Have you been Ubered? Has technology reshuffled the deck in your industry? Are you about to become obsolete as some new (or renewed) competitor steals all of your hard-won, seemingly loyal customers?

Digital disruption is the new buzzword in business transformation consulting circles, and for good reason. 

We see business model after business model disrupted by the ridiculously fast evolution in mobile tech. New marketplaces are popping up all over the place, and increasingly faster communication keeps connecting buyers and sellers in new ways. Technology has truly punched the accelerator on business transformation in so many industries.

But through all of this, one immutable fact remains — the customer is king. 

All Roads Lead to the Customer 

Customers today expect immediate answers and instant gratification. You may have a fantastic product or service, but if you don’t put an outstanding customer experience at the center of all your business planning, you will lose. This means the most impactful digital transformation strategy for your business centers around transforming your customers’ experience with your company. 

In short: Make it easy. Make it awesome.

That’s where modern CRM comes in. With a thoughtful investment in CRM technology, you can impress your customers by putting all the answers and insights they need at their fingertips. Regardless of the channel, from classic retail (like your nearest mall) to modern mobile marketplaces (like Uber), CRM technology puts immediate, relevant answers in front of your customer. 

Sounds like a lot of moving parts though, right?

Take a moment to reflect on the fantastic evolution that CRM technology has gone through. Thirty years ago, customer relationship management software meant call center software for tracking trouble tickets. With the advent of laptops in the early '90s, sales force automation became the hot new CRM topic for helping companies accurately forecast their sales pipelines. And then outbound emailing became marketing automation software in the late '90s. 

But what truly transformed the CRM software industry was when companies stopped looking at CRM software as a way to gain efficiencies from their employees. When companies began looking to CRM software to orchestrate interactions between the company and their customers, that’s when CRM transformed from a cost-reduction investment to a growth-acceleration investment.

Your 4-Step CRM Transformation Plan

However, many organizations remain stuck in their old habits, using legacy CRM technology to support separate, siloed business functions instead of using modern CRM as the backbone of a digital, customer-first strategy. 

Here are your four steps to CRM transformation:

1. Transform Initiatives 

Align your business initiatives with customer needs. If a customer-first strategy is at the center of your business, it makes sense that your CRM must follow suit. 

An organization evolving to meet the new demands of the customer — building infrastructure around the sole purpose of serving them — recognizes the customer’s power, and will ultimately succeed. 

2. Transform Individuals 

Put the power in your employees' hands. Your CRM platform must be designed with the individual employee and the customer in mind. 

As CRM evolves to meet customer demands, organizations must remember the equal importance of helping their own people get their job done. The right CRM helps salespeople sell and helps customer service agents deliver an extraordinary customer experience by providing the right information to the right person at the right time — even before they ask.         

3. Transform Interactions 

Orchestrate customer interactions across the customer journey. Doing so brings a customer focus to everything. It orchestrates consistent and informed interactions throughout the entire customer journey and at each human and digital touch point across departments, processes and systems.

4. Transform Information 

Deliver insight with a single view of customer information. Thanks to smart phones, social media and the rise of the digital economy, today's customers are more informed. A modern CRM gathers and organizes information about the customer across all internal and external data sources.

If a customer-first strategy is at the center of your business, congratulations. You’re squarely on your way to fostering a customer-first strategy. 

Your next goal should be to ensure your CRM supports this strategy and positions you to win in this era of digital transformation.