Imagine a complete view of every digital interaction you have with your customer. Imagine every step of the customer journey feeding data into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) database, powered by a marketing automation platform able to send personalized messages through your website, email, social, sales and service representative experience. Now imagine your current CRM.
The CRM platform marketplace is expanding rapidly as companies pursue this 360-degree vision. No longer important to just online retailers and publishers, industries from associations to educators are investing in their CRM capabilities and resources to acquire and retain customers. Despite the incredible promise of data-driven personalization, only a handful of companies such as Amazon have achieved it.
It’s a journey not a destination
Unlocking the potential return of a 360-degree vision on the CRM platform investment requires long-term view and investment strategy. No matter where you are on the maturity curve, internal strategy shifts and the rapid pace of change within the platform industry means maintaining your long-term CRM roadmap is essential to optimizing your investment and avoid getting trapped on data islands with half-functional processes.
Here are seven things to keep in mind as you map and track your CRM vision:
- Map the journey, in three ways: This time-consuming but important exercise is a foundation to enabling a healthy CRM architecture with clear requirements on the capture, store, score and response to customer behavior and information across multiple channels. Go beyond basic process mapping and include efforts to map the customer experience and technology systems, including all the data elements involved.
- Prioritize the required work. Mod Op Strategic Consulting recommends using an agile framework with incremental releases using minimum viable product-based requirements.
- The data is the product: The data requirements you specify will define the parameters of your personalization efforts. More than just defining the data fields, it’s important to articulate which teams and platforms need to access and update each field at which stages in the journey.
- Assign a long-term budget: Nothing kills a three-year transformation more effectively than one year of funding. The expected payback on a mature and well-functioning CRM/marketing automation solution is huge, but requires consistent investment. Unfortunately, many organizations stall along their journey and are forced to islands of data and engagement journeys.
- Use metrics to track long-term progress: % adoption (data, activity, customer journey), response rates, revenue generated, op cost of key teams. Here’s a good CRM dashboard primer from Salesforce.
- Pay attention to the CRM industry roadmap. The technical landscape continues to rapidly evolve for CRM and the larger digital infrastructure of channels, dominant publishers, attribution, reporting and data integration. What seems impossible now may be just two releases away. Staying current with your technology providers roadmap can help you sequence your own roadmap and avoid costly customization.
- Include the entire organization: Companies often choose to launch CRM in sales and marketing to quickly realize an ROI. While this makes sense, it’s important to include other key functions in the ongoing roadmap discussion and continue to strive for a comprehensive rollout that includes marketing, sales and service. For example, universities and associations who first launch CRM in marketing are often surprised by the prospect/customer profile gap caused by issuing a second studentname.edu email address.
Companies rushing to build out their CRM platforms are like get stuck along the way. Take the time to update and maintain a thoughtful roadmap to manage change and deliver on that 360-degree vision.