Are you looking for a CRM system for your business, but aren’t sure which features are essential? You’re not alone. With so many different options available, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you.
Likewise, the very concept of customer relationship management has evolved so much over the past several years specifically with regard to how technology has stepped in to automate the most complex functions. For example, in the past, businesses would use a Rolodex to keep track of their customers. Yet today, there are CRM systems that can do much more than just store contact information.
Whether this all sounds overwhelming and brand new to you or you’re simply looking for some guidance, don’t worry – we’re here to help. In this post, we’ll discuss the top CRM features that your business needs so you can take that knowledge with you to the CRM software selection process. Let’s dive in!
For the uninitiated, CRM is short for “customer relationship management.” CRM systems are software solutions that help businesses manage their customer data, track sales and marketing interactions, and automate various processes related to customer service.
The goal of any CRM system is to help businesses improve their relationships with their customers. By having all of your customer data in one place, you can get a better understanding of your customers’ needs and how to best serve them. Additionally, CRM systems can help you automate various tasks related to customer service, sales, and marketing, which can save you time and improve your efficiency.
As of 2023, the top 3 most popular CRM solutions on the market are Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Oracle with 33%, 22%, and 11% of the market share, respectively.
CRM systems are used for a wide range of tasks. Here are some of the most common use cases to consider and be aware of:
- Managing customer data: One of the most important functions of a CRM system is storing and organizing your customer data. This data can include everything from contact information to purchase history. Having all of this data in one place makes it easy for you to access and use when you need it.
- Tracking sales and marketing interactions: Another common use for CRM systems is tracking sales and marketing interactions. This can be helpful for understanding which marketing campaigns are working and which ones aren’t. Additionally, it can help you track the progress of your sales team and see where there might be room for improvement.
- Automating customer service: CRM systems can also help you automate various tasks related to customer service. For example, you can use a CRM system to create and track support tickets. Additionally, you can use a CRM system to automate tasks such as sending out customer satisfaction surveys or following up with customers after they’ve made a purchase.
- Generating reports: CRM systems also have reporting features that allow you to generate reports on your customer data. This can be helpful for identifying trends or understanding which aspects of your business are performing well and which ones could stand a shake-up.
Now that we’ve discussed what a CRM is, as well as some of the most common use cases for CRM systems, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty and discuss which features you should look for in a CRM system.
There are a lot of different CRM software features out there, but not all of them are essential for every business. In this section, we’ll discuss the top 12 CRM features that your business needs right now:
The first and most important feature you should look for in a CRM system is contact management. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s essential for any business that wants to manage its customer data effectively.
A good contact management system will allow you to store all of your customer data in one place. Additionally, it should provide you with the ability to segment your contacts so you can easily find the information you’re looking for.
Lead management features will assist you in recognizing and tracking your leads throughout the sales process. You’ll be able to score your leads and, if necessary, filter them off to a different member of your staff to convert particular leads into paying customers using lead management. According to a Salesforce State of Sales report, it is becoming increasingly important that sales teams approach potential buyers with a wealth of knowledge on hand that can only be accumulated via reporting, analytics, and careful lead management.
Since dead leads may stay in a CRM for weeks or months, a skilled sales manager can monitor prospects and redistribute quiet or seemingly useless leads to various members of their staff for re-engagement, all thanks to these tools.
Lead management is another must-have for companies that are in the business of generating leads. A good lead management system will help you track and manage your leads so you can close more deals and grow your business.
Another crucial CRM function is sales pipeline management, which is particularly useful for businesses with a sales team. A good sales pipeline management system will allow you to keep track of your sales staff’s progress. It will also give you information about which contracts are more likely to close and which ones aren’t.
If you have a sales team, you’ll find a CRM to be invaluable so it can assist with overall organization and efficiency. By understanding which sales are further along in the process, you can spend more time focusing on deals that are close to closing and less time on those that may not result in revenue.
Opportunity management is another CRM feature that can be helpful for businesses with a sales team. This feature can help you track progress and performance across a variety of metrics. To be specific opportunity management describes a system that:
- Allows the user to track all opportunities in one place
- Provides a clear overview of each opportunity
- Indicates the probability of each opportunity being successful
- Gives users the ability to add notes and comments to each opportunity
If you want to increase your sales, then opportunity management is a CRM feature you should definitely consider. By tracking opportunities, you can quickly identify which ones are worth pursuing and which ones aren’t. Additionally, you can use opportunity management to coach your sales team and help them close more deals.
