Using CRM Strategies and Tactics

By Lars Helgeson

Your CRM will be jampacked with strategies and tactics. Many people use strategies and tactics interchangeably, but anyone with military experience can tell you they’re different. Senior management usually define strategies, while middle managers and those who execute employ tactics. This section covers how to distinguish between strategies and tactics in the design and implementation of your CRM.

It’s important to understand how both strategies and tactics work together to build a solid company with principles of Complete CRM. Your leadership guides high-level strategy to unify your team, while knowledge of effective tactics to reach your goals make that happen.

Coming up with effective strategies for your CRM

Strategies are high-level, macroeconomic ways of looking at how to keep your business competitive. They take larger forces into consideration, and tend to focus on the “why” of the business.

Before you embark on your journey to build a CRM, you must have a solid strategy in place. Part of that strategy is answering these questions:

  • Market forces: Are competitors in your industry emerging? Are they a threat? Are they targeting your customer base?
  • Resources: Do you have enough employees? Are they getting enough education and training? Is their morale high? Are they sharing information with each other, guarding it for control over others, or fear for their livelihoods?
  • Investment: Are your people equipped with the right tools? Are they comfortable where they work? Do they have access to the training materials they need? Are they compensated when they complete training?
  • Brand: Does your brand convey what you do? Does it have a personality? Is it a personality that helps or hinders sales?

If you’re unable to answer these questions, or feel as though the answers don’t give you confidence in your organization, focus your CRM on addressing these issues.

Using effective tactics for your CRM

Tactics, on the other hand, are about what happens every day at your business. They involve the tools people use, and how they use them. Usually they are more about the “how.”

These questions focus on the day-to-day operations, and you want to have good answers for them.

  • Customer relationship management (CRM): Are you managing every aspect of your customer lifecycle? Is it easy for your team to access the data they need to get their jobs done? If your sales and support teams are talking to clients, do they know enough about those clients to provide great service?
  • Outbound communication: Are you using all the right channels (for example, email, print, pay-per-click ads) to reach your leads and clients? Are you measuring performance?
  • Funnels and conversion: Are you tracking how people progress through the process of purchasing from you? If they’re leaving, why? Are you following up with them? How long is it taking for people to make the purchase decision? Are you able to automate and/or personalize any of these interactions?
  • Access to relevant information: Can your salespeople track what their leads are doing? Do they get alerted when their leads show signs of wanting to buy? Does your customer service team see how your clients absorb the information you send them? Does your marketing team have access to sales- and support-related data that could help them segment their communication?

Measuring “effective” in CRM

The word “effective” can have many different meanings, so it’s important to take the time to make sure what it means to you. At an organizational level, it often translates to “efficient,” meaning fewer resources to accomplish tasks the company needs done. At an individual level, it can mean giving people the freedom to do their jobs well.

Take time to think about your overall goals, both as an organization and with your CRM, as those goals relate to being effective. When you know where you want to go with both, and what it means for you to be effective, you can check whether you’re on the path for accomplishing both.

In all cases, measuring and reporting lets you know if you’re moving your organization in the right direction. An effective Complete CRM means you do more with less, with the data easily accessible to back that up.