13 Critical Components of CRM Architecture for Businesses

A customer relationship management (CRM) architecture is the foundation of any successful business. Without a clear and well-planned CRM system implementation, it could lead to low adoption rates with your employees and actually cause bottlenecks in your workflow. In this blog post I will discuss 13 critical components that every business should think about when setting up a CRM for the perfect implementation.

CRM Architecture

What are the major components of CRM architecture?

Here are the following key components of a good CRM architecture:
  • Choosing a CRM platform and defining how you will use it. Will it be used primary as a database or will you be using it for your marketing automation needs as well?
  • Determining who you want to interact with on this system - Leads? Customers? Staff members? Vendors? Partnerships ? All of them or specific groups of people in different ways?
  • Deciding the flow of your workflows and automations.
  • How will your contacts be segmented? Segmentation will help you quickly find certain groups of contacts to send messages to. You can also use different types of segmentation for reporting.
  • Choosing what reports you want to have and the different types of reports for each of your users.

Now that we've laid out what these elements are, let's dive into the details.

1. First Start With Mapping Out Your Business Processes

The first thing you should do is map out your current business processes. What are the steps? In what order do you go through them to get things done as a whole and individually?

This will be an essential part in your CRM architecture. You want to have a clear idea of where everything is going and how every step connects with the others so you can create an efficient system that will accommodate for future growth as well.

Having this map should save you time down the road when it comes to making decisions about what needs to be adjusted later on because they'll already be accounted for from the beginning.

This gives you a clear idea of how your data will flow through multiple processes and will help you avoid duplicating records or other errors.

For example, filtering out duplicate records is an excellent way of reducing errors in reports - and making sure that every business process has the information it needs to function smoothly.
Tagging and Segmentation of Your Contacts

2. A Well Thought Out Segmentation and Tagging Process

Every company needs a clear segmentation process in order to keep their CRM software organized from day one and tags are a crucial part of this. Before you start adding a bunch of tags, you should think this process out and how your tags are set up and categorized.

A poorly planned out organization of your tags will create an unorganized mess in the future. This would make it hard for your team to understand what the tags should be used for and they could be used in the wrong way which can cause flaws in your reporting.

One of the best ways to maintain good organization is by starting out with a plan before you start tagging anything. Create a list of tags that you would want to use and then list out categories that they can be assigned to.

It’s a good idea to be descriptive with your tags, this way it’s very clear to your employees what the tags should be used for.

I would suggest not giving free-range here and only allow new tags to be created by a couple users who were part of the initial tag planning process.

Here at Pulse we will provide you with suggested best practices on this when you are getting your CRM architecture setup.

Pro Tip: The Ultimate Guide to Using Tags in Your CRM for Business Success

3. Plan Out Your Automation in a Way That Can Be Scaled

Planning out your workflow and marketing automation in a way that can be scaled for future use is important, especially if you have plans of building a large company. You want to make sure everything is easy enough to update without too much hassle or time commitment from employees and management.

You should keep in mind that not all automations are scalable and some might require more personal attention as growth continues.

The key here is finding a balance between those two sides so it doesn't become too difficult for anyone involved with CRM implementation at any level of business hierarchy. Avoiding this pitfall means planning these workflows out thoroughly and when possible create automations that can be scaled for the future and avoiding one-off solutions.

The automation process doesn't have to start from scratch either, we have many automations that have worked with small and very large businesses. We will give you some suggestions and help you get these implemented which can save you weeks or even months of your time.
Importing Data into Your CRM

4. Importing Clean Data

Cleaning up your data before importing it into your CRM is an essential part of a clean and well organized CRM system. This is sometimes a tedious process but well worth the time and effort.

We recommend the following steps to clean up your data:

  • Remove any duplicate records before importing. In Pulse, it will warn you of any duplicates but it's best to look at this before importing so you know which record you would like to keep.
  • Make sure you have a First Name for every contact. This is important for using the First Name merge field for personalizing emails or text messages.
  • Get rid of any data you don't want imported into your CRM software.
  • Use a column for Tags, and add any tags you would want to be assigned to a contact when they are imported. This will make it much easier to find certain groups of contacts once they are imported.
  • Make sure any of your contacts that have Unsubscribed previously are marked this way so they inherit the same status in your new CRM software.
  • If you are migrating data from one CRM to another, then you should make sure that the contacts are assigned to the correct user and add a column for this on your excel sheet.


I would suggest having a unique tag applied to all of the contacts based on the date/time you import your list. This way if you make mistakes and you need to find this group of contacts you can easily do so.

Here at Pulse, we will help you import clean data into your system and then make sure it's set up to be easily updated by everyone involved with the process.

Find Out How Pulse Can Power Your Business!

Get started with Pulse for just $49 a month and enjoy our 14-day money-back guarantee!

5. Lead Source Segmentation

Adding lead sources is an important part of tracking your ROI of marketing campaigns but this can also get out of control if it's not well thought out. I would suggest keeping your main lead sources broad, for example if you are running Radio Ads, don't have a lead source for every city or different radio station, you can use secondary lead source segmenting for this purpose.

