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Customer Relationship Management Strategy for Marketers

Published April 8, 2024
/ Updated April 12, 2024

Every marketing effort is aimed at offering a personalized customer experience that fosters loyalty and repeat sales. Without a solid customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, marketers struggle to manage and nurture an expanding customer base leading to missed opportunities.

A CRM strategy is the overall approach for managing interactions with your audience at multiple touchpoints. To manage customer relationships, you’ll need a CRM tool that collates and analyzes customer data like contact information, recorded calls or chats with company reps, service requests, etc.

Irrespective of what you offer as an enterprise or a small business, an excellent CRM strategy helps you:

  • Create personalized products and experiences for your customers.
  • Build accurate customer profiles.
  • Foster quality customer relationships.
  • Track and gain insights from customer interactions with your brand.
  • Prioritize and nurture leads through the sales funnel

The Pillars of CRM Strategy

No customer relationship management strategy is useful until there’s a thorough understanding of the ideal customer. Knowing your ideal customer is central to scaling the first step of building a winning marketing strategy. You could ask some questions:

  • Why are customers buying from us?
  • Who are our customers?
  • What problems are they trying to address?

With these insights, you can segment your customers and deliver personalized experiences that meet their expectations. You can segment your customers or prospects based on characteristics like purchasing patterns, income, age group, and interests.

This information can help you personalize your messaging as 71% of customers expect customized experiences, and 68% get frustrated when they do not. Also, it’s useful for finding new opportunities to add value to the products or services you offer.

Implementing a CRM Strategy

To create an impactful CRM strategy that grows your brand, your team needs a plan. Here are a few thoughts to begin with.

Write your goals and outline the features you need

Why are you purchasing a CRM tool? What do you hope to achieve? Make it as clear as possible.

Ask for the important features from those who may use it in sales, IT, product dev, and other departments. This informs your choice of CRM tool. Some important CRM features are:

  • Contact management: Record and manage crucial contact details like phone numbers, email addresses, Zip codes, and more.
  • Workflow automation: Handle repetitive tasks like sending preset responses to emails or follow-up messages.
  • Lead management: Identify, evaluate, and monitor leads in your sales funnel.
  • Real-time data snapshot: Track and provide data on your target customers’ interactions like purchase volume, webpages visited, and content consumed.
  • Reporting: Create CRM reports with visualization to show you trends and improvement opportunities.

Compare CRM tools

There are many CRM tools like HubSpot, Salesforce, and Pipedrive. Read articles like “CRM X vs CRM Y” (Hubspot vs Salesforce, for instance) or Best CRM tools or Best (industry) CRM tools. Analyze reviews on Trustpilot and Capterra to see the strengths and weaknesses of the software.

Ensure the CRM company offers responsive customer support and an effective onboarding process to help you get the best experience.

Test the CRM with free trials and demos. Is it easy to navigate, secure, and functioning correctly? Does it have additional customizations you’ll need as your company scales, pivots, and adapts to market changes?

Integrate CRM with other tools

Connect your CRM to existing tools like  Zapier, Quickbooks, Monday.com, etc.

Set up a two-way data sync to allow your CRM to reflect all data updates on other tools in real time and vice versa. If a customer sends a support ticket through a customer support ticketing system, this should reflect on your CRM. The CRM should also show when the issue is resolved.

Train your team

Schedule practical training sessions. Use existing resources like product walkthroughs or create training materials adapted to the tasks that team members will complete with the CRM.

Import data from all platforms into one CRM tool like Hubspot or Salesforce and add all relevant team members. Set up user roles and permissions for team members from some departments. Encourage feedback to assess progress, make it your mission to accelerate adoption, and address concerns.

If you run a remote team, consider holding asynchronous training using Loom— this makes it easy for team members to access the training conveniently.

Best Practices for CRM

To execute a CRM strategy that satisfies you and your customers, there are a few best practices to follow.

Manage data and ensure high data quality

CRM data management is the continuous process of collating, organizing, cleansing, and standardizing customer data. High-quality data is vital for forecasting sales, finding opportunities, and creating effective CRM strategies.

Quality data is characterized by:

  • Reliability: It’s consistent, and you can depend on it to deduce insights and make decisions.
  • Usability: It’s logically organized to ease its understanding and analysis. For example, interactive visualizations, charts, and graphs.
  • Validity: The data is accurate, up-to-date, unbiased, and error-free.
  • Contextual relevance: It’s aligned with the organization’s goals and provides insights that help stakeholders discover trends, create solutions, and predict outcomes.