It’s likely your company would benefit from account management as well, which describes a system that stores all customer data in one place. It typically also provides:
- The ability to segment customers by account type
- The ability to view a customer’s purchase history
- The ability to add notes and comments to each account
If you want to improve your customer relationships, then account management is a CRM feature you should look for. By storing all of your customer data in one place, you can quickly access the information you need. Additionally, you can use account management to segment your customers so you can provide them with tailored service.
Sales and marketing reports combine all of your sales and marketing information together, which is included with every CRM we’ve looked at. The more report types you can access, the better. A few common report types include leads generated during a given time, sales that occurred during a given time, calls made, emails clicked, and so forth.
Analytics, on the other hand, provide valuable info about your customers and prospects. This information is essential since it may assist you in making better selections about the items, services, marketing, and overall communications that you provide to your consumers. Key attributes to look for here include profit and loss data, ROI, web analytics, and customer segmentation.
The importance of reporting and analytics is proven by adoption rates. According to a study conducted by SoftClouds, 82% of companies surveyed actively use CRMs for sales reporting, specifically.
Reporting and analytics are necessary for any business that wants to make data-driven decisions. By having access to reports, you can track your progress and performance over time. Additionally, you can use reporting and analytics to identify areas of improvement for your business.
Mobile CRM is another feature that can be helpful for businesses of all sizes. A good mobile CRM system will allow you to access your customer data from your mobile device. Additionally, it will provide you with the ability to manage your sales team and track their performance while you’re on the go.
In fact, according to Algoworks, 81% of those surveyed indicated they now use CRM software on multiple devices – not just desktops.
Mobile compatibility is key for being an effective manager and/or general overseer for projects and teams. Being available to answer vital questions while on-the-go is imperative at times. However, this level of accessibility can be helpful for team members as well, and a CRM with a mobile app means everyone will be on the same page, no matter where they are.
You’ll save your marketing team time if you have a social media monitoring system built into your CRM since they won’t need to move platforms to perform the fundamental function of monitoring your company’s social media. Good social integration often includes social listening, social analytics regarding likes, comments, mentions, shares, etc, and customer identification. You’ll also likely find social media scheduling tools included.
Social media integration is a must for businesses that want to improve their customer relationships. By connecting your CRM with your social media accounts, you can quickly respond to customers and resolve any issues they may be having. Additionally, you can use social media integration to track interactions and monitor sentiment.
Sales CRM software may assist you in gaining and keeping customers by providing outstanding customer service. This feature gives you a complete view of customers, from the first contact point to the last sale, with everything there is to know about them. It can also automatically keep track of all points of contact, including lead acquisition and closed sales, as well as sales histories, incidents, website visits, purchase histories, and other activities for future reference.
If you want to improve your customer relationships, then customer service is a CRM feature you should look for. By streamlining your support process, you can quickly resolve any issues your customers may be having. Additionally, you can use customer service to manage customer interactions and track customer satisfaction levels.
Often where CRMs really shine is through the number of third-party integrations they provide. These integrations can range from project management software to marketing automation platforms. And, they can provide your business with a number of benefits, such as increased productivity and efficiency.
If you want to be able to connect your CRM with other business applications, then you need a CRM system with good integration features. It opens up your business to a wider range of automations that can save you time, money, and effort.
Oftentimes CRM software will provide customization options as well so you can effectively white-label it to match your company’s branding. This can include everything from custom logo insertions to complete color scheme changes.
Customization options are important for businesses that want to use their CRM system as a marketing tool. By being able to brand your CRM, you can make it an extension of your marketing efforts. Additionally, customization can make it easier for your employees to use your CRM system since it will be familiar to them.
Another CRM feature that may be beneficial for organizations of all sizes is time tracking. A good time-tracking system will allow you to keep track of your sales team’s progress and discover areas that can be optimized or made more efficient through automation or streamlined workflows.
Time tracking tools aid businesses in a variety of ways, including:
- Allowing managers to see which employees are slacking off or working too slowly
- Helping businesses to optimize their processes
- Enabling businesses to find areas where they can improve their sales productivity
CRM software is essential for businesses of all sizes. Make sure you consider the features that your business needs so that you can make an informed decision about which software to select.
And if you already use a CRM, review the features you’ve configured and are currently using. Are there any areas where you can further optimize processes? Can you improve workflows and aid your team with additional automation? Or it’s time to switch to a different CRM that offers a wider range of features.
With so many top-tier services out there, we’re certain to find something that suits your needs and your budget.