A Guide To Customer Relationship Management Success

How CRM Can Make Business Outcomes More Functional, Easier, and Enjoyable


Want to get the most out of the guide?                               
Take the CRM Maturity Assessment.

Many technology tools proclaim “out-of-the-box” implementation of customer relationship management (CRM) technology functionality. However, CRM is about customers and relationships and the things your team (or people) must do to win and keep those customer relationships. Therefore, CRM implementation must work how your business and your processes work.

Anyone interested in understanding how to buy, implement, and maintain CRM technology guided by a well-designed CRM strategy can use this guide. However, marketing, sales, service, and IT leaders will find it most helpful for CRM technology selection and application regardless of where you are in your CRM journey.

We designed this guide for participants of our Get CRM Right Online Assessment. We describe each section of the assessment and offer further guidance for improving CRM maturity. This guide will help you determine where you are in the CRM maturity spectrum, and help with improving CRM maturity. It covers four main topics:

Getting CRM right

The evolution of CRM, which discusses how CRM has evolved, where it is today, and how to ensure your CRM is on the right track

Getting CRM functional

Capturing the right data, which discusses identifying and meeting functional, design collaboration, business, customer relationship, and relationship investment needs

Getting to CRM accessibility

Making CRM easier to use, which discusses capturing data, leveraging automation, connecting people and systems to insights, and connecting to the customer experience

Getting to CRM adoption

Empowering internal and external customers, which discusses empowering organizational customer focus, making interfaces relevant, making CRM second nature, ensuring value co-creation, and making improvements agile

Getting CRM Right

The Evolution of CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) emerged in the early 1990s as a single database of customer-related information. The goal was simply to store relational data about customers. It was described as providing a “360-degree view” of the customer, as it centralized access to customer information and made it accessible to individuals throughout the organization.

The need for “insights” over “information” has necessitated the evolution of CRM. Companies must understand customers’ needs, characteristics, and circumstances. Customers have become more adept at researching companies that could best meet those needs. Customers want to be known and they want their experiences to better meet their needs.

While CRM has evolved to improve the collection of customer insights, a new discipline has emerged to address the customer experience. There is a difference between customer relationship expectations and customer experience expectations: relationship expectations are based on the type of relationship customers expect, which drive the desired experience. CRM helps define the needs of customer relationships through insight to create functional, accessible, and enjoyable experiences.

In the early days, CRM simply tracked transactions. It must track context and expectations and deliver insights to drive action. This evolution is occurring across three pillars:


Sales, service, and marketing roles, roles across the customer journey, and customers directly via portals, texting, and chat


From transactional and monolithic systems to focusing on the customer journey with insights and experiences


From systems of engagement to systems of record, from data repository to information to insights

The need to understand the customer experience has accelerated. Companies are investing in systems that store credible insights about customer experiences. This trend has resulted in a $60 billion industry. However, experts report that less than 50% of CRM project stakeholders feel the outcome met their expectations.

It’s important to realize we consume information differently and that our approach to data consumption has changed.

Technology must anticipate customers’ needs in real time and in tandem with their lives. Your smartwatch asks you if you want to track your walk when it detects continuous movement. When you ask Alexa for the weather, it understands your need for the local forecast.

If your CRM journey has drifted off course, you can get back on track and get CRM right. But first you must ask the right questions. The key to achieving CRM success is to meet the needs and expectations of those who use it to know their customers and meet their needs. The first step is to assess the maturity level of your effort from a strategy and technology perspective.

Data consumption is on the rise

Getting CRM Functional

Capturing the Right Data

Getting CRM functional involves meeting the right needs, which requires capturing the right data to identify and address those needs. Determine your functional needs. Understand the needs of the people who will use and support the CRM. This requires a clear vision of the functional needs of your user groups and stakeholders. Understand the needs of the roles, functions, and organizations that will use the CRM insights to meet your customers’ needs. Create a roadmap for meeting those needs.


Determine design collaboration needs

by making a collaborative organizational effort to design vehicles for capturing insights that support external and internal customers. CRM stakeholders must be committed to identifying the best way to collect and deliver insight. Evaluate how mindful you are of customers’ insights to make decisions on choosing products and services. Identify the insights to sell, market, and support the right customer segments.


Determine your

business needs

by strategically aligning your CRM with your company’s goals and vision. CRM efforts succeed when they help the company succeed. Determine how success looks to your executive leadership. Your CRM must help meet business objectives aligned to delivering your value proposition, reaching the right customer segments, customer retention, enrichment, and advocacy, supporting key resources, managing cost, and increasing revenue opportunities.


Determine your customer relationship needs.

This involves winning and keeping customers that align with your values. Calculate the amount of money, time, and effort your company must spend on managing customer relationships that do not align with your values and capabilities. Vet the right relationships and win more customer relationships that lead to mutual value, cross-sell, and advocacy.


Determine your relationship investment needs.

This involves understanding your relationship ROI. Track and measure the investment in existing relationships through your CRM. Use the CRM to understand investments of cost, time, resources, and activity in customer relationship retention, enrichment, and advocacy. Then measure its return on customer relationships.

