The Key Features That Every CRM Needs

If you operate a business that deals directly with customers, you need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. It’s where you store all of the details about your customers. Past, present, and future customers all find their way into this system, which helps you to deal with them accordingly.

You have all sorts of options when it comes to CRMs. From off-the-shelf solutions to bespoke CRMs that serve your businesses specific needs, it can feel like the sheer volume of choice is overwhelming.

So how do you narrow it down? You can start by looking for these key features that any good CRM will have.

Automation

Imagine handling every piece of customer data that comes into your business manually. Mistakes are going to be made, especially as your business grows and develops a customer base that numbers in the thousands, or even the millions.

That’s where automation of basic business processes helps. A good CMS will allow you to automate the basic tasks that need to be done, but take up valuable time. You decide what these tasks will be, but the key is that the CRM saves time that you would have spent on data entry.

Cloud-based CRMs provide a good example. Instead of collecting customer information from canvassers, and then re-entering it into your CRM, you can use the cloud to record the data directly into your CRM from the point of collection.

Opportunity Recognition

Many companies use CRMs to store information about leads, as well as current customers. The best CRMs can do more with this data than store it. They can identify where each customer lies in the sales funnel, and provide automatic updates relating to the next action that you should take for that particular client.

This opportunity recognition extends beyond figuring out what messages to send to prospective clients. You can also use it to identify previous customers who may be interested in a new offer, or reignite contact with customers that haven’t shopped with you for a while.

The point is that a good CRM bolsters your business by making your communications with customers more efficient. It can spot where you might be missing a trick, and draw your attention to opportunities that you may have overlooked.

A Strong Security System

As a collector of consumer data, you’re bound by the Data Protection Act to protect any information that you receive from customers. As a result, your CRM needs to have security features in place, such as encryption, to prevent malicious people from accessing your customers’ data.

Beyond that, the CRM should also offer a hierarchical access structure. This means that employees at all levels of your company can use it, but only those with the correct permissions can access more sensitive functions, or the administrative side of the software.

Furthermore, the CRM should make it easy to assign these roles. You should be able to specify the different permissions that a data entry clerk has to a developer, and be able to assign roles accordingly via the CRM without worrying about any potential security breaches.

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