If you are using a CRM software or looking to implement one for your business, then it is definitely for one of these reasons - 

  • Manage your inbound and outbound leads
  • Grow your sales and revenue
  • Gain visibility into the daily sales activities
  • Streamline communication
  • Depend on accurate reports and analytics to make decisions

But let’s face the truth: A CRM tool cannot grant all your wishes the minute you purchase it. According to a Forrester study, 2 out of 3 businesses become dissatisfied with their CRM and plan to replace it within just two years.

In reality, CRM software can definitely help you achieve all of the above if implemented and executed correctly.

And as a part of your implementation, you need a CRM strategy in place. 

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What is CRM strategy?

A CRM strategy is a plan of action combining your sales process with the CRM. It is a CRM tool-powered action plan to convert leads into prospects and prospects into paying customers by personalizing the customer journey.

But why should you care about your customer journey and experience?

That’s what your customers expect. In fact, 73% of customers say customer experience is an important factor they consider as they make purchasing decisions.

Why do you need CRM Strategy?


As we discussed earlier, a CRM strategy combines your sales process with your CRM tool. In other words, every functionality of your CRM system is linked to a part of your sales process. For example, you may use sales sequences capability to run your follow-up email journeys or CRO to scan your website to analyze visitor activities.

Without a CRM strategy, you’ll find it challenging to scale a sales process that is working for you. Your engagement with customers is likely going to be ad hoc and tactless such that their overall experience turns out poor, impacting business processes and growth. 

For instance, if your

  • B2B sales teams aren’t getting granular details of how leads are engaging with your business
  • Or B2C marketing teams are losing out on leads collected in your database

It’s time you consider creating a comprehensive CRM strategy. 

Here’s how a well-defined CRM strategy can help you grow sales:


Enhance Buyer Experience

A CRM strategy enhances customers’ experience by streamlining and personalizing communication. It empowers your salespeople to say the right thing to the right person at the right time. 

For example, you can learn where a potential lead is from, what they do, what resources they’ve previously downloaded, and when they’re likely to engage with you. Leveraging this information can help you engage and move them forward in their buyer’s journey.

Provide Actionable Insights

A CRM software gives you the necessary insights to scale your sales and marketing performance. As you’ve synced your sales process with the CRM system, a powerful CRM tool collects all interactions your salespeople have with prospects and customers. Using this data, the CRM maps your growth against your business goals.

An AI-powered CRM tells you who your most interested prospects are, which deals to focus on, the performance of your marketing campaigns, and more. The data from these activities are processed and generated as reports that enable you to create smart business strategies and make data-driven decisions.

Increase Team Morale

It boosts team morale as they make the right efforts to convert prospects into paying customers, in turn meeting their targets and attaining their sales commission.

Customer-Centric CRM Strategy: The Single Source of Truth


The Single Source of Truth (SSOT) refers to pooling business data from all teams, including marketing, customer support, and sales teams, into one CRM tool. This way, the tool can serve as an SSOT that everyone can access, which helps with understanding customer interactions and streamlining conversations.

For example, a prospect may be in touch with someone from the marketing team and has learned about how your service can help them. However, when they book a demo call, the salesperson might not know how much the prospect already knows and treats them like a brand new lead.

Why? Because the prospect and customer data is stored with the marketing team.

As a result, the prospect hears two different voices and messaging and starts doubting your company's customer care capabilities post-sales.

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With SSOT, you break the silos as all data is unified in a single screen where everyone can access it. It helps every function in your organization -


Your marketing teams gain an insight into the status of the MQLs they passed to the sales team. They have access to all the emails and phone calls between the lead and the salesperson. This helps them understand why a lead didn’t qualify for sales, and tweak their target audience accordingly. And for existing customers, they can refer to the SSOT to write in-depth case studies.


The details of your marketing team’s engagement and nurture journeys would be available for your sales team. They can see the marketing materials downloaded by the lead, webpages engaged with, newsletters and emails received, and more. They can now prepare for more contextual and personalized conversations with the prospects.

Customer Success

Your customer success team will have an inside view of the prospect’s pain points, their use cases, and how they use your offering. Armed with this information, they can easily up-sell and cross-sell your products/services.