This will provide a good user experience for your employees and there are ways you can streamline and automate the assignment of these lead sources. Secondary lead sources can be tags or even an additional custom field.

If you're going to use a custom field for a secondary lead source, I would suggest making it a dropdown. Dropdown field types have predefined values which will eliminate duplicate entries or misspellings.

6. Creating Custom Fields

Before you import your data you should create any custom fields you need to map your data to. This process should also be well thought out. You need to decide what types of custom fields you want to use for each different data set. For example, a dropdown, checklist, simple text field, etc.

The reason it's so important to think this out ahead of time is because it will create a lot of extra work for you down the road if you ever decide to switch the type of custom field you had originally created.

Custom fields make it easy to filter data by a specific value or to create segmented lists.
Website Form

7. Identifying What Forms Your Will Need to Build

Most CRM software applications have the ability to build forms to generate leads from your website, capture data from prospects or gather more information from existing customers.

These forms could be used for specific landing pages , marketing campaigns, or just general inquiry forms.

You should think about which workflows and automations you would want triggered once the form is submitted. This could be segmenting your leads by a specific lead source, triggering a nurture campaign, or delivering a specific lead magnet.

It's important to note that not all CRM platforms are created equal when it comes to what they can offer in terms of custom fields and building out forms so before starting this step be sure the software is capable of meeting your needs.

8. Planning Out Your Lead Management and Sales Pipeline Workflow

One of the most important aspects to planning out your CRM Architecture is deciding how you want to handle lead management and sales pipeline workflows. You will need a way for leads to move from an opportunity, into a quote or order.

In Pulse, we have fully customizable Project Boards that can help with this.

Here's a quick video overview of managing your sales pipeline in Pulse:

You should also think about who your leads will be assigned to. Do you have a sales team? If so, you can set up Round Robins to have leads assigned in a batting order or based on a ratio.

This should be one area that can be easily changed as you start to grow as a business.

9. Mapping Out Your Marketing Strategy

How will you be using your CRM for marketing? Will you be implementing email marketing and text message marketing campaigns?
If so, you should have a plan in place to manage and set up these marketing campaigns.

Here are several ways you can use email and text message marketing:

  1. Send a welcome email to new subscribers
  2. Use your subscriber's birthdays as an opportunity to send them a special message
  3. Create and send out monthly newsletters with helpful tips, updates, or announcements
  4. Send text messages about upcoming events or promotions that are happening in the next few days
  5. Include links to blog posts on your website to offer valuable information and build trust with your audience

Find Out How Pulse Can Power Your Business!

Get started with Pulse for just $49 a month and enjoy our 14-day money-back guarantee!

10. Mapping Out Your Customer Onboarding Workflow

You should think about what happens once you get a new customer. Creating customer onboarding workflows will help you map out a plan for how you want to handle new customers.

This could include a Welcome Email Series, assigning tasks to team members and notifying them about your new customer.

These workflows will help you save a substantial amount of time and also make sure every customer has the same great experience with your company.

Here are a few examples of how a Customer Onboarding Workflow can improve the customer experience:
  • Simplifies tedious, time-consuming tasks
  • Increases customer satisfaction
  • Reduces churn rate
  • Creates a more enjoyable customer experience
Improve Customer Service with a CRM

11. How Will You Use Your CRM to Improve Customer Service

A well thought out CRM architecture will help improve your customer service but without a plan of how you will use the CRM it becomes useless.

Here are some ways that a customer service team could utilize the CRM:
  • Build out an automated email series so new customers know all about your company from day one!
  • Improve the customer experience with a more streamlined and personal workflow
  • Quickly create an amazing experience by eliminating frustration points of onboarding
  • Create a more enjoyable customer experience

12. Planning Out Your Reporting

When you design your CRM architecture, make sure to plan out what types of reports and dashboards this will need to support. This is often the part that people forget about because they are so focused on getting their data imported first.

This is why the previous steps are so important because it will make setting up your reporting much easier. Plus it reduces the risk of having skewed data and will provide accurate reporting for your company.

This is one of the most important steps you need to take in order to design a CRM that will be successful for your company. Without real-time reporting in place, you'll risk losing money on advertising or missing possible opportunities.

13. Getting Your Team Trained and Engaged with Your CRM

There is no point if you have a CRM in place and don't train your team on how to use it correctly. It will be useless for everyone.

There's always going to be people who need more help than others but by providing them with resources like videos or webinars, any gaps can easily be filled up without spending too much time away from their daily duties.

The last thing you want happening is for all this work put into getting a functional CRM only to find out that nobody really wants to use it because there was never enough energy put into making it valuable! You should also assign someone to be the go-to person in your office for when people have questions about it.

Make the processes easy for your team to follow. If there are too many steps, it will be hard for people to use and it will lead to low user adoption rates.

A CRM is an integral part of any business and can work wonders if you take time to plan things out right from the start.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I hope this blog post provides you with an understanding of the importance of a well thought out CRM architecture. It's important to think about all these components upfront because it will save you time in the future.

If you need assistance with this or have any questions, please contact us and we would be happy to help.