Congratulations! You’ve decided to purchase a customer relationship management (CRM) software package for your company. Now comes the hard part—Which one? There are many types of CRM software available: some are general, some are industry-specific; some are standalone, some are cloud-based. As a new adventurer into the CRM world, how do you know which one is right for you?
CRM software can be as basic or as feature-laden as you want it to be. However, regardless of the size of your business or what industry you are in, here are five essential features to look for when purchasing a CRM solution.
Customer Data and Contact Management
This is the top feature to consider. After all, managing customer data and contacts is exactly what CRM software is supposed to do. At a minimum, the software you select should have a searchable database of customer information including contact data, interaction history and timelines, customer history (i.e., sales and contracts), and document management. Other advantageous functions include contact groups, customer/data segmentation capabilities, and email integration.
Task Management/Workflow Automation
CRM software is invaluable in assigning and tracking tasks across employees, departments, and entire organizations. Workflow management functions include daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly scheduling; creating alerts; creating and assigning tasks among employees; and tracking account workflow histories. The software should be able to integrate with other organizational calendar and scheduling programs.
Employee Tracking and Reporting
The top CRM software packages can track employee activities and performance, such as how many new contacts are added and how often employees access and contribute to the organizational knowledge base. They can also easily generate productivity reports so management can assess performance and provide feedback and corrections as necessary.
Remote and Mobile Support
With more and more employees working out of the office, and more workplaces embracing the BYOD (bring-your-own-device) movement, remote and mobile support is essential for any effective knowledge base software application, including CRM. For example, sales people need to be able to add to and access contact lists while on business trips or at trade shows. On-call customer service agents need to be able to access the knowledgebase at off-hours and when they are not in the office. Managers need to be able to access account reports during meetings, or even during their commute. Even if your organization has not adopted a mobile mindset yet, selecting a CRM with remote and mobile support now will help you avoid having to repeat the process in a year or two.
Flexibility and Customization
Finally, every business has its own unique needs, and all enterprise software should be flexible enough to meet those needs. Standalone modules with optional add-ons, customized dashboards, and multiple system compatibility are just some of the ways CRM software can be exhibit flexibility. Prioritizing flexibility will help you ensure that the software application you buy now will continue to meet your needs into the future.
There are many other features available in CRM software, including social media integration, lead generation and follow-up tools, integrated sales and marketing analytics, and even competitor tracking and vendor reports. When choosing a program, first evaluate these five essential features, and then decide what other functionality your company requires.
Author Bio: Rose Mary is a business and market researcher with over 20 years of experience. He has been extensively involved in exploring the impact of technological innovations on business organizations, enterprise culture and organizational processes. Currently, Rose is conducting a series of marketing experiments on how web-based tools like ProProfs Knowledge base software.