10 Key CRM Software Features
A good CRM software will open up fantastic opportunities for both small and large businesses.
Working with customers is an ongoing process that can get very challenging at times. Staying in touch with all of your contacts, accurately diagnosing problems and maintaining the satisfaction of your audience are one of the main activities of every customer relations team. Not to mention that these are not even half of the activities a customer relationship representative will need to execute perfectly if a company wants to see good results.
Luckily, there are numerous customer relationship management software (CRM) solutions that tremendously help teams like these with their workload. A good CRM software will open up fantastic opportunities for both small and large businesses. That’s why all these companies need to manage their prospects and customers with care and having a CRM software help them to truly make the most of it. But, if you want to achieve customer satisfaction that leads to great sales results, you will need to find a platform that has the CRM Software features you’re looking for.
To determine which of these features are essential for your business, we’ve decided to compile a list of 10 key CRM software features you can’t miss out on if you wish to grow your business. But first, let’s take a look at three types of CRM software you can get for your company.
Table of contents
- Reporting and Dashboards
- Contact Management
- Lead Management
- Campaign Management
- Email Management
- Deals and Tasks
- Social Media Management
- Mobile Access
- Collaboration Tools
- Sales Forecasting
1. CRM Software Types
There are three main types of CRM software solutions you can choose to enhance the relationship you have with your customers. These types are created based on the functions of a CRM software – operational, analytical and collaborative. Most of the solutions you will find on the market will feature all of these three aspects but are usually more focused on just one or two of them.
1.1 Operational CRM Software
The main objective of a CRM software is to streamline and automate workflows in sales, customer service and marketing. Solutions that are focused on it have terrific lead management, contact management, sales pipeline and help desk. They are mostly used by managers, salespeople, marketers, service representatives and tech support.
1.2 Analytical CRM Software
If you’re looking for a quality analytical CRM software, it will need to source enormous amounts of data from several touchpoints and gather them into insights useful enough for strategic planning. This type of software has great reporting and dashboards and it can also generate real-time data. The analytical CRM software is usually used by CEOs and executives, team leaders, department heads, etc.
1.3 Collaborative CRM Software
The collaborative CRM software promotes transparency and teamwork among support, sales and marketing by sharing all of the customer information and syncing their activities. Also, it has numerous great communication tools such as chat, social discussion and integrated email. Among these three options, it has the best quality in file sharing, activity streaming and editing controls as well.
2. CRM Software Features
Investing in a good CRM software solution is essential for your business success, however, you can’t just invest in any of them. Besides determining which of the three main CRM software types you need the most, you will have to pay closer attention to the features of these solutions as you’re checking them out. They all differ in features and other characteristics so it’s vital that you determine which features are crucial for your business and find a CRM software solution that provides these features.
Below, you can check our list of 10 key features of a CRM software that every business can benefit from. Choose the ones that are the most important for your company and start your research for your best CRM software solution.
2.1 Reporting and Dashboards
This feature will help you use analytics to interpret your customer data more accurately. With reporting, you can make better decisions or deal better with recent market trends and customer behavioural changes. You should look for a CRM software that has numerous visual widgets as it will help you present your reports much more efficient.
Prioritizing Your Work With These Two Features
If you consider reports a bit overwhelming with all of these details in a certain situation, you can choose dashboards. They are great for executives, team leaders and managers who want to scratch the surface of the key insights without going through every detail of the report. Also, having multiple dashboards allow you to prioritize your work without a problem. A lot of these CRM solutions on the market allow you to customize your own dashboard based on various interactions with your customers.
2.2 Contact Management
A great CRM software should help you manage your customer data in a centralized place which provides you with an entire overview of all of your customers. Contact management is vital because you can even organize your customer’s personal information, interactions, demographics and transactions in a way that will contribute significantly to your processes.
A Good Integration With Your Lead Management
With this feature, you can also set rules to access, edit, save or delete your contacts. The great thing about it is that it integrates well with lead management so your contacts that are actually your leads can be taken further the sales pipeline. You can also integrate it with social media which can demonstrate to you how well your brand performs on these platforms. With contact management, you can also personalize your outreach campaign and segment your target audience.
2.3 Lead Management
Lead management helps you manage all your leads from the first step to the last one. This feature is following your path to conversion so you can always take a look at how well your business is performing. Lead management tremendously helps your sales team with follow-ups, tracking and other repetitive tasks that take a lot of their time.
