Do You Need a CRM Strategy? Here’s How to Create One

The CRM system is often hailed as the heart of customer experience (CX), yet many businesses don’t give their CRMs as much thought as they merit.

Here, Ross Slogrove, UK country manager of contact centre software provider Ringover, shares his blueprint for a successful CRM strategy.

Henry Ford once said: “It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages”. And he’s not wrong — building good relationships with customers is the foundation for success.

Whether or not you agree with the “the customer is always right” mantra, anyone that’s worked in sales can concur that consumers can — at times — be rather fickle. In fact, Zendesk found that half of all consumers would gladly switch to a competitor after just one bad experience, while 80 per cent would part ways after multiple poor experiences.

The relationship with your customers shouldn’t end after a purchase is made. To encourage upsells, cross-sells, repeat business and a positive CX, businesses should nurture customer relationships through a tailored customer relationship management, or CRM, strategy. The good news is this doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many examples of a good CRM strategy that businesses of all sizes can implement.

Why do you need a CRM strategy?

A CRM is a business’s gameplan for how it will maintain the relationship between its customers and its sales, marketing and customer service teams. At its core, it’s all the activities, strategies and technologies a business will use to manage interactions with existing and prospective customers.

Furthermore, it can be implemented in a huge array of methods: telephone calls, social media interactions, chatbot conversations, email, websites and a variety of marketing materials can all be integrated into a CRM solution. That all forms a lot of data from a lot of sources, from and for multiple areas of the business to track, manage and evaluate. Without a good strategy in place, it’s information overload.

A good CRM strategy can, first and foremost, facilitate many good learning opportunities for all areas of a business. Having structured access to data such as who customers are, why they purchase your products and trends in their buying histories can help a business better anticipate their customers’ needs. From an operational perspective, a good CRM strategy will help you keep track of potential sales leads and ensure they’re executed more effectively. It also makes it easier to spot opportunities for new services or business growth, if there’s a trend in customer requests, for instance. Ultimately, having a good strategy in place will make your business more collaborative, more analytical and far more streamlined.

Laying the groundwork

So how do you build a CRM strategy that works? The first step is to define your goals, as a business and through using your CRM system. Are you looking to reduce your sales cycles? Keep churn to a minimum? Offer more personalised services?

Once you’ve defined these goals, it’s important to take a look at the resources you currently have and assess whether they can help to achieve your ambitions. This could include whether-or-not you have enough manpower, but you should also assess whether you’re making the most out of your current CRM system, or if you need an upgrade.

Similarly, envisioning the customer journey is a crucial part to forming a good CRM strategy. Knowing the ins and outs of the customer journey, from beginning to end, will give a clear picture of all the potential touchpoints a customer has with your sales funnel. This will beg the question — does the sales and marketing funnel you currently have reflect the buying journey?

Tech tips

Once you’ve mapped out what you’d like to achieve with a CRM system, it’s time to get down to choosing the right one. There are tonnes of providers out there, each offering similar services but with key differentiators, so it’s important you explore your options thoroughly and make sure the CRM you select meets your business needs.

If your team is getting bogged down by administrative tasks, like manually inputting customer information, then you’ll need a system that prioritises automating these tasks. CRMs can address a myriad of pain points, ranging from lead generation and contact management to marketing campaigns and sales forecasting. If you have an area you want to focus on more than the rest, you should look for a CRM system that boasts a similar focus.

According to, most first-time CRM purchasers overestimate what they need, so make sure you’re questioning the features and functionality of the software you’re thinking about. Does everyone in the company need all the bells and whistles of the system, or could you favour a modular approach and only use the elements that are absolutely vital?

You’ll also want to make sure your chosen CRM system can easily integrate with other business applications, for a seamless unified communications as a service (UCaaS) experience. Ringover, for instance, can integrate with multiple CRM systems to offer businesses more than just a telephony system. Instead, call and contact centres, or indeed any area of the business, can unite their communications technology with their customer relationship platform of choice. This offers companies the tools to communicate with their customers, hand-in-hand with the tools that help them build relationships and understand their consumers better.

Whether the customer is always right or not, it goes without saying that good customer relationships are the core to profitability. Whether a business has never invested in a CRM system before, or if they’re already something of an expert, it’s never too late to assess your CRM strategy to make the most out of a vital piece of business software.