Customer relationship management systems are part of a broader revolution towards improving the customer experience. CRM software helps answer customer queries more effectively and personalize offers to increase the bottom line. With so many advantages, every business can benefit by adding the right solution. 

According to Gartner, the CRM industry was worth $40 billion in 2018 and has grown since then. Your competition is likely using CRM software, so you have to get on board to compete. However, with so many options, it cannot be apparent to narrow down the list. This article will share the essential factors you need to consider when selecting CRM software for your business.   

Integrations for Simple Implementation

Ideally, the CRM software should work with your current software systems. It might be too much of a hassle to change your existing setup just because you are installing CRM software. Most CRM companies offer a free trial period. Utilize this to figure out if there are any integration issues. 

Competent design teams understand the need for integrations, so it is part of their package. It is a red flag when CRM software does not integrate well with modern systems. It indicates the development team has done a lousy job of building their product. 

7 Noteworthy CRM Features 

You will also find unique features that companies use to market their system. However, understanding the essential elements is a good starting point. Here is a quick summary of the 7 CRM features you must have:

  1. Real-time data: Customer service agents need to have real-time data to offer the best help. Data that is pulled from all parts of the system should be centrally stored so that it is instantly actionable. 
  2. Employee data: Software that allows employees to view their hours, performance, and goals is great for boosting productivity. Also, it is a practical and fair way for management to monitor employees.
  3. Customer service: Ideally, the CRM software comes with a customer service department that can help you troubleshoot problems. You are likely to face multiple issues, and help is required to overcome the challenges. 
  4. Customization: Optimizing the CRM to work for your business will lead to the best results. Check to see what customization options are available. Plugins and extensions should be plentiful.
  5. Workflow automation: Setting up workflow automation can save your business hundreds of employee hours every week. They are tasks that are usually repetitive and boring for employees to complete.
  6. Reporting: It is essential to have accurate and readable reporting features to assess performance. The best CRM’s have options to narrow down the reporting based on periods and departments. These reports allow you to make decisions on what changes will lead to more sales. 
  7. Email:  Combining email with the above features allows for effective communication with customers. You can answer questions or send personalized marketing messages. Email is still an important communication method that is not going away soon. 

The list of features above is just a few of the most common ones CRM software provides. They are a good starting point, but look out for more to get the most out of your CRM software. 

Create Features List from Bottlenecks

Instead of choosing a CRM system with as many features as possible, it might be easier to narrow down the most important ones for your business. This can be done by thinking about the bottlenecks in your business and identifying what CRM features can help. 

Alternatively, you can create a goal wish list based on the problems you are currently facing. There is likely a CRM feature out there that will help you overcome a problem. For example, let us say employees are having trouble getting motivated because there is no tangible way to see their performance and goals. The employee data feature will be handy for visually highlighting their progress. 

Mobile Friendly

The CRM systems need to work equally well on desktop and mobile platforms. Employees are now more mobile than ever before, and using mobile devices offers practical advantages. Therefore, it makes sense to have a mobile-friendly CRM system. Furthermore, it shouldn’t slow down any process when employees move away from the desktop. 

It is challenging to provide the same kind of quick data access via mobile because the screen is naturally more minor, and the input method is slower. However, CRM companies are coming up with clever ways to ensure access to critical information is available in the fewest steps possible. 

Also, data from mobile devices must be synced with the centralized system. It allows employees on the move to access real-time data so they can make the right decisions. For instance, an employee selling a car needs to know that the model they are showing to the customer is not yet sold.

User Experience and Interface

It is a good idea to emphasize the usability of the software. The best features in the world will not be worth the hassle if the experience is slow and counter-intuitive. You can test the user interface using a free trial – most CRM services offer them. 

Allow your employees to test the system and share their opinion. Collect feedback and look at the agreement level of using the CRM system. Getting your employees involved in the CRM selection process offers other benefits. They will feel appreciated and like they are part of the business instead of dealing with a system that has been forced upon them.

Can’t Find What You Need? Build it!

You may have particular needs, and no CRM software can help with your processes. In that case, you can build your own bespoke CRM solution. It is more difficult and costly than choosing out-of-the-box systems, but it is a worthwhile investment in the long term. 

You will need to hire a development team to complete the job. The topic is beyond the scope of this article. However, concentrate on providing constant feedback and being hands-on with the project to get the best results.

Final Thoughts

CRM software is a worthwhile investment that comes with numerous benefits. It can improve:

  • Understanding of your customer base
  • Data sharing and accuracy
  • Marketing personalization and optimization
  • Employee job satisfaction
  • Customer retention 
  • Customer segmentation for marketing

The decisive advantages mean choosing and implementing the right CRM system is serious business. You will need to identify your weaknesses and determine the CRM software that has complementary strengths.

So what are you waiting for? Research the top CRM software to see what options are out there. Also, do not forget to join LiveHive to get early access to exclusive free content that will help you market and scale your online business.