CRM is a strategy, not a tactic
For a long time, when people talk about CRM, is referring to a tool. They usually talk about “what CRM do they have”, “a CRM” or “they don’t have CRM”.
Perhaps this last expression is the one that is most common for everyone. But not because not everyone has a CRM tool, but today almost no one understands CRM as a strategy.
Therefore, considering a CRM as a tool is a limited description of what it is. It is leaving out of the “cake” several very important pieces: strategy, processes and customers. And that is no small thing.
To have a clearer picture of what a CRM is, we must talk about: CRM strategy, CRM processes, customers and CRM tools.
When we talk about CRM, we must think about its meaning first of all: Customer Relationship Management.
Therefore, before thinking about what tool we want to use to carry out customer management, we must think about how I want to manage my customers. But, this doesn’t refer to manners, but to relationships. What do we want them to have from us and what do we want to get from them.
Therefore, CRM, as we said at the beginning, involves a relationship strategy.
Customers who don’t know you yet
In the strict sense of the word a customer is the person who cares and pays for your products and services, but at Making Science we like to broaden the term and make it bigger.
Clients, too, are potential clients, and we also have to engage with them.
So, within clients we include both Leads and Customers, which will allow us to build a relationship from the beginning of the potential sale.
But, let’s not think that this is exclusive to the offline world where call centers have great relevance and the relationship is personal (one to one). Not at all. CRM, or the CRM strategy, covers all types of sales both online and offline, such as ROPO or show-rooming.
And this is where one of the great strengths of the CRM strategy resides; the relationship that is built and personalized from the start.
Processes and tools
We return to our starting point, in which currently a CRM is considered as a tool. Indeed, there are tools that allow us to support our CRM strategy, or rather, the processes that emanate from the strategy.
In general, these processes can be divided into three groups:
- Attraction processes: Where we would include the processes of lead attraction, lead management, lead nurturing, etc.
- Sales processes: Sales management, budgeting, order and contract management
- Service processes: Loyalty, cross selling / up-selling, servicing, etc.
These processes are the ones that are embraced and supported by CRM tools.
First think, then act
The problem is that we live in a constantly evolving world. Companies are less and less thoughtful. There are many things to do, because perhaps the previous ones did not work as expected. We choose a CRM tool and then adapt everything to that tool.
Perhaps the problem is that we stop little to think outside the box, because many times we do not define the strategy and processes correctly and clearly, which we should do before working with the tools.
So, don’t forget, the key question is not which CRM tool do I choose, but which CRM tool supports my customer strategy.