4 Steps For Maximizing Your CRM Investment

When it comes to CRM systems, strategy is often the difference between failure and success. According to a study by Forrester Research, 40% of businesses reported that some of the biggest challenges they encountered were related to CRM strategy, such as a lack of clearly defined objectives.  Without a committed and well developed plan, your investment in a CRM solution is destined to fall short of expectations, and leave you with an empty pocket.

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How do you develop a bullet-proof CRM strategy that will drive successful business results? Here are 4 essential steps to help you maximize the effectiveness of your CRM solution:

Step 1. Identify what CRM means to your business.

Identify and develop your vision and business objectives. Ask yourself, what will CRM success look like? Your CRM solution should be built around the ways in which you interact with your customers–including the processes you use to sell, service, and support your customers. Make sure the solution you have chosen isn’t just good—but good for your business.

Step 2. Stay ahead of the game and identify the risks.

All projects have risks. Consider the main hazards to your CRM solution implementation and how significantly these threaten its success. The CRM technology could be a risk if the database isn’t flexible enough to adapt to your processes, or if the system lacks the scalability to grow with your business. Often times the most dangerous CRM risk can prove to be low user adoption, so be sure you have a user adoption plan in place for your team!

Step 3. Institute an ongoing data quality process.

Many business CRM initiatives fail because they didn’t pay attention to the customer data management requirements early in the project. Without good data, you will not have the insights to make good business decisions. Think through what data you will need, how you are going to keep it clean and how you are going to manage it. Keep in mind, data quality is a continuous process, not a one-time occurrence. As priorities change, new types of products or services are released, or new kinds of customers are targeted, this much all be reflected in your CRM data quality process.

Step 4. Measure performance consistently.

The most successful businesses measure the return on investment (ROI) of their CRM solutions and use this knowledge to manage the amount of investment in future efforts. It is important to use this information to understand whether or not your marketing dollars are being put to good use. Each CRM system comes with an analytics tool—take advantage of it and use it to measure data about your customer outreach strategies and make more efficient business decisions.

Start implementing these CRM strategies today and get the most out of your CRM solution!

An effective CRM strategy uses technology to create better customer relationships, resulting in more revenue for your business. If you have a CRM system that is not currently achieving what you hoped, take a look at your strategy, or lack thereof. Your CRM system failure might stem from a lack of full integration and alignment with your business goals.

What strategies do you use to get the most out of your CRM system?

Source: Crmtrends.com; Forrester.com; HBR.com 7/14; crmsoftwareblog.com

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