Gartner just published a press release in which it outlines the three steps that lead to a succesful CRM strategy.

Ed Thompson, vice president and analyst at the research agency says: “A CRM strategy cannot be developed in isolation. It must be relevant and linked to the overall corporate strategy, and it must build on existing sales or marketing strategies that are already in use”.

The key takeaway however is “Link it to the corporate strategy,” as Thompson writes. Next, Gartner provides the three mentioned steps. All three worth a look.

1) Define the final objective of the CRM strategy

The vision of the company and the goals that can be derived from this vision, are the final objective of the CRM strategy. The vision relies on the leadership of the company and the CRM strategy selected.

“Ensure that the CRM vision is to articulate the future environment for the organization in terms of profitability and customer experience,” says Thompson.

“During the initial stages of the CRM initiative — while the CRM vision and strategy are being developed — the leadership and governance structure must be agreed upon and roles allocated before it is stressed by the impact of change management upon employees.”

2) Analyze and evaluate the current CRM situation

Expertise, sources, competitors, partners and customers should all be included in the view of the current situation.

How mature is the current approach to CRM?Has anything ever been done?And how did that go?If there is a basis, the new team can use it as a starting point even if the previous attempt was unsuccessful.

Gartner also advises to evaluate the organization against equivalent organizations in the same or a similar industry. Ed Thompson: “A competitive benchmark is an excellent way to gauge how far behind or ahead the organization is in comparison”.

3) Draw up a CRM strategy roadmap

The journey may take several years, and the route may change during the course of the trip, but it is important to draw up a plan before starting out.

A CRM strategy will lay down how an organisation will become customer-oriented.It is an integrated blueprint that defines how the established goals will ultimately be achieved.

According to Gartner, it will be necessary to ask a number of questions to establish how far an organisation has progressed in achieving its CRM objectives.Questions like: what does the ideal customer base look like?What products and services will be sold, to whom, at what price, and through which channel?

But there is also need to answer more holistic questions like:How can you best build up customer loyalty?But also: how does a company go about establishing a positive relationship with the customer?What will cause your customers to recommend you to other people?

“Setting the destination, auditing the current situation and mapping the journey is an iterative process that may require several revisions before a final CRM strategy is developed,” Ed Thompson said.

For more information, visit Gartner here.