How to Build your CRM Strategy (+10 Example CRM Goals)

Best Practices

Building Your CRM Strategy

Companies that buy customer relationship management software without having a clearly defined strategy might not reap the revenue-boosting, cost-saving benefits of their CRM tool. A vision with clearly defined goals, robust employee onboarding and strong executive knowledge of CRM strategy is essential for success.

In this article, you’ll learn what a strategy for CRM is, its benefits and how to design one. To further illustrate the point, there are 10 example goals to help you see how a strategy will maximize ROI on your CRM investment.


In a hurry? Jump to the sample strategies.

What is a CRM strategy?

Man working on data imagery.

A CRM strategy is a cross-departmental plan of action to help a business grow revenue, increase profits and improve internal processes. This is achieved by taking a data-driven approach to learning about your clientele in-depth and using that information to strengthen customer relationships. In turn, a strategy for your CRM helps leaders streamline data, identify redundant processes and automate workflows so they can focus on the most profitable actions.  

When your company’s end-to-end customer experience inspires positive feelings in your prospects and loyal customers alike, the results can be game-changing. CRM software gives you a clear vision of each lead, the ability to manage communications across channels and a hub for customer data that all departments can access. Plus, with all that high-quality data about each lead, you can deliver personalized, slick customer service and support.

A CRM strategy helps you make the most of the technology you have so you convert more leads, retain more customers and send revenue skyrocketing.

Why do you need a CRM strategy?

A CRM strategy is essential for businesses for several reasons:

  1. Improved Customer Understanding: A CRM strategy allows businesses to gather and organize customer data in a centralized system. This data includes customer preferences, purchase history, communication history, and other relevant information. By analyzing this data, businesses can gain insights into customer behavior, needs, and preferences, which helps in better understanding and segmenting the customer base.
  2. Enhanced Customer Engagement: With a CRM strategy, businesses can engage with their customers more effectively. By having a comprehensive view of customer interactions and preferences, businesses can personalize their communication and marketing efforts. This enables them to deliver targeted messages, promotions, and offers, resulting in higher customer engagement and satisfaction.
  3. Streamlined Sales and Marketing Processes: CRM systems provide tools and functions to automate and streamline sales and marketing processes. This includes lead management, opportunity tracking, email marketing, campaign management, and more. By utilizing these features, businesses can improve efficiency, reduce manual efforts, and ensure consistency across their sales and marketing efforts.
  4. Customer Retention and Loyalty: A CRM strategy helps in nurturing customer relationships and improving customer retention. By understanding customer needs and preferences, businesses can provide personalized experiences and deliver superior customer service. This leads to increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy, reducing customer churn and boosting long-term profitability.
  5. Data-Driven Decision Making: CRM systems generate valuable insights and reports based on customer data. By analyzing this data, businesses can make informed decisions regarding sales and marketing strategies, product development, customer service improvements, and overall business growth. Data-driven decision making enables businesses to allocate resources effectively and focus on areas that yield the best results.
  6. Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: A CRM strategy facilitates collaboration among different departments within a business, such as sales, marketing, and customer service. By centralizing customer data and interactions, employees can access relevant information, share insights, and collaborate more efficiently. This improves internal communication, coordination, and overall productivity.

In short, a CRM strategy helps businesses become more customer-centric, efficient, and competitive in today’s market.

What Are the Benefits of a CRM Strategy?

A CRM strategy ensures that every action your team makes is done with a goal in mind. It helps leaders prioritize what’s most profitable and derive maximum information from the customer data at their fingertips. 

According to a study from eMarketer, companies can reap the following benefits when they correctly implement a strategy of CRM:

  • More complete and higher-quality customer data: Knowledge is power, and well-managed CRM data vastly improves both forecasting and marketing. Segmenting customers based on data-derived similarities can help you consistently make more sales and maximize CX unilaterally.   
  • More organized and streamlined processes: Breaking down overarching organizational goals into more precise, measurable objectives delivers extraordinary results. Regularly analyzing the effectiveness of your CRM strategy also helps you identify silos, identify obsolete or inefficient processes and streamline workflows. 
  • Higher sales and faster growth: The result of using data to design customer interactions and improve communications is increased sales. Likewise, streamlining processes slashes costs. Higher sales and lower costs equal more profits and faster growth. 
  • Improved customer experience: Using data to shape how staff interacts with customers drastically enhances customer experience. Using information to design delightful, customized content and campaigns bolsters lead generation and conversion. When customers consistently have a wonderful experience with your brand, they’re more likely to return and write positive reviews.  
  • Better customer retention: A strong customer experience inspires a strong connection between your customers and your brand, which leads to higher retention and lifetime customer value.  
  • More leads: When your marketing campaigns and content are designed based on data-driven insights into your target audience, you’ll get more leads. 

