CRM 2.0

How to Get More Value from your Existing CRM Investment and Surge CRM ROI

When you graduated from high school or college, was that the end of your learning? Most say that's when the real learning starts. The end of your CRM implementation is a similar experience.

The CRM go-live event is not the end of your pursuit to use technology to acquire and retain more customers, it’s the start of a journey where progressive advancements deliver progressively bigger business outcomes and financial results.

For many businesses, the CRM deployment was designed to get the software working quickly. And that can aid data management, basic process automation and routine reporting. But it's not going to deliver a material impact to business performance or financial outcomes. Not by itself.

For that, optimizing your CRM software for business outcomes is the next step. Our CRM 2.0 Framework is designed to advance CRM from basic transaction processing to achieving the most important business outcomes. It’s a 4-step process summarized below.

CRM 2.0 to Surge CRM ROI


Start with Business Outcomes

Start by identifying the most important business results that CRM technology should improve. For example, the below image shows CRM-enabled business outcomes for the company, sales, marketing and customer service. Take note that the outcomes all deliver top and bottom-line financial results.

CRM Enabled Business Outcomes
CRM-Enabled Business Outcomes

Apply Best Practices

This step is to identify the CRM best practices that maximize your business outcomes.

Research performed for the CRM Excellence Report revealed 9 CRM best practices most contributed to company financial measures and CRM software operational excellence.

CRM Best Practices
CRM Best Practices | Source: CRM Excellence Report

Also recognize CRM best practices are symbiotic. Achieving any one will contribute to others. When adopted holistically CRM best practices lower operational cost, empower staff for increased performance, and improve customer and company business outcomes.

But here's the thing. You need to apply Predictive Analytics to forecast the financial uplift from each of the best practices, in order to know which of them deliver the biggest results.

Using pro forma analytics to show the financial impact from each best practice, as well as combinations of improvements, allows you to compare and rank them so management can select those that deliver the maximum revenue in the least time, cost and risk.

Growth Formula Predictive Model
Predictive Analytics Model

Advance Your CRM

The third step is to configure the selected best practices in your CRM software. Configuration may include some custom entities or objects. For example, to help our clients we needed to build a sales win plan object to improve the sales conversion rate and a strategic account management plan entity to increase customer lifetime value.

Growth Formula Best Practices
Evidence-based Strategy, Marketing, Sales and Customer Service Best Practices

Advancing your CRM value can also be done with advanced applications. This may include apps like a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to deliver more relevant, personalized and contextual offers, proposals or other customer communications. Or you may use AI for intelligent next-beast-action recommendations, guided selling or other guided automation. The thing to remember is that any app selected must directly support the business outcomes identified in step 1 and measured in step 2.


Use Data and Analytics

Lastly, you need to identify the most important key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure progress toward your targeted business outcomes. That may include creating KPIs in your CRM software for metrics such as Customer Experience (CX) score, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), account health score, lead leakage or other measures that impact progress toward your goals.

You can then configure role-based dashboards to show real-time progress, detect variances and suggest next best actions or remediation steps.

Sales Dashboard
Sales Dashboard

Some Examples

Does CRM software increase sales conversions? Technology generally improves efficiency, not effectiveness. At best, your CRM application may provide an incremental improvement to the sales win rate but by itself is not going to deliver much of an impact. However, CRM automation combined with a sales methodology best practice can deliver a significant uplift to sales conversions. Research published in the Sales Excellence Report shows that when CRM is integrated with a sale methodology sellers achieve an average 11 percent higher sales win rate.

Does CRM technology decrease customer churn? Not by itself. But you can apply the customer retention best practice that starts with a customer churn prediction model. And then you can advance from predicting to preventing customer attrition by modifying the model to show not just which customers are at risk, but why they are churning and thereby surface the root causes so the sources of churn be proactively resolved to prevent defections.

These are only a few examples of how using CRM best practices drives important business outcomes and CRM ROI.

A Second Bite of the Apple

The first step of deploying CRM software is the easy part. But getting CRM software to run is not a business outcome. Simply installing CRM software is not going to improve business results any more than putting a new engine in your car will make you a better driver.

Business value is enabled with technology, but the technology must be combined with improved processes to deliver improved business results. In the words of a CRM Excellence survey participant, “Naively believing technology by itself will improve business performance is a fool's errand.”

Until you optimize the software to achieve business results such as acquiring more customers, increasing customer share or reducing customer churn, you just have a tool.