Customer Care

The customer service teams are armed with more information and context about the customer they need to help and solve their problems in a more effective and personalized manner. Personalized care and service win you customer loyalty, increase your NPS score, and reduce the churn rate.

Step 0: What should you do before creating a CRM strategy?


Here are two steps to take before you start creating a CRM strategy:


Understand that CRM usage varies with industry and business size

A business with sales and marketing from different parts of the world uses a CRM differently as compared with a vast team that’s running its operations from a single headquarter.

Similarly, the way tools are used varies according to industry. For example, an eCommerce business uses CRM for handling customer retargeting and side-wide analytics.  On the other hand, a healthcare institution leverages a CRM solution to schedule and manage patient appointments, store medical history, coordinate with doctors, send reminders, and more.

So a good place to start is understanding where you stand and how a CRM tool can help you.

Related article: Find out how a CRM can be customized to work for your industry


Make sure your teams are aligned with your CRM

Even if you get the CRM strategy in action, you can only get the ball rolling if your sales and marketing teams are aligned with your vision and strategy.

Salespeople tend to not like CRMs,” confesses Andres Lares, the Managing Partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute.

They see [the tool] as extra work, and they feel like they are being micromanaged.

You’ll need to work against these fears to ensure your teams use the CRM tool. Because, ultimately, how the teams use the tool determines your success with your CRM strategy.

Here are a few more ways to help you encourage your team to use the CRM tool:


Spread awareness by explaining how a CRM tool supplements their work

Start with sharing the benefits that the teams can drive from the tool and then explain how the business will benefit.

For instance, mobile CRMs have helped 50% of teams improve their productivity. Similarly, revenue per sales representative can increase by up to 41% with CRM application.

Share use cases of how businesses have achieved success with a CRM strategy

Doing so inspires action. For example, the Adroit Insights team has doubled their number of clients by creating a customer engagement strategy and offering a consistent customer experience using a CRM tool. 
Similarly, Henning Schwinum recalls that at Vendux LLC, “coordination via an Excel spreadsheet became quickly impractical and prone to errors,” writes Schwinum. So, the team started using a CRM as an SSOT to stay ahead of their clients.

Train the teams to use the tool

It can be challenging to use a tool that has a steep learning curve. However, providing the necessary training on how a CRM tool can help can solve this issue.

Get the sales and marketing into a how-to-use-a-CRM workshop (both in-house plus online) and share resources and case studies from the tool you select. 

How to build a CRM Strategy: A step-by-step guide


Once you’re done with your homework, follow these steps to build a customer relationship management strategy:


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Step 1. Understand and align your company and CRM goal

To begin with, understand your company’s goals for the next 1-3 years. Ask yourself what sales goals you’ve set up to achieve these overarching goals? And, what marketing strategy do you have in place to meet these goals.

Once you have the answers to these, you can "select and configure your CRM to allow you to track and measure against these goals," notes Kristen McGarr, the owner of Adroit Insights. Doing so "will simplify the process and provide transparency at all levels of the organization."


Step 2. Align your Sales and CRM strategies

For this step, have a complete picture of your sales process. Start with understanding the following:

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Having the answers to these questions will allow you to select and implement your CRM according to your sales strategy.

For example, if your sales strategy largely focuses on outbound reach via calls and emails, you’ll want a CRM tool that offers an in-built dialer to call and record conversations. You’ll also want the tool to integrate with your email so you can automate follow-ups.

Similarly, depending on your answer to prospects’ experience on your site, you can determine “whether you want to automate the majority of the process for greater consistency,” McGarr writes. “Or, if you prefer to add tasks and reminders for your salespeople to create a more personalized experience.

A CRM tool can help you reach your sales objectives. This is why being clear on your sales strategy is crucial for selecting the right tool.


Step 3. Map your buyer’s journey

Since the buyer’s journey is mirrored in the sales process, it is the basis for setting up the CRM,” observes Schwinum.


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Kick things off by segmenting customers into groups based on their unique differences and behavior. The goal is to figure out how your sales and marketing teams interact with different buyer groups. 

For example, separate your customers based on those active on social media while others who are responsive to email.

Then, identify all touchpoints that a prospect would’ve with your business and tie them to responsible teams and into your CRM. For instance, leads that come through your social media and campaigns go into the marketing team’s court to be nurtured before passing on to sales.

