Tried and True Army Tactics to Use in Your CRM Software

Q: How can you effectively lead prospects through your sales process to become a loyal customer and how can CRM software help? 


CRM Tactics – Implement a strategy used by the U.S. ARMY they call the After Action Review process.


Major R. Kennedy outlines the doctrine of the After Action Review process (AAR) as a way to develop common understanding of what lessons can be learned after an action has been taken.  The reasons given for conducting an AAR are to learn more from training and learn to learn from experience.

This strategy is required in the Army because they know that it will give them an opportunity to improve and if they do not conduct an AAR, the immediate feedback is a wasted opportunity.

Learn to Learn from Experience

Your CRM software is an archive of your interaction with both new sales leads and long-time current clients.  Although most smart businesses use marketing automation as part of their sales process, they must take the time to set up metrics for reviewing the sales experience.

Your Sales Team Needs an AAR

As Michael Bungay Stanier discussed in a recent Box of Crayons newsletter, adjusting to the new sales environment is a challenge that requires constant review and adjustment.  He says that people don’t learn when you tell them something.  They don’t even learn when they do something.  They actually start to learn best when they have a chance to reflect back on what just happened.  That, of course, is where CRM software can help.  In addition, the information can easily be shared too.

With measurement tools implemented in your CRM software, have a meeting with your sales staff and get their reflection on what is working and what needs to be tweaked for better results.  The combination of automated metrics and face-to-face conversations with the sales force, you can better meet the needs of your sales leads.

Here are some of the questions Michael suggests to be answered:

  • 1. What did we expect?
  • 2. What happened?
  • 3. What did we learn?
  • 4. What will we do differently next time?


Give yourself and your sales team time to reflect and be open to new possibilities and choices.  Create standard reports in the CRM software that make it easy to review recent activity.

Avoid the One-Size-Fits-All Approach

Many companies see marketing automation as a threat to individual attention.  When properly implemented, that notion is far from the truth.  Segment your database into logical groups and it will allow you to customize the email campaign specifically to support each individual group.  This will increase the relevance of the communication and cause the reader to feel like you really “get” them.

In a 2013 study by Direct Marketing News, these insights were gained about customer loyalty:

  • Although loyalty programs have grown by more than 25 per cent in the past two years, activity has dropped.
  • Activity within the last 12 months has fallen 4.3 per cent.

What the study reveals is that companies do not get “loyalty” from their loyalty programs.  They need to strengthen the appeal with more innovation and relevancy.

It is only with a fully implemented online CRM software that is integrated with your email campaign that you can collect data, generate reports and review the critical information about your sales leads.

Companies need to see marketing automation as much more than a method for increasing sales alone.  Better customer relationships and intelligence into the preferences of the customer will help your revenue grow and retain customer loyalty.