CRM software simplifies the often-chaotic world of website management. To keep things from getting out of hand, you should have an understanding of its most important features. Despite all of the hand holding with the interface, CRM software is incredibly complex under the hood. What feature do you think stands out the most for your needs?
10. Contact Organization
There will be many contacts that you have to deal with, all with completely different information. Being able to organize these contacts is helpful when making email campaigns or groups. Beyond the simplistic rules of filtering by name, you get advanced options to group contacts by specific search fields.
A good way to look at this is creating a filter with customers that made purchases within the last three months of one hundred or more dollars. In a matter of seconds, you have all of the names right in front of you. This can be done as many times as needed, so you could add whatever variables make the most sense for your search. Every CRM handles this differently, but you should always strive for those that go beyond the basics.
9. Automation Of Tasks And Deals
Instead of having to manually input everything, a CRM can automatically add tasks and deals to your current customer list. Not only does this save time, but it ensures that the information is accurate and less prone to manual entry errors. With a more automated approach, you get a database that constantly grows and updates itself. Imagine trying to handle all of these records on your own with manual user input.
When fields populate, you run the chance of the information being out of date. For a growing business, to the minute updates are vital to ensuring customer satisfaction. The instant something changes in a customers account, it should be noted on their profile. All of this is done without taking a ton of resources to complete. It is a software-friendly feature that any good CRM software has by default.
8. Email Management
For the big email marketing campaigns, email management will keep everything neat and organized. You can even repeat a successful email campaign with the click of a button. This is probably the most powerful marketing feature in a CRM when combined with the contact organization. Selecting a different set of people for specific campaigns becomes a breeze when you can sort by those most interested.
Email management is also a quick way to trial and errors some of your smaller campaigns before you let it loose on the world. Users can get a complete overview of past, current and future email campaigns. Set up an email campaign in draft status and leave it there until you are sure about the copy. Mix and match information from your other email campaigns to create the best one yet.
7. Campaign Management
Now, this is where things get even better, and a little more complicated. Marketing campaigns can go beyond the usual email lists. Complete marketing campaigns cover social media, television, radio, print, phone and more. A lot of that can be overwhelming, even if you’re not using a CRM solution. With a CRM, options are more streamlined so that you don’t have to second guess small decisions. From creation to delivery, a full campaign can be created in a CRM.
Use the statistics collected on customers to better serve your company interests when deciding on a target market. Even if that target changes overnight, your CRM will adapt and help with the corrections. Having the campaign management feature is recommended, even if you don’t plan on using it. This is one of the building blocks of CRM that always gets used sooner or later. Sometimes a side by side breakdown of features tells the whole story, like this one from SharpSpring Inc.
6. Social Media Management
Engagement in social media is something that a company can’t run away from, no matter what size they are. Other tools exist that help with getting the most information out on social media, but a CRM excels in how it handles that information. You can get up to date information on your current online presence without having to log in and visit each website.
This is a separate function from tools that automate social media posts and can be a great companion feature to get the best of both worlds. Looking at your social media stats is almost as addicting as being on social media, so be careful! All of your marketing strategies can be brewed while using this feature. If a new problem pops up out of nowhere, you can pivot and make sure it doesn’t clash with your message.
5. A Dashboard Overview With Reports
The dashboard is usually the place where you get a complete overview of the entire operation. Information of all type is represented here, but more importantly, it should give you access to advanced information. You can print out digital or paper reports from the dashboard and filter out the most important information.
This cuts down on time compared to sifting through hours of information just to get what you want. The dashboard is only as useful as the effort you put into other areas, so be aware that a CRM with weak features will have similarly weak reports. Feature-rich CRM’s are a necessity to get this part of the software to function properly.
4. An Updated Mobile App
When you’re out of the office, accessing a CRM through a webpage is a huge pain. Besides issues with the resolution, entire portions of the interface can’t be interacted with on a mobile browser. Even worse than that is a mobile version of the website that is buggier than it is functional. A good mobile website works wonders, but when it is done wrong, you are deep trouble.
A good CRM has a top tier mobile website in addition to a mobile app. Having one or the other is a good sign, and gives you full access when away from the office. They autofit smaller screens without nullifying any of the features present in the full version of the CRM. Whatever you can do in the comfort of your office is now available anywhere in the world.
3. The Ability To Grow With The Business
Also known as scalability, when your business grows, so should the tools. Software can be a bit finicky when you grow the numbers a bit. One of the fantastic features present in a CRM is that it is suitable for small or large businesses. This adaptability will help keep things moving as the business grows instead of slowing it down. Without the need to completely overhaul a CRM, companies can focus on customer needs and marketing instead of outdated software.
It also validates the initial training needed to operate CRM software. The only training needed after that is for feature updates, general upkeep or compatibility. As advanced features are added, the support for these extras will continue to grow. The only time a worker will need complete retraining from scratch is when switching to a different CRM system.
2. Compatibility With Other Apps
A CRM may be one of many software tools you use to operate a business. Integration is important, even if it isn’t a realistic request for all applications. The main reason why you would want a CRM to have high compatibility has to do with the information it handles. This is a treasure trove of some of the most valuable information in the company relating to sales, customers and marketing.
Being able to use that information seamlessly with other products is crucial when operating on limited time. That means having built-in compatibility for QuickBooks, Quicken, SQL Server and of course the most commonly used browsers in the world. The higher the compatibility, the more valuable the CRM software.
Support is an often overlooked but valuable feature of CRM software. How helpful was the documentation? Did the FAQ actually answer important questions? How quickly did a representative get back with you after making contact? All of these questions make up the bulk of support, so make sure that it aligns with your personal expectations. During business hours, if something goes wrong you need to have the support that you can depend on.
Speed and accuracy are one in the same, with time costing money for everyone involved. Highly recommended CRM software will have great reviews and customer comments, usually from satisfied business owners that reached out. Use that as a way to gauge the usefulness of the software with your company.
There are a lot of choices and plenty of time to make an educated decision. It’s better to get it right the first time instead of having to go back and do an entire website redesign. Your CRM solution should have more than half of the things on this list. Settling for anything less would put your flexibility in serious jeopardy.
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