The success of any commercial company is partly based on its ability to manage its B2B and B2C relationships. To do so, a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy is essential!
CRM systems in the form of software have recently become vital tools for creating strong links with customers and for prospecting management. They also help improve productivity within a company and optimise communication between different teams or departments.
If you have ever used CRM (customer relationship management) software, you surely know how important it is, no matter the company. And if you're just learning about CRM platforms, the key takeaway is that they save valuable time through automated processes. But do you really know what features are required for complete management of your business?
10 must-have features of great CRM software
1. An optimised dashboard
First of all, your CRM software should have an interface that allows you to access key business data easily and immediately. With an efficient user interface, the dashboard becomes the heart of the CRM.
It should contain the following data: objectives, current sales, recent customer follow-ups, and important reminders. In short, the dashboard makes it possible to see the sales phases at a glance and to know exactly where the company stands, so you can effectively manage its operations.
2. An organised contact database for effective follow-up
The primary objective of a CRM program, as its name indicates, is to manage customer relationships with fluidity, while following up with prospects.
Thus, one of the key features of a CRM platform is the entering and storing of information for each contact, which neatly replaces hand-managed Excel sheets. This functionality lets you classify contacts according to your relationship to them (prior customers, new customers, prospective customers, leads, etc.).
CRM technology also will help you improve the targeting of e-mail campaigns, build customer loyalty, and closely monitor each interaction with prospects. In some cases, it is even possible to offer after-sales service directly via the CRM contact management tool, or to assign scores to leads based on whether or not they have opened your company's e-mails, for example.
3. Pipeline management to never miss an opportunity
Your pipeline maps out your sales cycle, from lead entry to the sale of your product/service or the loss of the lead. Each stage of the pipeline corresponds to a state of progress along the buying journey and can be assigned a score, success rate, or automation.
This means that your CRM software must be able to present an overview of each stage in the process. It must organise all the data points and automate various tasks, then classify the data according to an order of priority: knowing when to follow up with this or that contact, making a sales proposal to another, and so on.
4. Data optimisation and analysis
A good CRM platform will help you improve the performance of your company, which means that data analysis is an indispensable feature. First, your CRM program must be able to assimilate data so that it can be displayed automatically and, above all, summarised in a way that can be used by your team.
In addition, analysed data must result in a sales forecast report to predict your turnover and the achievement of your objectives, coupled with reporting adapted to what you want to visualise. With this information, you can find out exactly where each sales figure comes from and link it to a contact. Some CRMs even offer reporting that activates a KPI (key performance indicator). This measures the effectiveness of a sales system and allows you to review the situation with your marketing team.
Finally, don't overlook the ability of the program to store a log of company data, with a high-performance backup system. This is one major advantage of cloud-based CRM (SaaS - software as a service): it’s more efficient and secure.
5. Automated and customised sales processes
Saving time is one of the main objectives of any CRM program. So, when choosing your software, make sure that it is optimised for your company in terms of automation.
It should facilitate relationships with customers and prospects, automatically fetch a customer's (or company's) data when drawing up a quote or an invoice, and also allow automatic and scheduled mailings. You can thus set up a sales automation strategy to send automated and—most importantly—personalised e-mails to your prospects.
6. Preparation of quotations
Sales management means quotations. Thanks to your contacts’ information being stored in the database and the use of automation, your quotes will be ready in just a few clicks. You can then send them directly from the CRM dashboard.
No response after sending your quote? Any good CRM software will send an automatic reminder for you!
7. Quick access to sales documents
In addition to the creation of price quotations, all documents useful to a commercial relationship (invoices or e-mail templates, etc.) must be easily accessible via the CRM platform.
Such simplified access means all teams know where to find a document quickly and directly from the platform.
Secondly, good CRM software will offer the option to download these documents, but also to send them to an external recipient or to share them internally.
8. Integration with other marketing tools
In the age of digital collaboration, it is essential to link your everyday tools. In fact, it’s one absolutely essential feature you need in your CRM! Your software should offer a catalogue of tools with which you can connect and collaborate.
These integrated solutions make it possible, for example, to facilitate e-mail campaigns, but also to synchronise your e-mails and calendar. Some CRMs can even connect with instant messaging services.
In addition, you can choose a CRM that has an open API. Giving access to developers, an open API aims to make the software evolve in parallel with the growth of the company and its challenges by letting the CRM program ‘talk’ to third-party software.
9. Collaborative use
As mentioned above, a good CRM platform must be useful for all the teams in a company: marketing, communications, sales, finance, etc.
One key characteristic is therefore collaboration with the entire organisation, and a truly efficient CRM program will facilitate the distribution of tasks between teams and collaborators, to give access to information to all, but also to share events.
10. Bonus: a CRM app to facilitate access
Having a CRM platform is good. Being able to access it at any time and on any device is even better! If you are often on the move and seek extra flexibility, choose a CRM program that can also be downloaded as a smartphone or tablet application.
This cross-device continuity is one of the many advantages of cloud-based CRM options (provided as SaaS), since their use is entirely portable and not dependent on operating systems or specific devices (no software installation).
The 10 features we've just listed are essential if you want to maximise the benefits of a CRM platform and become more productive as a company. Of course, there are yet other features that will further simplify how you manage your business.
Want to learn more? Make an appointment with one of our experts to find out about all the features of Sellsy CRM software, and see how you can develop your business and secure your payments.