Business spaces are getting extremely competitive and volatile, making it even more important for enterprises to lay extra emphasis on exceptional customer services to ensure long-term brand loyalty. This has resulted into a surge in demand for robust and intuitive Customer Relationship Management or CRM solutions. Several businesses, across different industrial domains, are adopting this evolving technology to streamline and strengthen their Customer Service, Marketing and Sales wing.
These days, enterprises not only demand advanced CRM, but even want it to have few but holistic and less-complicated features. The extreme challenges posed by present economic conditions have compelled many businesses to assess their CRM solution from a more critical angle.
Buying a CRM solution is indeed a huge investment, both in terms of time and money. Therefore; one needs to be extra careful before settling down with a particular solution. It is always better to have a good look at some of the must-have features which will guarantees optimum ROI.
Easy to use and integrate:
It makes absolutely no sense to invest in CRM technology, if the employees refrain from using it. Remember, successful adoption of any new technology depends on its virtue of easy-to-use and implement. Therefore; before zeroing down on any CRM, it is better to ensure its ease of integration and simplicity.
There have been instances where a complex CRM system has actually killed the motivation of a team to use it. In fact, a complex CRM with excessive functionalities, which usually do not relate to what a company requires, will result into more and more people refraining from using it.
Quick remote access:
A CRM solution can be called complete, only when its use is not restricted to a physical work-place or specific work station. It becomes very important that a CRM allows the user to enter data from different locations, be it trade shows, or at some onsite location, or at customer site or from an associates’ premise.
A Prefab Concrete Manufacturer in Europe saved 20% of his time utilized in preparation of complex quotes requiring product price to change as per the unit selected i.e. Pcs, Kgs, square meter and meter (length).
Their software partner helped them set up enterprise level software – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, which addressed and streamlined the entire sales process, to manage the hierarchy, internal/external stake holders during the sales, and integration requirements with various other applications, such as Browser based system accessible to any device with internet connectivity & web browser integration with Microsoft Outlook, Mobile/Tablet application for Android, iOS and Windows platforms, Manage multiple quotes submitted to various customers, Custom Dashboards and reports for individual users and much more.
Therefore, a CRM should enable remote workers to carry on business operations effortlessly, even from a remote location.
If remote access is to access CRM data on a PC from anywhere; then mobile access is the ability to access CRM on a mobile device or a smart phone.
This becomes crucial especially for field sales personnel, since they require quick access to sales collaterals, other data from back-office and executive schedules so as to seal the deals. In fact, businesses have to strategically look at how mobility solutions can support an organization and how well they can be integrated so as to optimize various business processes and ultimately the productivity.
Integrated and robust analytics system:
It is just not enough to gather data; it is important to also understand its significance, before utilizing it for taking or planning your actions. CRM solutions must offer business users an access to intuitive decision making analytics, providing actionable insights for both sales and marketing.
A good CRM solution allows the user to choose campaigns and targeted consumer groups. Moreover; CRM with integrated analytics even allows the business to define and execute treatment strategies and determine outcomes across multiple channels both – online and offline.
Flexible and easy to customize:
An aphorism is very famous among the CRM developers and users – it says “every successful CRM solution is customized in some way”. It is, therefore, important that the solution that one intends to implement is easily customizable and flexible.
Robust multichannel support:
The current market scenario has resulted into a surge in multiple channels. It is important that the CRM vendor has developed a robust support system that is spread across various channels. For example, a service phone number is vital, however; in the recent times, it should even include online help like instant chat lines.
Effective campaign management:
Strong campaign management functionality forms the integral part of a CRM. It enables undisrupted workflow, right from initial campaign concept to building, testing and deploying it. Further, cross-selling and up-selling functionality is also crucial for direct businesses, especially the ones – operating from an online market.
List/master data management:
Ability to manage multiple lists is one of the most important feature of a CRM solution. It enables the business users to create and establish lists and even allows list segmentation and data management on real-time basis.
Lead generation and follow-up tracking:
Relying completely on a (onsite) sales force to do all the right things, can and shall prove suicidal. A CRM solution, effective in lead generation and follow-ups through automated communication and reminders, helps your sales force to grab those untapped opportunities.
A “one size fits all” approach towards CRM solutions will rarely does any business value addition. Therefore; before proceeding with a CRM system, enterprises must cautiously plan their CRM strategy and evaluate the technology they feel suits their business needs.
Any shortcomings on either side means a certain failure. Putting an emphasis on various business requirements and better understanding of the technology ensures a profitable CRM implementation.