Some common challenges that undermine your data quality are:

  • Inconsistent data: The same information appears differently in various records on one system or across several systems in a business.
  • Inaccurate data: Data entry is incorrect. For example, a wrong address.
  • Duplicate data: Multiple entries for one customer. It can lead to inaccurate reporting and analysis.
  • Incomplete data: Important details about a customer are missing in a CRM tool.
  • Unintegrated data: Data is stored in different places like Google Sheets, the cloud, and a CRM. This gives you an incomplete view of a customer or a customer segment.

To check these problems:

  • Set data validation rules. For instance, phone numbers or addresses should be in a certain format.
  • Make some fields required to collect complete information.
  • Integrate CRM with other systems to automatically record customer data in one place.
  • Schedule routine data cleansing. Delete obsolete data, correct inaccurate entries, and remove duplicates.
  • Create user manuals with data entry standards for instance, dates can be DD-MM-YYYY.

Consider customer feedback and ensure effective follow up

Build a culture of active listening through surveys and sentiment analysis. Keep tabs on what your customers think across all touchpoints. Respond promptly to customer complaints and follow up to ensure they’ve been resolved.

To prevent your team from being overwhelmed with recurring queries, log them and create self-help resources or customer service knowledge bases to address these needs.

When modifying aspects of your CRM strategy, generate new campaign ideas with customer recommendations in mind.

Continuously improve your strategy and adapt to changes

Constantly review your marketing strategy to suit changing market realities, customer needs, and technological discoveries.

Maintain an iterative process to collect customer feedback and incrementally improve your strategy. Little changes in the right direction will produce positive results over time.

Encourage cross-functional collaboration

Promote communication across teams to reduce silos, increase information and discovery flows, and boost innovative campaign ideas and collaboration. This ensures your teams make decisions using uniform and accurate data sources.

Measuring CRM Success

After implementing your CRM strategy, measure its success to know the set goals you’re achieving. Do this by setting KPIs, which track the performance of your CRM strategy within a period. Some common CRM KPIs are:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost CAC: The average cost of acquiring a new customer. This metric helps you understand the ROI on your CRM expenditure.
  • Net Promoter Score NPS: The likelihood of a customer recommending your products or services to others. It measures customer loyalty and satisfaction by asking customers, “On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our product or service to friends and colleagues?”
  • Customer Satisfaction score CSAT: How customers feel about your services. By surveying satisfaction levels continuously, you find areas to improve within your CRM strategy.
  • Close rate: The percentage of leads that result in a sale. It helps you assess how effective your CRM strategy is in converting leads.

CRM Case Studies and Examples

Airbnb (travelers’ top choice)

Airbnb’s CRM helps the company provide real-time support over multiple channels for over 100 million customers. Their CRM success is evident, with 29% of leisure and business travelers in the UK and the US opting for Airbnb.

Eurobank (successful loyalty program)

Eurobank successfully managed a cashback-based loyalty program with over 6 million cards, 20+ million award transactions per year, and 8,500 participating merchants.

Skyscanner (18% customer satisfaction increase)

Skyscanner attracts about 50 million unique visitors monthly. They decreased their first response time from 17 to 4 hours (76% decrease).

From offering support in one language, they can now support 35 languages through their CRM’s integration with Unbabel. They’ve also seen an 18% increase in Customer Satisfaction scores.

Vodafone’s (A CRM nightmare)

In 2016, Vodafone’s CRM suffered an extended downtime while they moved about 28.5 million client accounts from 7 billing platforms. So the company failed to credit over 10,000 customers’ accounts after they paid for services.

Also, with a history of poor customer service and slow response to complaints during the downtime, things blew up. OfCom intervened with a £4.7 million fine, and they lost 55 million in sales.


Successful CRM strategies stand on a foundation of great customer service. Train your team to offer excellent customer service. A good reputation serves as a buffer during CRM crises.

Vodafone should have moved the client accounts gradually, with one billing platform at a time. Consider breaking major changes into smaller tasks to control any hiccups.

Plan for a quick response to possible challenges when implementing new CRM systems. Send out a strategic press release to avoid a PR crisis and communicate directly with affected customers as soon as possible.

Recommended reading: 33 Types Of Marketing Strategies, Definitions, & In-Depth Guides