9 Tips to Drive CRM Strategy

John Eccles, 06 October 2015


CRM, Customer Relationship Management, is NOT primarily a software technology. Rather, CRM is a business strategy.  Hence the rationale for implementing CRM must be because it is a good strategy for your organisation.

Here is my working definition of CRM:

“CRM is the business strategy to acquire, grow and retain profitable customer relationships and thus create sustainable competitive advantage”.

Your customers are your source of income.  Your income from them will depend on how well your organisation interacts with them. 

If your organisation has customers, clients or stakeholders, the chances are that applying a CRM strategy will be beneficial for your business. This blog categorises and outlines some of the CRM sub-strategies.

Operational Strategies

1. Empower customer-facing staff

  • Your front-line staff who relate with customers are key to driving customer satisfaction. When motivated and equipped, they can be a competitive advantage.
  • Train and re-train your front-line staff to represent your organisation’s values.
  • Train and empower front-line staff to make more decisions.
  • Provide fast access to comprehensive, real-time information about customers so their interactions can be informed and professional.
  • Provide prompts and reminders so customer follow-ups are always on-time.
  • Measure customer satisfaction and reward customer-facing staff accordingly.


2. Make customer-facing staff more efficient

  • Prepare templates for routine communications to save time and eliminate errors.
  • Ensure that data is only entered into your system once.
  • Eliminate unnecessary delays from the sales cycle.
  • Automate processes.  For example a prospective client may download an info-sheet or article from your website and you might automatically send out a follow-up message. Or information about a prospect could be automatically harvested from
  • LinkedIn or other online sources.


3. Be more accessible to your customers

  • Respond to written communications faster.
  • Provide a customer-facing self-service knowledge-base.
  • Provide 24-7 support and sales via phone and/or online.
  • Be contactable via multiple channels – phone, email, chat, Facebook, Twitter.
  • Collaboration Strategies
  • Bring the wider team together to provide value for your customers.


Collaboration Strategies

Bring the wider team together to provide value for your customers.

4. Share customer information within your organisation

  • Capture details of all customer interactions and make them available to all staff working with the customer.
  • Encourage your sales team to help each other for greater team success.
  • Share relevant information across marketing, sales, customer service and accounts receivable.


5. Share information outside your organisation

  • Share information with your distributors and agents to help them provide better service.
  • Enable customers to work interactively with your business to improve the service you provide them.
  • Analytical Strategies
  • Use the data about your customer relationships to refine, improve and even re-shape your business.


Analytical Strategies

Use the data about your customer relationships to refine, improve and even re-shape your business.

6. Understand your customers

  • Analyse them demographically, geographically and economically for greater insights.
  • Monitor the relationships with your customers and the types and frequency of your interactions with them.
  • Know what your customers like and dislike about your products or services.
  • Know when they are dissatisfied.
  • Know who knows who and use that information to get introduced to new prospects.


7. Market effectively

  • Deliver targeted direct marketing messages that your customers will find helpful.
  • Cross-sell related products or services to meet other customer needs.
  • Up-sell higher quality/cost products or services to better satisfy customers.
  • Surface opportunities with existing customers.


8. Retain Customers to realise their lifetime value

(What proportion of your profits are generated from loyal customers?)

  • Identify and target loyal customers and proactively relate with them.
  • Reward customer loyalty – perhaps with a loyalty programme.
  • Generate referrals from existing customers – these may be a very cost-effective means to increase your customer base.


9. Use customer-related information to manage effectively

  • Provide critical management information to managers.
  • See and respond to trends earlier.
  • Utilise visibility of the “sales pipeline” to forecast and plan effectively.
  • Make better-informed strategic decisions.


From strategy to software

At some stage in the implementation of your CRM strategy, you may find that a CRM system (now I’m talking about the software) will be beneficial. At that point, you will know why you need a system and you will know what the system needs to do and the resulting value to be gained from it. Thus you will be well on the way to achieving a successful implementation of the CRM system that best fits your needs.