what is needed and where the information flows.  Have your requirements and processes defined before you pick your CRM.  Service and support.  How easy is it to access the support and services needed to answer your questions?  Do they have a phone, email, ticketing system, live chat, web conferencing just to name a few? Lars (2017) Pg.

CRM Organization, creation and Process

Setting up your CRM to handle different kinds of data associated with people with people and businesses you work with requires considerable forethought.  Don’t jump into your CRM and set up fields, groups, campaigns, or any major structure without doing your homework first.  Identify your buyer personas and brainstorm the persona to expand on key elements and combine them together.  Once you have a few personas drawn up then examine how you want to sell to them. Then design a process or a buyer journey.  Do this for each persona you create.  After you understand your buyers and how they buy from you can define requirements from your CRM.  Use these characteristics to build your data model, the fields can be demographic or activity data.   

Your brand is a big deal.  It encompasses the entire process of recognition of your organization, along with the emotional response when people see or hear of you.  The point of personalization is as much communicating relevant information as it’s conveying your brand in the way you want to everyone individually.  Your CRM manages your sales and marketing, and the impact of your brand is seen in how your leads and contacts interact with your business.  Your brand is constantly evolving. The most important aspect of your marketing is the ability to learn and adapt.  Feedback is critical to your future success.

Measuring exactly how well your marketing is doing can be difficult with some media. Modern digital marketing provides ways for you to set up trackable links, and pinpoint exactly who is coming form where, and whether those people are buying from you.  After you have accumulated your data, you can use that information to adjust your marketing and sales to be more effective. 

Content Marketing. Now it is time to think about what the right kind of messaging is you want to send.  What kind of content do you want to deliver?  How you do want to deliver that content.  Know that different channels require different strategies.  Not just any content will do writing a lot of content is going to work. It has to be useful and relevant.  It is harder to stand out to be successful you must cut through the noise.  For your content to be relevant you must be clear who you are writing your content for, solve one problem at a time, be relevant, and before you publish you must think carefully about the value you are providing

Let’s get into how to design your business around the journey your customers take.  You measure how the journeys start, how to track the progress, and where to automate reactions to deviations from your intended journeys, and how-to covert a maximum number of leads into client’s and clients into advocates.  If no one knows your company exist, there is a very small chance someone will buy from you.  To generate leads and interest in your organization, you must first generate awareness.  There are many ways to generate awareness, offline advertising, SEO, Online advertising/PPC, retargeting and social Media to name a few.  Building your reputation and brand perception is important to give your leads the confidence that your organization is one to work with. Lars (2017) 

 

business-2082639

Customer experience is vital to how you’re perceived in the market, particularly when you have a complex product or service-based organization.  The best way to offer outstanding support to your clients is to make it easy for them to talk to someone in your company, or at least get answers to their questions.  First impressions are everything.  You want to put your best foot forward where ever your potential clients can see your brand.  Common places to focus on is Social media and your website, print and online ads. 

Qualifying your leads is important in closing process work.  Getting your leads into your funnel.  After people see your brand for the first time, your primary objective is to get them into your sales funnel.  Capturing data with information and filling your funnel with qualified leads.  When someone fills out a form, it is helpful to automate data appending and validation.  When someone fills out a form on your website, that information is immensely useful.  Whenever possible, automate communication methods so your team can focus on the critical personal touch when and where it matters most. 

Workflows can be used to set up CRM activities for your sales team.  Workflows are the lynchpin that makes your sales and marketing automation turn your business into the efficient, growing system you want it to be.  Workflows can only be triggered by actions you can measure.  The principles of complete CRM give you the power to automate every step of engagement with your leads and clients.  Workflows activated by your complete CRM should allow you to communicate across any number of channels. Be sure you think through your overall strategy and buyers’ journey before you decide to overwhelm your leads and clients. 

Your leads convert to customers at some point along the way.  You need to measure how long a lead takes to get through the funnel, and how often leads fall out of the funnel.  You can then refine they way you do business, a term some refer to as conversion rate optimization.  Test different methods of closing deals.

Measure key metrics.  Time in each stage, percentage of leads dropping, number of CRM activities.  Your organization must continually refine and improve your sales process to remain competitive.  Measure people that are not advancing as well.  Create a process for abandonment of sales.  Then follow up after the sale.  Survey customer satisfaction. Your objective after the sale is to convert many people as possible to be advocates for your products and services.  There are many ways to do this most can be automated.  Don’t forget to revitalizing existing clients.

The best way to set up your CRM around process that matches the way you do business is by setting up your data model, which capture the information you need about your leads, client’s, vendors, and their companies.  Then you set up a lead scoring and automation around that scoring, as a way to segment and target your vest leads.  Collect company feedback through surveys.  Outline key areas set up a process model and see how your leads move through their buyer journey.  Then create another diagram on how your organization manage customer service. 

The final step is to find out how to go from your ideal process model to your CRM.  It can get tricky because you have to work with the limitation of the software.  Using a flowchart builder helps you visualize what processes you need to support with your CRM.  Build multiple flows, as you follow the purchase process for different market segments and different products and services that you offer.  Lars (2017) Pg. 30-34

Conclusion:

Building a successful CRM system for your business takes time, thought and creativity.  But when you take the time to develop those pieces in your business you will see your business grow and your customers come back for more.  Because you have built a relationship worth continuing.  Understanding your customer and building your business better for the customer.  Defining meaningful moments and experiences that stand out make a difference. It elevates the customers experience and creates connections.  There is no one size fit all CRM system.  It is unique to each business.  It takes understanding of every piece of your organization to make a complete CRM to work.  When you do you can create a process and a system that creates a customer journey that generates lead, converts then and turns them to advocates. That is a successful CRM system…

References:

  1. Peppers, Don, and Martha Rogers. Managing Customer Experience and Relationships: A Strategic Framework, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, 2016. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/tcc-ebooks/detail.action?docID=4729311.
    Created from tcc-ebooks on 2020-01-18 06:13:21.
  2. Adam James Lamagna. The Theory of Strategy Entanglement. November 27, 2016. Strategy entanglement. https://unstrategic.com/theory-strategy-entanglement/
  3. Heath, C. H. (2017). The Power of Moments.
  4. Lars Helgeson (2017).  CRM for Dummies. Hoboken, New Jersey. John Wiley & Sons Inc
  5. QGate. Retrieved from https://www.qgate.co.uk/blog/the-five-critical-success-factors-of-crm/
  6.  Neil Davey. Jan 18, 2017 Retrieved from https://www.mycustomer.com/selling/crm/the-big-picture-how-to-build-a-crm-strategy

Like This Post, Please Share!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn

About the Author:

Jules Sanchez is the founder and CEO of Jules Business Management Company. She serves two non-profits Police2peace and The Meditation Effect. She helps business owners structure their business so they can scale and grow. As a result, business owners have a system that is tailored to their business, their team supports their clients and a Operations run like clockwork. She studies Business Management, Leadership, and Self-Development. She currently is writing a book The Business Journey: A Path to Life’s True Creation.