We’ve identified a few more advantages that benefit companies adopting and maximizing the potential of a CRM strategy:

  • Provides a high-level framework for essential processes
  • Helps sales teams organize and share customer information across departments
  • Improves your marketing department’s grasp on lead generation, email campaign management, ad performance, customer data and retargeting
  • Allows customer service and support teams to manage information and communicate better with customers  
  • Automates manual internal workflows, customer service processes and elements of customer communication, increasing operational efficiency

CRM Priorities 

For most leaders, the aim of implementing a CRM is to centralize company data, identify inefficiencies and automate time-consuming manual processes with the goal of improving customer satisfaction. However, it’s good to drill down into specific priorities to get the most of your CRM strategy. 

Let’s take a look at the top CRM priorities identified for B2B professionals in a study from eMarketer:

  • Improving workflows: Spreadsheets are time-consuming, prone to human error and overly complex. Using a CRM to manage leads and opportunities, and implementing automation where possible, is a major priority for many leaders.
  • Improving customer experience: Improving customer experience is the overarching goal of any CRM adopter in today’s people-centric market.
  • Aligning marketing/sales/customer success teams: Departmental silos contribute to low productivity and missed opportunities. Many leaders adopt a CRM to align teams
  • Reducing costs: All the actions mentioned above can either reduce costs or increase revenue, which are top priorities for all businesses. 
  • Consolidating technology: If you’re still pulling data from email, phone, social media and various software platforms, you’re wasting time and money. CRM technology and strategy are often implemented to consolidate technology. 
  • Unifying customer data: Businesses want to streamline customer data to make it more accessible for all departments.  
  • Improving adoption and utilization: Unless you designed the CRM yourself, there’s going to be a learning curve in the beginning. Many leaders are keen to make the most of their CRM and want to improve adoption. 

How to build a Successful CRM strategy

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Developing a powerful CRM strategy requires a clear vision and goals for your team to work toward. It’s an ongoing effort that will evolve as market demands shift and your company grows, so you should continually measure its success and refine it accordingly. Before getting started, you should audit your business model to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (also called SWOT analysis): 

  1. Strengths: What are your organizations internal attributes and resources that give it a competitive advantage or unique capabilities? Strengths could include factors such as a strong brand reputation, skilled workforce, innovative products or services, efficient processes, or a loyal customer base.
  2. Weaknesses: What internal factors that hinder the performance or competitive position of your organization? Weaknesses may include aspects like limited financial resources, outdated technology, poor brand perception, lack of expertise, or inefficient internal processes.
  3. Opportunities: What external factors and situations have the potential to bring positive outcomes or advantages to your organization? Opportunities could arise from market trends, technological advancements, changes in regulations, new partnerships, emerging customer needs, or untapped market segments. For example, Zoom was just establishing itself as a strong player in online meetings when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The pandemic was an opportunity.
  4. Threats: What external factors or challenges pose risks or obstacles to your success? Threats may come from factors such as intense competition, economic downturns, changing consumer preferences, disruptive technologies, legal or regulatory changes, or negative publicity. As with the previous example, a threat for an airline booking service would be a drop off in travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to provide a structured framework for assessing the current situation and identifying key factors that impact the entity’s performance. By conducting a SWOT analysis, organizations can gain a comprehensive understanding of their internal strengths and weaknesses as well as external opportunities and threats. This analysis serves as a basis for developing strategies to capitalize on strengths, address weaknesses, seize opportunities, and mitigate threats.

In this case, your SWOT should be done through the lens of the ways a CRM can have an impact on your business.

Below is a nine-step guide to building a successful CRM strategy.

1. Define Your CRM Goals

Defining CRM objectives is the first and most critical element of implementing a CRM strategy. You need a clear vision, with KPIs, to inspire a sense of purpose and ensure the actions you and your team make are aligned and profitable. Train employees on SMART goals to help ensure the objectives are beneficial:

  • Specific – call out the specific metric you will use
  • Measurable – describe how you will measure it
  • Actionable – this goal can be acted upon with existing resources
  • Realistic – this goal is something than can be accomplished
  • Time-boxed – this goal has a date or period associated with it

Following this system ensures that all actions contribute to the goal in a meaningful way. SMART goals are quantifiable, achievable and can help you identify inefficiencies and bottlenecks in your current processes.