Moving Prospects Across Various Sales Stages
Without lead management, don’t expect your sales pipelines to run. Your CRM software is fed with leads and it automates these admin tasks to help you improve your entire sales process but also increase customer satisfaction. This feature allows you to track prospect status and activities of your sales representative in order to move them across various stages of sales. As mentioned above, it works with contact management so you can even convert your contacts into leads.
2.4 Campaign Management
Your CRM software should also have this feature as it allows A/B testing of marketing processes from outreach to deployment. This tremendously helps you sort your campaigns to target segments in contacts and determine your deployment strategy.
Having Sales and Marketing Data in One Platform
With campaign management, you can also define a metric for numerous channels, take out the insights which are generated by your post-campaign analytics and focus on your new campaign. If you have all your sales and marketing data in one platform, it’s much easier to plan and manage your campaign structure. You can also automate your recurring outreach efforts which allows you to send customized content to your contacts based on their interest.
2.5 Email Management
Integrating your CRM software with popular email platforms such as Gmail and Outlook will provide you with numerous options when it comes to email marketing. You can capture email messages and go through important details which can then be saved in your contacts or synced with your other leads.
Prospecting and Lead Scoring
This feature allows you to track activities such as opened emails, forwarded emails, downloaded files and clicked links. These emails can be qualified for prospecting as well. Your CRM can process your email communication through sales analytics to help you with your lead scoring. Also, CRM solutions with this feature provide templates for recurring scenarios which significantly save your time.
2.6 Deals and Tasks
Deals and tasks are very closely connected with leads. After all, deals are actually leads which are still at the negotiating stage so it’s vital that you keep a close eye on them if you wish to successfully convert them. You will notice that the best CRM solutions have a straightforward timeline which shows the start, progress and end of every deal and tasks.
Real-time Data Helps with Further Engagement
CRM solutions with this feature will allow you to track deals with real-time data which will help you to further engage your prospects base on their current buying interest. Moreover, you can track deals and tasks across all the sales stages when viewing a contact or simply analysing your sales pipeline. Also, you should have your user permissions if you wish to protect leaks of your sensitive data.
2.7 Social Media Management
One feature you should also look for your CRM software to have is integrated social media management. With it, you can see all of your different social media accounts from one CRM’s interface which makes it really easy for you to manage all these accounts.
Deeper Understanding of Customer Behavior on Social Networks
For instance, you don’t have to log out of your Facebook account and then again log into your Instagram account to publish two same posts. If you have this feature, you can do it all at once in one place. You can get a better understanding of how your customers are interacting with your brand on different social media channels and find inspiration for your marketing and sales strategy. Customers are increasingly present on social media and not having a deeper understanding of it could harm your business.
2.8 Mobile Access
As more users are accessing their apps via mobile devices, mobile-first platforms and experiences, in general, are becoming a priority for many businesses. That’s why many of the CRM solutions have Android and iOS apps as well to provide the customers with the best possible experience. Mobile access is extremely valuable when it comes to accessing and inputting data while on location. The goal is for the field sales to interest prospects much better.
2.9 Collaboration Tools
One of the features you should also think about when talking about CRM solutions is collaboration tools. They will help you tremendously with your internal communication. Whether it’s sales, support, marketing or management, all of these departments can easily communicate with each other and see what the other team is working on to achieve better efficiency.
Centralized Customer Database Improves All of Your Processes
This also implies that you will have a centralized customer database. Some of the collaboration tools you should focus on are activity stream, discussion posts, document sharing, email notifications, remote access, chat, etc. Keep in mind there are CRM software solutions which don’t have in-built these tools but you can very easily integrate with third-party apps to improve your team results.
2.10 Sales Forecasting
We’ve already mentioned sales within many of our CRM software features above, but sales forecasting is one of the features you should definitely check out while you’re looking for the perfect CRM software for your business. A big part of the customer relationship management is actually finding a metric for success. Forecasting allows you to create a benchmark to determine whether the results are measuring up to the effort you invested. You can use that data to decide where you have to direct all of your future sales efforts to achieve better results.
There are many other CRM software features you can benefit from while purchasing your CRM software, but these ten will be enough for you to start noticing big improvements when it comes to your sales result. Make sure you test each of them to find the one that will help you grow your businesses and lead your company to success!
Joel Koh is the director of One X Tech's Technology Management & Digital Solutions practice. He leads the firm's Asia Pacific office efforts in continually evolving and growing new capabilities to serve clients in technology-led transformations.