CRM software refers to a system of integrated tools that help companies manage their customer relationships by automating and streamlining their customer data and sales activities.
In the modern business environment, CRMs are increasingly important, as they provide businesses with a broad view of their customers and their stage in the sales process. It not only enables companies to understand their customers’ needs better but also helps them increase customer loyalty by providing a more personalized customer experience.
This article will discuss some of the most critical CRM software features to help you keep up with customer expectations in 2023 and beyond.
The importance of tracking and analyzing sales data cannot be overstated. It allows you to see what works and what doesn’t so you can iterate on your product or service offerings. It also helps you understand who your customers are and their behavior before they decide to purchase your product or services.
In addition to helping you make smart decisions about marketing efforts, this kind of data can also help you determine whether or not a new product or service line will succeed in the marketplace.
A great CRM software must provide users with a wide variety of metrics and reports to help them keep track of their business. A few examples include:
- Close rate – This metric measures how often your sales team closes a deal with a customer. You can use this to identify which sales team members are closing more deals or if something prevents them from consistently closing deals;
- Churn rate – The rate at which your initial customers drop out of a long-term deal and stop making additional purchases;
- Length of the sales cycle – It provides an estimation of how long it takes for your sales team to close a deal.
Sales tracking is essential because it helps businesses make data-driven decisions that align with their business goals instead of relying on instinct or other subjective criteria.
You can use CRM sales tracking data to determine which types of customers are most profitable, build a profile of what makes them tick, and then use that knowledge to tailor your marketing and sales efforts accordingly.
When you have a team taking care of customers instead of spending time on repetitive tasks, you’ll inevitably see an increase in sales and customer success.
Sales automation needs to be an integral part of a CRM, which should offer the following essential features:Chatbots – These help with everything from scheduling meetings to answering questions about products and services;
- Follow-up emails – Instead of manually following up with prospects, your CRM should allow you to schedule follow-up emails at specific intervals;
- Notifications – Set up automated notifications that will go out to your sales team when certain things happen within the CRM system, such as a new lead reaching out.
The best part about sales automation is that it’s easy to implement and customize once you get the hang of it. It allows you to focus on the business’ core competencies while increasing efficiency and reducing human error.
Managing leads effectively is essential: it helps ensure that everyone – from sales to marketing – works together towards a common goal. When you have a well-oiled system for managing leads, everyone knows what needs to be done next and how to move forward.
A good CRM software has various lead management tools in its arsenal. Some examples include:
- Reminders and follow-ups – You’ll want to set reminders for yourself so that you can follow up with each lead at appropriate times—for example, after two weeks if they haven’t responded yet;
- Lead segmentation – Group leads based on factors like their location, company size, or type of business;
- Lead scoring – Assign points to leads based on different criteria, which helps you determine your ideal buyer persona.
These lead management features help you ensure all departments are communicating as efficiently as possible—and people aren’t wasting time trying to figure out the next step instead of getting it done.
Sales forecasting lets you see how your business has been performing in the past and what trends might affect your sales. You can use it to predict future trends that could affect your business, such as technological changes or economic conditions.
With that in mind, CRM software should at least provide the following features:
- Seasonal forecast – Predict future sales based on historical data and seasonality;
- Pipeline data – gives you a clear picture of what’s happening in your pipeline at any given time;
- Create custom views – Allow you to create reports and dashboards based on your specific business model.
These tools help you understand the current market, including how demand changes over time and how much of that change is predictable. This allows you to build a model that factors in seasonal changes, holidays, and other factors that might impact your business in the future.
Customization allows businesses to tailor the software to their specific needs.
This means you can use the CRM software in a way that works best for your business, so you don’t have to struggle with a system that doesn’t quite fit.
Various types of customization options should be provided by your CRM, including but not limited to customizing your sales pipelines, adding new custom fields, setting up workflows, or using multiple currencies depending on your leads’ locations.
Sales pipelines help companies visualize and manage the sales process by breaking it down into specific steps. This allows you to track how far along your leads are in the sales process at any given time.
A good CRM should provide users with a set of robust features that include:
- Pipeline reports – You can see how many deals are in each stage of the sales process, how long it takes to get through each stage, and how much revenue is generated from each stage;
- Sales funnel visualization – Shows the path that leads take through each step in the process: from being first identified as a lead until becoming an actual customer.
With a good sales pipeline tool, you can see exactly how far along each lead is in the sales process—from when they first registered as a prospect until they became a customer. You’ll be able to see how many leads you’ve converted each month and how many new leads were generated during that same period.
Businesses are always looking for ways to get an edge on the competition. That’s why it’s essential to keep up with the latest technology, and one of the most valuable tools you can use is sales analytics. Sales analytics helps businesses track customer behavior and preferences to better engage with their customers, increase sales, and improve customer retention.
CRMs should have sales analytics as part of their core capabilities. They should at least offer features like:
- Sales funnel analysis – Track the steps in your sales funnel and the performance results of each step;
- Activity reports – Set goals for various activities and compare them to the sales team’s day-to-day performance;
- Performance analysis – Identify bottlenecks that might slow down performance if addressed early enough.
A sales dialer is essential for companies wanting to increase their lead generation efforts. It automates calling prospects, allowing you to reach potential leads with a single click instead of spending hours on data entry, prospecting, or sending voice messages.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular features:
- Recording – Useful for salespeople who want an audio record of their interactions with prospects and can also be helpful for training purposes so that employees can listen back on their conversations later;
- Calling scripts – Stay on topic and quickly get through your prospects’ needs;
- Incoming and outgoing calls – Connect with customers with one click of a button and allow them to also call you back if any questions arise.
The above tools help your team increase day-to-day efficiency and focus on building customer engagement instead of spending time on trivial tasks.
Lead Qualification Tools
Lead qualification tools are an integral part of most businesses marketing strategies. They help companies identify and set certain criteria for the most promising leads, which can be challenging when dealing with a high volume of leads.
A good CRM system goes beyond just helping you determine the set of criteria – it also allows you to recycle previously unqualified leads and gives the sales team the option to determine the main unqualification reasons.
Sales Time Management
Sales time management is simple: it’s about knowing how much time you have available for each part of your sales cycle and then planning your priorities accordingly.
A CRM system can help by providing you with tools to keep track of your appointments, tasks, and other events:
- Calendar management – Create reminders for each upcoming event, set up recurring events, set custom alerts, and make appointments with your team;
- To-do list – Keep track of all your tasks by listing them in order of priority and due date;
- Events sync – Coordinate and sync meetings with other software like Google Calendar.
Many critical features should be considered when looking for a CRM solution. These include automation, time management, analytics, customization options, and sales forecasting.
By focusing on these features, businesses can make sure that their CRM system is up to their standards which will help them achieve their sales goals, streamline their sales process, and improve customer satisfaction.