Businesses across all industries use customer relationship management (CRM) software to effectively manage their marketing efforts and customer base, but not every business needs the same features or capabilities for their CRM platform. Whether you’re interested in implementing your first CRM system or switching to a new CRM, it’s important to understand common CRM requirements.
What Is CRM?
The acronym CRM stands for customer relationship management. It refers to a set of strategies and processes for managing your business’s marketing efforts and interactions with customers. Many businesses use it as a way of working with their existing customer base, as well as a means of acquiring new clients.
Read more: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Explained
How to Determine Your CRM Software Requirements
Before analyzing different types of software or developing your CRM requirements document, it’s critical to think about exactly what you want from an ideal CRM solution. Here are some questions you should ask yourself as you determine your needs:
- What do you want from CRM software?
- Do you need help managing customer data?
- Does your company focus on service or sales?
- Do you want to be able to find and reach potential clients more easily?
- What kind of functionality would best serve your needs?
- How do you want your CRM to be deployed?
These questions will help drive your technology decisions so they align with your specific business goals. Make sure to include these questions in your determination process, so you can select software that meets your requirements. Otherwise, using an ill-suited platform could stifle productivity and innovation throughout your organization.
Read more: 5 Types of CRM Software — What’s Right for You?
What Are the Key CRM Software Requirements You Should Have?
Marketing CRM Integration
CRM software should integrate with marketing automation tools. This allows users to see and understand customer interactions that may have happened outside their system, and further track and manage them accordingly. Any CRM software worth its salt will offer robust marketing integration, enabling marketers to analyze customer data alongside other enterprise data for more accurate targeting and segmentation.
Sales CRM Integration
A good CRM should be able to connect with your sales system, either at a data level or for tracking deals and pipelines. If you’re using an outside service provider, make sure the CRM system can integrate with any other third-party tools you use to manage leads and track opportunities. It’s also important that your software interface smoothly with any analytics tools you use to measure lead activity — or even allow users to export data from those tools directly into the CRM system.
Whether you are consumer-facing or business-to-business, providing stellar customer service is key. The best CRMs should be built around ensuring that reps can reach out easily and resolve any issues as quickly as possible. A good CRM system will let you manage customer service easily and keep your team on top of any issues that arise, while also giving you visibility into customers’ needs, interests, and behaviors.
Reporting and Analytics Tools
Without a reporting and analytics system, a lot of data collected in a CRM goes unused. A good reporting and analytics system gives you insight into all aspects of your company, so you know when something needs addressing or adjusting. It allows you to make better decisions with less effort.
Read more: Best Predictive Analytics Software for 2021
Email is one of your most powerful tools in helping you build relationships with customers. Having email integration in your CRM can greatly increase productivity and efficiency while reducing busywork for your staff. This will allow your teams to spend more time on customer relations and less time manually managing email campaigns.
Team Collaboration Features
A good CRM should have team collaboration features, so your team can work together for customers. It shouldn’t matter whether they are co-located or on different continents. Good CRM software should let you share documents, assign tasks, discuss customer information, view reports on the go, and more.
If you have a mobile workforce or employees who are always on the go, then you need a CRM package that’s not only easy to use, but also available wherever your employees are — on desktop computers and mobile devices alike.
Integrations With Existing Business Tools
One of the best ways to ensure data accuracy is by ensuring that every step of your process aligns seamlessly with other pieces of software in use throughout your organization. Before CRM implementation, consider how the software will interact with your existing accounting, project management, and other tools. By making sure your CRM syncs up easily with other systems you use to run your business, you can ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy. If direct integration with the tools you use isn’t possible with your chosen CRM platform, be sure to look into integration tools like Integrately or Zapier.
Choosing a CRM Software Provider
Before you choose a deployment option, it is important to understand what your needs are and how much control and support you want from your CRM vendor. If your sales team is fully mobile and rarely sits at a desk, cloud-based deployment might be for you. But if you have a complex infrastructure or need advanced customization options, on-premise deployment may be better.
Ultimately, as with all things in business, it comes down to knowing your requirements. If you understand these criteria — and those of your customers — you should be able to arrive at an informed decision and find a solution that meets all parties’ needs and expectations.
Choosing a CRM system will come down to four key considerations: budget, security, functionality, and integration with other systems. Understanding each requirement will help you decide which solution best suits your business.
Read more: How to Create a CRM Strategy (Step-by-Step Guide)