CRM Requirements – Solutions That Achieve Great Results
Top 10 CRM Requirements
You want to close more sales, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, cut costs and boost profitability. However, like many other managers, you may be drowning in a sea of data and opportunities lost due to lack of timely follow-ups. So, you’re looking for a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that can help you ride the waves to sales and profitability.
CRM solutions can do just that. But only if you choose the right one.
Sadly, many organizations choose the wrong course, selecting their CRM system based solely on features. While there are some critical features, you need to think through your CRM strategy and evaluate other requirements, too.
Let’s start with those must-have features.
5 Can’t-Live-Without CRM Requirements:
#1 Contact and Account Management
Imagine being able to see all the information related to an account at a glance. In one place, you’d be able to access all the contacts within that account, activities, opportunities, quotes and sales.
Or, perhaps you’d like to segment your accounts by criteria, such as size or industry, so that you can tailor your marketing and sales approach. Your CRM system should enable you to do this by searching on any characteristic included in standard and custom fields.
Also, you’ll want to drill down further and amass information about your contacts. After all, relationship building is critical to closing sales as well as retaining and growing business.
#2 Activity Tracking
In the constant treadmill of today’s business world, it never seems like there’s enough time to get everything done. And as we multitask our way through the day, it’s easy for critical tasks to slip through the cracks.
However, if you and your team could get a snapshot of everything you need to do, it’s more likely that no one would forget what they need to do. Also, instead of assignments getting lost in email trails, wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could assign them at the click of a mouse in a central portal?
Activity tracking can do all this and even check out employee productivity too. It’s essential to doing business and offering professional service to prospects and customers.
#3 Opportunity Tracking and Pipeline Management
This is where it really gets fun. When you have opportunity tracking, you can view a dashboard and instantly see what’s in the sales pipeline as well as closed sales. This data empowers you to create accurate forecasts. Also, it helps you to determine the lead sources that are generating business, enabling you to duplicate your successes.
You can increase your sales by dividing your customers into segments based on similar characteristics, such as their industry or needs. That’s because segmentation enables you to design marketing and sales initiatives that cater towards a particular audience’s needs. This more personalized approach boosts customer acquisition and retention. It also increases your ability to upsell and cross-sell products.
#5 Ability to Work Anywhere at Any Time
Your sales team is on the go, and if they don’t have easy access to their CRM system, they’re likely to resort to notes or their memory banks. Neither proves to be reliable. You want to capture data when it’s hot. So, make sure that your CRM system works on laptops, smartphones and tablets. Also, it should be cloud-based, enabling salespeople to access it anywhere, anytime.
5 CRM Requirements That Get Overlooked Too Often
#1 Ease of Use
If a CRM system is not easy to use, there’s a problem. Quite simply, no one will use it. No use equals zero benefits. So, you need to make sure the system meets your users’ requirements. Have a definite plan for your CRM implementation process that includes training for those who will use it. This will go a long way to ensuring you meet your CRM goals.
#2 It Fits Today and Tomorrow
After reviewing your CRM requirements with your stakeholders, you should have a clear picture of your CRM needs today. But you also need to gaze into the future and ensure that your CRM system fits with the strategic goals of your organization. After all, it’s likely that one of the reasons you’re investing in CRM is because you have plans for growth.
Be careful. Think it through. You don’t want to be lazy about your CRM requirements and then be tricked into choosing a solution because you might need extra features some day. It’s like buying an F14 Fighter Jet for your commute to work: it’s over engineered for the task and, thus, becomes useless. Not to mention, you’ll be doing that commute for many more years just to pay it off.
#3 Excellent Customer Support
If you don’t have support when you need it to implement and use your CRM system, you are not likely to get the most out of the system.
#4 Dashboards That Deliver
Think through what you want to see and analyze in your dashboards. What is going to help drive your company’s performance? If you cannot create the dashboards you need, you may find your business is running on empty.
#5 A Partnership That Will Prevail
This may sound a little touchy-feely if you’re a data-driven person, but culture counts too. Is there a good match between your company’s culture and your CRM vendor’s culture? The two companies will be working together, hopefully far into the future.
Ask yourself whether the vendor views customer service the same way as your business? Do they understand your needs? If, for example, your company is small and entrepreneurial, you may not feel comfortable with a highly compartmentalized Fortune 500 company.
Make sure the marriage prospects are strong before you tie the knot.