2. Map Your Customer Journey

Know thy audience is the first rule of marketing, but in today’s competitive economy, you should go a step further and map customer journeys with your goals in mind. Creating these maps is about seeing your end-to-end customer journey through the eyes of a prospect and identifying its strengths and weaknesses. It provides a realistic perspective of your current customer experience and allows you to refine it in line with your KPIs and customer expectations.

This exercise is best performed in a collaborative environment where teams are working together to document the journey. It typically starts with the marketing team talking about ways prospects enter the funnel, goes all the way through the sales process including billing and renewals, and identifies and documents the onboarding and customer support/success process. This is a strong example of “it’s the journey, not the destination” since the exercise often uncovers gaps and poor hand-offs that may never have been visible otherwise. Incidentally, the resulting document is a great tool for new employee onboarding since it shows how your full team serves the customer.

3. Analyze Your Sales Process

Once you and your team have walked through the customer journey, you’ll have a clearer picture of your sales process from the customer perspective. Use what you’ve learned to streamline the sales process and align it with your goals. 

Again, it’s typically the pass-offs between teams that cause issues, and so this is a good time to examine them. Can you make improvements in how quickly is the sales team responding to inquiries? Is there a better way for leads to get passed from marketing to sales with more context? How long does it take for a closed deal to get passed to customer service? 

4. Identify Customer Touch Points

Use the data from journey mapping to determine which segments of customers interact most with each touch point. Knowing their preferred method of interaction is critical so you can meet consumers where they’re at. It’s also important to take note of who they interact with and how these interactions influence subsequent behavior. 

Are current customers attending webinars? Are open rates on the newsletter stronger in certain segments than in others? Are our customers following us on social media? Are transactional emails opened at an appropriate rate (40-50% per Inner Trends.)

5. Assess Which Data You Need To Collect 

While it’s tempting to attempt to use all available data, it’s not realistic. Your CRM can collect a multitude of data that can be overwhelming. Use your organization’s KPIs here as a way to hyper-focus on what’s important to your operations and growth. Refer back to the customer journey mappings to determine which data is most useful to your CRM strategy. Use your KPIs and information about customer journeys to determine which data is most useful to your CRM strategy. You might opt for time spent on your website, receipts, communication records, service notes and time spent with customer service. 

6. List the Tools Your Teams Use (Technology Audit)

Implementing a CRM strategy can help you significantly reduce the amount you spend on subscriptions for separate systems. The simple task of listing all of the tech tools your company uses is eye-opening for many leadership teams. Typically, you’ll find redundancies in the form of multiple accounts, and software with overlapping capabilities. Can you cut any software that’s not in use and save some money? You can use this process to identify software that is not currently integrated with your CRM and/or other systems and look for opportunities to create those integrations. You should be able to easily integrate the best CRM platforms with existing tech if it’s working well for you and streamline processes this way.

7. Define Your KPIs

Now you’ve gathered all the necessary information, you’re ready to set KPIs. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators. These are the metrics you will use to determine the success of your CRM strategy. Ask yourself, “Based on the issues and areas of improvement identified so far, what are the metrics we will use to see if we’ve been able to successfully move the needle to make positive change with our CRM strategy? You can use the samples in the next section to get you started, but these should be hyper-personalized to your organization.

8. Implement CRM Software 

Now you’re ready to implement CRM software to help you collect, manage and analyze customer data. The prior steps have provided a road map so you already know how to integrate existing tech, gather customer data, access information and share it across departments. 

 Using a CRM platform can help you achieve the following:

  • You can collect and manage customer data, including interactions, demographic information, purchase history, preferences and location.
  • Top CRMs have a dashboard that provides an overview of every lead and lets you create segmentation models.
  • Knowing the above information lets your team preempt needs and deliver delightful, personalized experiences.
  • You can organize customer data and generate reports about customer segments and individuals.
  • You get insights to help teams understand pain points, needs and concerns without asking, facilitating a seamless and convenient customer experience. 
  • By providing a personalized and smooth experience, you can increase retention rates.
  • It can help you identify where leads are in the sales cycle so you can shorten the sales cycle and close faster,
  • Shared and integrated customer data helps every department communicate better with each other and customers.

9. Onboard and Train Your Teams

Even if you have the best CRM software in the world and your leadership team knows it inside out, you won’t reap the benefits without thoroughly training your teams. CRMs have an extensive roster of functions to help you reach your strategic goals, and you should aim to make the most of them by providing employees with as much training and support as possible. 