Getting to CRM Accessibility

Making CRM Easier to Use

To increase CRM accessibility, capture more data by making data entry easier and more accessible. CRM is a technology-assisted strategy. Leverage technology to make it easier for people to collect insight into customers (e.g., history, activity, relevant customer data). Look at how difficult this is to do now, and determine how to make it easier and relevant.

Automate tasks and processes for external and internal customers. Determine how to equip people with the insights needed to make tasks easier. Identify tasks and processes that are good candidates for automation, the use of Machine Learning (ML) or Artificial Intelligence (AI).


Connect your people with CRM insights. Determine how to deliver insights from relevant sources to the people building customer relationships. CRM can provide just-in-time data and insights used (by your team and customers) to make relevant sales and support decisions. Find ways to bring contextual, real-time insights to the people that need it.


Connect systems to insights by seamlessly connecting systems that make you smarter and nimbler. CRM can be a powerful insights repository. Use CRM to aggregate insights about your customers, industry, and other sources of intelligence seamlessly and contextually for those building customer relationships.


Connect to the customer experience by supporting improvements to the customer journey. Use the CRM to provide insights into what is happening throughout the customer experience. Determine how it will help you make and support course corrections to the customer journey in real-time. Help the customer get what they need in the easiest and most enjoyable way through various connections and channels of their journey with your company.

Getting to CRM Adoption

Empowering Internal and External Customers

To achieve CRM adoption, you must first empower an organizational customer focus. This involves supporting the functions that support the customer. Determine how you will empower collaboration between the sales, marketing, and service functions that support the customer. Your CRM must provide or support greater visibility into how these functions support the customer. Define how you can empower sales, marketing, and support organizations with insight across these functions.

Make interfaces relevant
by eliminating whatever is

Determine how you will help users navigate interfaces and functions in context with their needs and the needs of their role. Make it easier to access features and applications to help users get the job done without unnecessary navigation and fluff.

Make CRM second nature
for customers, which involves
not “doing CRM”.

This involves embedding the idea of winning and keeping customers through technology into your culture. Make the goal of building customer relationships part of technology innovation so it is seamless to your organization. Determine how to make CRM feel invisible, and perhaps enjoyable, to users.

Ensure value co-creation
through collaboration with

A great CRM system makes life easier for your company and your customers. Include customers in conversations about what they need from your CRM. Systems help users and customers get what they need through efficiency, automation, and greater access to insights. Ask these questions of all CRM stakeholders to co-create CRM value.

Make CRM improvements
agile by building a
foundation for future growth.

This involves creating a CRM foundation that grows with the business. Plan for future changes that can be implemented in an agile, collaborative way through a land-adopt-expand-achieve approach.

How congruentX Can Help You Align Marketing, Sales, and Service with the Right CRM

congruentX can help you to get your CRM right in just 30 days. And it won’t take a big consulting project to get it done.

We help companies to align their marketing, sales, and service using data, AI, and the right CRM for your business. We do this by focusing on clients (not projects), people (not resources), and outcomes (not billable hours). Our unique subscription model and low code power apps ensure that we deliver time and value. And we stay with our clients throughout their journey.

Why should you switch to congruentX?

There are four compelling reasons to switch to congruentX as your CRM consulting firm.

1. Getting CRM right

congruentX guarantees we will identify, and provide a prototype for, a CRM solution that will show 10x your investment within 30 days. If we cannot deliver on this guarantee, then we will not bill you a dime for the engagement.

2. Getting CRM functional

congruentX will ensure we understand the needs of the people that will use and support the CRM. We will engage stakeholders in the design of the CRM and ensure it aligns with your company’s goals and vision. We will build a CRM that helps with winning and keeping the right customers for your business.

3. Getting to CRM accessibility

congruentX will build a CRM that makes it easier to capture and use data, and leverage automation for all key tasks and processes. Your CRM will bring the right insights to the right people and the right systems, and help to improve every step in the customer journey.

4. Getting to CRM adoption

congruentX will design a CRM that empowers collaboration between your sales, marketing, and service functions. We will create a more seamless and enjoyable experience for your company and your customers. We will also ensure your CRM grows with your business.

I wholeheartedly consider them part of my team, and they are embedded within my organization. They have more domain knowledge than some people within the firm.”

Kenith Threatte, One Digital, Director of Enterprise Applications

The previous reseller did not take the time to understand our business, nor were they willing to adapt the scope of work to meet our users’ needs… Which negatively influenced internal adoption.” “The people at congruentX feel like partners rather than salespeople,” “Their partnership approach and their subscription model really make them stand apart from other companies.

Esther Fournier, U.S.LUMBER, Senior Manager, Company Projects

“They were easy to talk to and brought a commonsense approach to things. I was also surprised they actually solved some problems for us in the first day or two with minimal knowledge of our overly complicated CRM.”

Jason Alexander, Director of Information Systems, West Coast Financial Group