A few things to keep in mind while mapping your buyer’s journey are:

  • Understand how prospects move through your sales funnel and identify gaps where they drop-off in the funnel as you map your buyer’s journey.
  • Find out your prospect’s pain points. Ask yourself: What problems do they face that lead them to your product/service? What stops them from converting into buyers? You can glean these insights from your CRO software, creating post-purchase surveys to learn from customers and listening to buyers’ discussions on why or why they didn’t purchase something on social media.
  • Make sure all your teams are aligned as you map your buyer's journey.


Step 4. Establish KPIs

Now that you’ve assigned responsibilities to each team, use the CRM to set goals for them.

CRMs allow you to easily track metrics like number of contacts, frequency of contact and other activities that are excellent early indicators of growth,” points out McGarr.

Ideally, you’ll want results-oriented micro-goals that tie together to contribute to your major goal. These are “KPIs that have a direct impact on your company goals.

Let’s say if the goal for your sales team is to increase sales revenue by up to 50%, an account executive’s micro goal should be to close X number of high-value deals, whereas, an SDR’s goal should be to close Y number of meetings.

Similarly, assign customer satisfaction and customer retention goals to the customer service and customer success teams, respectively.

Step 5. Finalize your budget

Let's not forget, an essential step in setting up any strategy is budgeting. CRMs come in various price ranges, with some vendors having a pay-per-customer model, while others have a pay-per-user model.

The former payment model suits businesses that have a large sales team. But, if you have a small team with, say, three salespeople, you'll find the pay-per-user model economical.

Similarly, some CRMs, including the Freshsales, have built-in tools. For instance, email marketing tools can help cut back investment in third-party tools.

Hence, an action step here is to assess your company size, requirements from the CRM (go back to step 1 for this) and determine the pricing structure that’ll suit you best.

Besides, keep in mind a few additional costs that Lares outlines: “CRM budgets need to include:

  • The cost of CRM as well as the implementation costs [including] customization.
  • Direct or indirect costs of providing training and support for sales people, especially early on”
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Step 6. Invest in the right CRM software

Now, for the final piece of the strategy puzzle: shortlist CRM software you need. Here are some differentiating CRM features:


CRM Strategy for small businesses

Find a CRM system that’s easy on your pocket while offering:


There is no one-size-fits-all in a CRM. While you are a growing company, it is equally important to have a CRM that fits into your business ecosystem to support and accelerate your growth.

Learn more about how you can customize the CRM.

Automated workflows

The platform should let you run smooth, intelligent sales and marketing automation that reduce the load of small and limited capacity teams and boost productivity.

Learn how a CRM can boost productivity with automation

Unified solution

As a small business, investing in multiple software to keep your business running smoothly is not always an option. Consider an omnichannel CRM, like Freshsales, that brings all the necessary tools under one roof. Learn more.

CRM Strategy for enterprises

As your business grows, so do your complex requirements. It would be best if you had a CRM software with advanced capabilities such as

Artificial intelligence

AI-powered CRMs continually learn and evolve based on your business needs. This helps you gain actionable insights across the buyer journey and deliver highly personalized engagement with your prospects.

An AI-powered CRM, like Freshsales, analyzes the historial interactions with the prospects and customers and suggests the next best move to take for leads and deals.

Learn more about how AI can redefine your customer relationships.

Sales and marketing analytics

Advanced sales and marketing analytics can forecast your sales team’s performance, predict revenue accurately, and give rich insights into your marketing campaigns. This empowers you to take smart data-backed decisions.

Learn more about data-driven decision-making with analytics.

Event tracking

Understanding your website visitors’ activities helps you optimize your website, create targeted campaigns, personalize engagement, and drive conversations to closure.

Learn how you can achieve it with CRO.

In short

To tie it all together, a well-implemented customer relationship management strategy can help you in multiple ways. Streamlining communication, personalizing interaction with prospects, coordinating different teams, and more.

The first step to success with your CRM strategy, however, boils down to getting the right tool that meets your needs. 

Looking for a CRM?

Try Freshsales (formerly Freshworks CRM), a cloud-based CRM for your sales and marketing teams. Freshsales helps businesses scale faster and puts refreshing business software in the hands of small businesses, as well as enterprises. 

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use, ready-to-use CRM (plus a 21-day free trial to start off with), we’re here.

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