The timing of training is almost as important as the training itself. For a mission-critical system like a CRM, you’ll want what is known as “just in time” training where the sessions are provided right before the new platform is put into use. This prevents people from learning too early and forgetting, while also ensuring they are not frustrated by the new system in the early days due to a lack of training.

CRM Strategy Pitfalls

Understanding the most common mistakes leaders make when adopting a CRM strategy can help you avoid those same pitfalls.  

1. Lack of Adoption/Buy-In

An estimated 70% of CRM implementations stall due to lack of adoption. According to data about the top CRM pitfalls, training time was the number one challenge when implementing a new system. However, training is critical for your strategy’s success. Every team member should have a high-level understanding of the details of the strategy, its function and its goals.

Optimize the onboarding process and take the pressure off your leaders by choosing Insightly’s CRM solution. Support is available for all users, but the Premier Support plan guarantees success. In addition to long-term adoption programs, you benefit from the guidance of a customer success manager, technical account manager and business reviews.  

2. Unclear Vision 

Not defining goals is one of the major pitfalls for any organization looking to make the most of its CRM strategy. Without SMART goals to work toward, your team will lack clarity, and productivity won’t be anywhere near optimal. Being vague about your objectives will lead to underwhelming results.

Examples of goals that aren’t clear enough include:

  • Increase sales
  • Reach more customers
  • Improve customer service

3. Lack of Understanding

Whoever designs your CRM strategy must have a clear understanding of the objectives, problems that need solving and how the KPIs relate to one another. For instance, having a goal to increase page views by 10% is one thing, but if that increase is matched with a 99% bounce rate, it’s meaningless. You and your leadership team must have a high-level view of the business results you want to achieve.  


10 CRM strategy sample goals examples

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Let’s take an in-depth look at 10 examples of CRM strategy goals to help your company develop an optimal plan when implementing a CRM. 

1. Improve Customer Experience

Sample Goal: Achieve 83% customer satisfaction by 12/31.

Sample Goal: Increase NPS scores by 10% in 6 months.

The most obvious example of a CRM strategy goal is to improve customer experience. Since relationships are at the core of the customer experience, and your new tool is about managing relationships, this is a great way to start. It’s an overarching goal that encompasses a number of processes and can be measured using customer feedback.

These examples includes a CSAT and an NPS score, but there are a variety of satisfaction metrics to tap into. CSAT asks how satisfied your customer is, while NPS asks if your customer would recommend you to a colleague or friend. 

2. Acquire a 360° View of Your Customers

Sample Goal: Create new customer segments and demographics for the coming year.

CRMs are exceptional tools for collecting data, but you should have an underlying strategy when gathering it. Aiming for a 360° view of customers helps you understand customer interactions across every stage of the customer journey so you can enhance your value proposition and CX. Through your CRM data, you may be able to identify an emerging market, or divide an existing market of focus into two based on more deep information you now have. For example, let’s say you are selling to leaders of marketing at a company. You can use CRM data to see that you are having more luck closing deals with prospects that have a digital marketing title vs. a content marketing title, and therefore maybe you should change your messaging to be more direct to the pains of that role.

3. Use Better, More Accurate Customer Data

Sample Goal: Create new KPIs to track your progress every 6 weeks.

While having a KPI about setting KPIs might seem a little meta, it helps to ensure that you’re constantly analyzing success and evolving. Taking a continual approach to gathering data helps your efforts remain relevant and competitive. You may find that a goal established out of the gate was easily accomplished and therefore the goal post needs to be moved out farther. Or, perhaps a goal that was set will be difficult to measure, so we’ll need to adjust it to things we can control.   

4. Create Personalized Campaigns

Sample Goal: Improve prospect email click-through rates by 8% in Q3.
Sample Goal: Decrease bounce rates by 20% by the end of Q4.
Sample Goal: Increase social media followers by 25% by November 15.

Some may say that consumers are tired of generic, bland campaigns, which is why companies are rushing to customize interactions wherever possible. However, consumers have come to expect personalization from brands, and will even avoid brands that lump them in with others. Companies like Amazon and Netflix have created this demand, and smaller brands are now faced with achieving it (with much smaller budgets.) Your CRM can provide actionable insights to help you create emails targeted to specific, high-value customers or your highest-value segments. When you zero in on the personas that are most likely to buy, this will likely show up as better rates on your email opens, more website visitors that are staying longer, and an increase in your social media followers. Your CRM will help ensure you are talking to the right people and will tell you what messages are resonating with them. Then, you can double-down on what’s working.

