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9 features to look for when choosing a CRM solution

Posted by Shivali Anand

October 12, 2021    |     4-minute read (641 words)

The ability to acquire and retain customers and key business partners underlies a company's success. But properly maintaining these customer and partner connections is a time-consuming and potentially error-prone process. 

Many businesses opt to use customer relationship management software to engage and foster connections with leads and clients, making the process more efficient.

CRM solution lets you harvest existing customer data to home in on business opportunities. In turn, this allows you to attain:

  • Lower sales and marketing expenses  
  • Improved client retention  
  • Shorter sales cycles  
  • Increased sales revenue  
  • Higher lead conversion rates 
So, with a plethora of CRM options in the market, what should you look for? A valuable CRM solution should include the following nine characteristics: 
  1. Contact management 
A basic CRM allows you to save contact information, such as names, addresses and social media profiles, in an easy-to-search database. When searching for a CRM platform, be sure to look for a contacts layout that works for you and your company

  1. Lead management 
If you use CRM software, you won't have to trawl through lists of leads on emails or spreadsheets. Based on the variables you provide, the system will select the ideal clients to follow up with. This helps your sales team to follow up with promising leads at the right time.

  1. Email integration 
A CRM that interfaces with email systems like Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo allow you to manage and segregate contact lists while also serving as a primary center for internal discussion. When a customer has a question, your sales rep can look up their prior interactions and other data to provide them with the best possible response. 

  1. Document management 
Particularly if you have an extensive sales and marketing team, this function will come in very useful. This feature allows you to upload, store and exchange documents in a single area, making information accessible to all relevant parties. 

  1. Pipeline management 
A pipeline view is a visual depiction of all your agreements, organized into stages or heads and displayed in a pipeline format. With a CRM system that tracks all your sales as well as the status of different stages in the sales funnel, you can make sure prospective clients don’t fall through the cracks.

  1. Automated workflows 
Automating routine operations such as data collection, marketing campaigns and invoice reminder emails will free up your sales team’s time and energy so they can focus on more important work. Workflows may be automated depending on the rules you define, allowing the CRM software to send emails on your behalf at the appropriate times. 

  1. Sales reporting/analytics 
You can't enhance something you can't measure. With reporting and analytics capabilities, you can create a summary of sales statistics or the performance of sales staff on a daily, weekly, monthly or other interval basis. It gives you the tools to create reports depending on variables such as location, funnel stage and so on. As a result, you'll be able to solve issues as they arise and retain a thorough grasp on your sales processes. 

By reviewing previous data, analytics may also help you design better campaigns. The CRM system collects and analyzes data from surveys, website visitors and social media to your advantage.

  1. Forecasting 
A solid CRM tool will assist in generating forecasts for sales numbers or anticipated revenue based on historical and current data and trends. This feature allows you to set a benchmark to see whether your outcomes match your efforts. It also enables you to make impartial and better-informed business judgments. 

  1. Mobile-friendly
It goes without saying that nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Put this to work for your company with a CRM that is optimized for mobile devices. Your sales staff can provide the most up-to-date information on goods, transactions and contracts, as well as respond promptly to client inquiries, even when they are on the go. 

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