The importance of having a CRM Strategy

Posted by on Nov 7, 2014 in Blog

Having a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) strategy in place is becoming ever more urgent. With the continuing reduction and uncertainty in arts funding, most arts organisations have to achieve more with less . We all have to work harder to prove that what we are doing is effective.

CRM isn’t about selling, it’s about marketing. It helps you build and maintain long-term relationships, through discovering how your audiences want to interact with you, and actively meeting their stated and unstated wants and needs.

One common trap is to see CRM as a tactic or marketing function rather than a strategic function. The leadership team in an organisation needs to clearly define what they mean by their CRM strategy in terms that every employee can understand. Developing a CRM strategy is as much a people and cultural change as it is a technological solution. It takes ongoing investment in people, training and processes, and it won’t be a quick win.

In crafting your CRM Strategy, address all of the following points and you won’t go far wrong.

Understand your customers and customer journeys
You must have a clear vision of what good CRM looks like across the organisation, including understanding customer journeys. A customer journey is how your customer interacts with your organisation across multiple touch-points, such as purchasing a ticket, attending an event, and providing feedback. Align your internal business processes with these journeys and it will help you determine if you’re easy or difficult to do business with.

Differentiate your customer segments, and understand and agree behaviours, whether you segment by high value, frequency of attendance, potential attendance, participation, etc.

Create communication and implementation plan
Create a communication plan to allow you to share actionable items within the strategy, and progress charts that show what has been implemented and where. Create an implementation plan, and include a feedback loop that allows everyone to highlight problems with implementation or execution. Ideally, with clear leadership in place most senior managers will have responsibility for managing CRM strategy at an operational level.

Be a customer focused organisation
Your organisational culture needs to be ready to adopt a customer-centric approach. Set up a CRM team with representatives from each department or area so that colleagues’ needs and concerns are addressed. Consider creating an education programme for the entire staff, including third parties who may have involvement in interactions with the organisation’s customers. Put in place clear measures that show everyone the value of adopting and applying the strategic initiatives and don’t forget to celebrate excellence when it is achieved. You will know when you are at a point of excellence by setting KPIs at the outset.

Tidy up your data
Customer data is a critically important part of any CRM project, so it is important to ensure your data management is in good shape before strategy building begins in earnest.

Remember, the old adage: garbage in, garbage out. Without having data on your customers, you can’t learn what does and doesn’t engage them, and what effect this engagement does or doesn’t have. So before you can do CRM, you need a decent data collection policy, and the means to analyse the data in the context of the CRM programme you envisage for them. And it should go without saying that it’s vital to make sure all data is accurate and up to date.

Get the right system for your organisation
Finding the right software or technological solution to provide the CRM/ticketing system needed is a key factor in achieving a successful CRM Strategy. It involves a five-step process:

  • Information Gathering
  • Specification
  • Priced Tenders
  • Evaluation
  • Implementation

To find out more take a look at my blog post, How to Choose a CRM/Ticketing system for your organisation.

Final thoughts
And finally don’t forget the mantra:
– CRM isn’t CRM unless it affects the customer experience.
– CRM is a strategy not a project.
– CRM should improve return on investment.
– Technology is a means not an end.
– You want a 360-degree view of your customer.

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