Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, as the name would suggest, is designed to support the growth of the business while allowing for the maintenance and nurturing of existing client or customer relationships.
Despite it’s straightforward origins, CRM software has evolved from a simple record-keeping, contact management tool into a powerful platform that lets companies organize marketing efforts, manage sales, extract valuable data, and keep employees informed and connected.
CRM software can streamline customer acquisition and contact but it can also devolve into a confusing and unruly monster if companies try to get every bit of value in the form of features out of the software. Although any business can benefit from CRM software, not every feature or function is a perfect fit.
Here are the most important functions CRM’s offer to grow a business.
Simple Integration and Ease of Use
Having to train users, maintain documentation, and navigate unnecessary system barriers can make any software solution inefficient and costly to maintain. Flexibility, ease of use, simple integration, and adaptive components are the hallmarks of any successful software – not just a CRM. Businesses want sales and support professionals to be free to concentrate on service and sales as opposed to learning complicated software. Customer data should also be readily accessible so that representatives appear informed and efficient. Good impressions are invaluable when building a brand.
A good CRM should also allow third-party integration and be easy to use. CRM software typically works with a variety of third-party solutions so that data meets the needs of all the parts of a business. Having to manually export or import data can be time-consuming and also open it up to error or omissions. A good CRM needs to be compatible with a variety of apps and software.
Knowing how long leads have been in the pipeline or what marketing campaigns are the most effective enables businesses to target their marketing efforts, reduce ineffective expenditures, and proactively manage customers and leads regardless of where they are in the sales process. Analytics not only inform marketing efforts, but they also allow for strategic insight into performance.
List, Campaign, and Data Management
Most CRM software platforms will support any and all marketing tools and plugins. Whether managing lists for drip email marketing campaigns or customer data for outbound sales calls, a CRM should offer integration, ease of access and the ability to filter and sort data as needed. This is all essential for sales and growth.
Mobile and Remote Access
Today’s workforce is on the go and CRM software needs to be readily accessible from a variety of devices. Whether a team uses mobile devices to access (or enter) CRM data, or they are a distributed team outside of a traditional office, mobility and remote access become a necessity for any software, not just CRM.
Considering CRM software will house the core customer, vendor and marketing data, it’s imperative that all that data be locked down. In order to prevent data breaches, cyber attacks, and critical loss of data, CRM software should be secure, redundant and accessible in the event of an outage or attack. Compromised data can be devastating for companies both large and small.
While CRM’s offer a wide range of features and functionality, none may be as important as the ability for companies to customize CRM solutions for their specific needs. A flexible, modifiable product is an invaluable tool in today’s ever-changing, fast-moving sales environments.
Selecting the best CRM software features and functionality should be no more difficult than selecting any other software. The core features often provide the greatest value while simultaneously providing the best chance of acquiring customers and growing a business. As sales and relationship building are the lifeblood of any business, a CRM with strong functionality and support will propel that business forward.