Think long term when it comes to CRM
As a growing business, you need to do a mix of acquiring, retaining and continually selling to customers. On many occasions, this is determined by how well you serve them and make them feel.
Naturally the above means loads of data being captured and use of numerous channels to communicate. It’s the need to orchestrate data, channels and offers that give rise to the need to do more – to do better. Like most businesses, you’ll be thinking about your capabilities, and importantly your CRM capabilities/provider(s) that will deliver your strategy.
With CRM, what you are trying to do is build out a customer relationship plan that will attract and retain your customer attention. It should be a win for you, a win for them. It’s important to acknowledge this as often we lose sight of the bigger picture.
You can’t build a customer relationship unless you develop your own identity
In relationship marketing & branding there is a saying that customers don’t buy what you do, buy why you do it. Essentially most decisions made by humans are emotional ones; it’s an evolutionary hang-up.
Why is this? Well, it’s all to do with being able to make decisions quickly and intuitively so that they can get on with their lives. They’ll feel something about your brand before they compute any facts — apologies for this tangent.
To build a strong customer relationship, you need first to define what you stand for and what the purpose of your relationship is. Read our blog on Marketing with a purpose.
Getting outside expert help can save you time and energy.
You need to define your ideal customer journey
Once you’ve established the kind of relationship you want to build, then it will become much more comfortable to draw out your perfect customer journeys. Often, you’ll end up differing journeys like:
- Sales & conversion (turning prospects into customers)
- Onboarding (helping new customers more in the right direction)
- Up-selling (presenting more offers to customers)
- Serving (managing customers day to day)
- Engaging (finding ways to wow customers)
- Problem resolution (dealing with issues)
- Retaining (dealing with those that you feel are about to leave you)
- Win back (going after those that have left)
All the above (and more) needs to apply into a single framework, along with channels & offers. You should also underpin each with impact on commercial and brand metrics so you can then prioritise and see what needs to be built first.
Your CRM provider(s) will become an essential part in you being able to build your ideal customer journey. You may end up with more than one provider, and this is fine provided they all link together to deliver your overall strategy.
Don’t fall for the MVP only trap
MVP is “minimum viable proposition”. Many businesses focus on the here and now, immediate priorities, as a way of approaching what kind of CRM provider/capabilities they will invest in. This is a big mistake.
Unless you are confident that your chosen partner(s) can ultimately deliver most of what you need (channels, data, real-time, measurement, etc.), you are likely to end up with something that will at some point fail you. The world of CRM/CX is forever evolving, and so even with you defining everything you need you will probably still not have accounted for tomorrow.
Many businesses try to scale down what they need to save cost and time. This is fine concerning what you implement on day 1. In choosing a partner irrespective of what they do on day 1, you need to know that on day 2, 3 and 4 (and with more budget) they can scale up to what you will eventually need.
Your MVP is excellent for prioritising what you will pay for and need asap. Your decision making on CRM solutions needs to be more long-term focused.
The best fit will determine success
Many businesses invest vast sums in integrating CRM solutions that don’t deliver anywhere near what they had envisaged. Often this is down to the CRM provider being a poor fit. Businesses should consider three things when choosing a provider:
- This is obvious, but will you have all the kit you need to deliver your plans today and tomorrow. Also, how well integrated are you with your chosen provider. Does information/data flow in a way that enables business?
- In pursuit of cost-cutting, businesses often presume they can do it themselves, and after all, there are today many newer providers that promise you off the shelf DIY solutions. On many occasions, you will need support in making the new capabilities work in the way you need. It’s worth investing, if not also negotiating with your providers on this.
- Your people will ultimately decide success or failure. If they don’t feel they can drive the change they need or work seamlessly with your new provider, they will fail to optimise your strategies/plans and over time will fail to spot opportunities.