5. Increase Customer Loyalty

Sample Goal: Increase open rates on customer emails by 4% in 6 months.

When it comes to maintaining a presence in customers’ hearts and minds, useful, informative content is king. Email is one of the most powerful tools your company can use for customer retention, but it’s only effective if people read it.

Applying personalization efforts to your emails, using data from your CRM, can help you increase customer lifetime value and bolster revenue. Did a customer recently add seats to their software account? Perhaps that means they are growing and should be contacted about an upsell to a higher plan level. Look at the data behind accounts that have recently expanded and see what indicators are there, then try to find those indicators in other accounts. Are your email open rates stronger with a certain customer type? Examine the email content and consider segmenting your lists with more personalized information based on customer actions.

6. Shorten the Sales Lifecycle

Sample Goal: Decrease time to sale by 10% in 6 months.
Sample Goal: Shorten your sales cycle by 5 days within a year.

Reducing the time taken to move from prospect to purchase increases the amount of time your team can spend selling. One of the major benefits of having a complete CRM solution is being able to refine the customer journey to reduce the steps it takes a prospect to progress through the sales funnel.

Can steps be automated using workflow automation to decrease the time it takes to deliver a contract? Can lead assignment rules be automated so that hot leads aren’t sitting in an inbox waiting to be assigned? Can your team pull from multiple price books so that they don’t need to manually create quotes with discounts for a wholesaler?

You can also implement new sales protocols to help achieve this goal and measure their success using KPIs, such as site visit duration and time from initial interaction to purchase.

7. Use Automation To Reduce the Cost of Leads

Sample Goal: Decrease cost-per-lead by 10% in a year.
Sample Goal: Decrease customer acquisition cost (CAC) by 5% in a year.

Automation can significantly reduce the cost of lead generation because it can identify and contact leads. A CRM can help you automate a number of processes, such as sending an email prompt to customers who abandon their shopping carts. An employee would take much longer and cost significantly more. Your CRM can also automate lead routing so leads are sent to sales team members instantly. This increases your speed to lead, which is proven to be a metric that matters: Lean Data shows that firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were 7x as likely to qualify the lead. As such, if you can get more from existing leads, your CRM is helping you reduce cost per lead and greatly increase the number of leads you generate and convert. As such, your CRM can help you reduce cost per lead and greatly increase the number of leads you generate and convert.   

8. Improve Sales Processes

Sample Goal: Increase the number of deals by 10% year over year.
Sample Goal: Increase ACV (average contract value) by 10% year over year.

When you decrease the length of your sales cycle with automation, your existing team can work more deals in a given time frame. When you use customer data to identify the types of customers with the highest contract value, you can target your outbound efforts at prospects that fit that ICP. 

Your CRM strategy can go a long way to helping enhance your sales process because you can track metrics such as customer interactions, the effectiveness of sales tactics and time to sale. Furthermore, you can generate reports to analyze the success rates of the various strategies you deploy to continually improve your sales process.   

9. Track and Report Sales Performance

Sample Goal: Improve first response time to leads by 5 minutes within a month.

The new version of “the early bird gets the worm” is “the first callback gets the sale.” Hint: experts say the 30 minute mark is golden. You can use your CRM to track response time by product line, by rep, by time of day and more, and then use that data to improve your processes. Many firms create fun challenges to encourage  sales teams to improve response times. You can revisit and enhance this metric continually, and your managers can come up with creative ways to incentivize their workforce, e.g. a weekly shout-out to the person in the lead, and a monthly prize to the winner.

10. Save Time for Team Members 

Sample Goal: Automate five workflows this quarter.

Another huge advantage of using a CRM, beyond the scope of directly interacting with customers, is automation. Your team has a number of skills that machines cannot replicate, such as establishing an emotional connection with customers and designing strategies. Automation allows your team to get on with these experience-boosting endeavors by taking care of menial, error-prone tasks and simple processes. 

While you need to set up the workflows you want to automate, the time spent will pay you back tenfold. For example, you might automate the process of sending out emails to the team when setting a meeting.  Perhaps a closed-won deal should automate the sending of an email to customer service and a post to the ‘Wins’ channel in Slack or MS Teams. These are both tasks that a salesperson would no longer need to perform and these minutes add up every day.

Choose Insightly CRM to achieve your strategy

Your CRM strategy will ensure that you get the most out of this critical tool and elevate the customer experience. The steps above will ensure that you are on the path to ROI from your CRM investment.

If you are selecting your CRM, put Insightly on your list and set up a free demo and discover how you can grow your business today.