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14 jan 2020

CRM is a stra­tegy – not a project


When working with customer relationship management (CRM), it is important to remember that it is not a project – it is a strategy. A common pitfall is to see CRM as a stand-alone project, a misconception resulting in companies starting in the wrong end. Instead of focusing on what business objectives to fulfill, they start with investing in a CRM system and thus use technology as the starting point. Subsequently, many companies fail to leverage the full potential of their CRM efforts.

5 key points for starting your CRM journey

We have listed five key points for organizations to consider when taking their first CRM steps:

  1. Secure buy-in from top management down to organizational units and teams.
  2. Build a cross-functional team that will drive the change with a strong customer focus.
  3. Define the business objectives – what to do and why?
  4. Formulate the strategy to reach the business objectives.
  5. Evaluate CRM systems and invest in a solution that meets identified needs.

Katia Rigbrandt and Pontus Andersson both have solid experience from different types of CRM
projects and supporting clients with these types of challenges. We have asked them to elaborate
on what they see as key points which companies often tend to overlook, thus leading to
unsuccessful CRM efforts.

What is the basis for building the CRM team?

The first step before rushing on with CRM operationally is to form a team with the right capabilities. The people and the existing capabilities in the organization should work as a starting point. Evaluate what knowledge the organization possesses and what needs to be acquired from outside.

Also, many companies have their CRM teams functioning in silos rather than having a crossfunctional structure. However, for the efforts to be fruitful, stakeholders from across the organization need to be involved.

“The CRM team are the ones who will drive the CRM efforts forward – to do so they need multiple perspectives of the business.”

It is key to remember that the individuals in the cross-functional CRM team are the ones who will drive the CRM efforts forward. To do that successfully, they need to cover multiple perspectives of the business, and always have the customer value as their main focus.

How to make sure the CRM strategy meets the business objectives?

Even though it is great to have a long-term vision for the CRM strategy, the key to success is rather an iterative value delivery approach with a focus on continuous improvements and testing of hypotheses.

Also, it is important to keep the business perspective and customer value in mind at all times. Thus, insights should be analyzed continuously to identify patterns and segment customers. The segments should in turn serve as a basis for unique customer journeys which will refine the customer experience and improve customer value.

“Customer-centricity must be at the core of all CRM efforts.”

In other words, customer-centricity must be at the core of all CRM efforts. If overlooked, there is a risk of pouring both time and money on investments without creating any significant value for the customer.

What to think about when investing in a CRM system?

Instead of starting the CRM journey with building a team and identifying business objectives, many companies put their hopes to technology and start with buying a CRM system with all the latest features.

However, this approach often leads to limited business impact and disappointing results. Why? Well, no system is stronger than the people managing it. If nothing of value goes into the system, nothing of value can come out of it.

“No system is stronger than the people managing it. There are no technological shortcuts to success.”

It is not the system itself that will lead the change, it is rather a question of an organizational shift, and there are no technological shortcuts to success. In a truly customer-centric company, employees focus on customer value in everything they do and rather use technology as an enabler to accomplish the objectives.

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Not getting the full potential from your CRM strategy? Get in contact with us!