Customer relationship management

Create your CRM strategy


Building a successful customer relationship management (CRM) system isn't just about choosing the right technology. You will need to put in place the right strategy for implementation.

CRM strategy development process

To plan your CRM strategy, you should:

  • Set your vision - Agree a clear, impactful and actionable statement that your team can rally around.
  • Define your strategy - Decide on actions that will help you achieve your vision. Eg, offering superior after-sales service or innovative products.
  • Define your objectives - Review and optimise your business objectives and processes to align them with the new CRM system.
  • Lead your team - Provide training to help them develop the necessary skills and proficiencies before the new CRM goes live.
  • Choose metrics - Define what metrics you wish to measure to track success, and how you will use them to prompt corrective measures.
  • Think long-term - Find the best ways to implement, measure and maximise the technology, and integrate it with other IT systems.

CRM implementation plan

Once you've developed your CRM strategy, plan the implementation of the new system. This can generally take place in stages:

Stage 1 - Collect information

Capture the information you need to identify your customers and categorise their behaviour.

Stage 2 - Store information

Collect and store this information centrally. Some businesses use a relational database - see more on types of database system.

Stage 3 - Access information

With information collected and stored centrally, the next stage is to make this information available to staff in the most useful format.

Stage 4 - Analyse customer behaviour

Use data mining tools to analyse data and identify patterns or relationships. That way you can begin to profile customers and develop sales strategies.

Stage 5 - Market more effectively

Use CRM to understand which customers generate the most profit. Learn about their needs and preferences, and reward and target your most valuable customers.

Stage 6 - Enhance the customer experience

Complaining customers can take up a substantial amount of staff time. If the CRM system allows you to identify and resolve customer issues quickly, your staff will have more time for other enquiries.

Remember - if you are collecting, using and processing personal information (of customers or staff), you must comply with the UK General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).