Business management is a compelling task that all companies’ owners are to solve. Be it a small, middle-sized or large company, its managers and employees will have to handle multiple tasks and address a bevy of problems. Customer relationship management (CRM) is one of the major issues to deal with. Clients are a business engine, and customer retention and acquisition is in the company spotlight.
Today, many organizations use CRM solutions. The CRM software market amounted to $26.3 billion in 2015 according to Gartner, and it is still growing to quench users’ thirst.
What are General Expectations?
Main expectations of those who use CRM software hardly differ from the expectations of those who utilize other types of software.
First of all, people are looking for a solution that is easy to use. Managers will certainly need some time to train themselves and the staff before introducing the new solution into their daily routine. Training should not take too much time and effort. So, the software should have an intuitive interface, simple and clear enough to get accustomed to it very quickly.
Customizability is another important characteristic. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions that can satisfy the needs of any organization. That is why it is important to find software that is easy to customize. It can also be a software package with different features to choose.
The solution should work seamlessly with other software already used by the company. An organization may not have used CRM software before, but it is clear that it has used other solutions. Before purchasing a new solution it is vital to make sure that new software can be integrated with third-party platforms to facilitate business activities.
Security cannot be neglected either. The higher the level of security a CRM system has, the higher are chances that a company will not suffer from data breaches.
The solution should be available on different devices: PCs, notebooks, tablets, smartphones, etc. Considering today’s dynamic business environment, it is better to choose a solution that a company can use anytime and anywhere.
What Makes CRM Software Good
The list of expectations from CRM software is not limited to those mentioned above. Here are more characteristics that a successful CRM solution should possess:
- CRM solutions should be niche-based. It is good when the same solution can be used by different businesses. But let’s be frank: it is much better when developers design software taking into account the needs of a specific business. It will not take long to make some minor changes in such solutions (if required) before starting to use them. And expenses pertinent to the customization will be significantly lower compared to other software.
- The scalability of CRM software is also crucial. People want businesses to grow, and it is good if a CRM solution can accompany an organization throughout its growth.
- Cloud-based solutions have more advantages, as they facilitate access to valuable data, offer to users enhanced document control, increased collaboration, high data security, and more.
What Do Today’s CRM Solutions Offer to Users?
Nowadays, CRM software developers offer a large variety of solutions. The solutions have many useful characteristics (some of them are described above). Here are some of those that make CRM software popular among users:
- Productivity tools. Users can manage their accounts and contacts, thus, taking complete control over customer data. They view and manage their accounts, customer interaction, workflows across different teams and groups, share their records with other employees, use different information managers (e.g. Microsoft Outlook), etc.
- Many CRM solutions are in English, but some people do not speak this language well enough to use such software in English. Other solutions, in turn, are available in different languages (e.g., CiviCRM), and this multilingualism gives them a competitive advantage over other CRM software.
- Marketing automation. CRM software makes it possible to automate marketing activities: organizations can use the solution to plan, monitor, and manage their marketing campaigns. Other solutions gather customers-related information from social media to use it in campaigns.
- Reporting and analytics. These tools help companies to get a deep insight into their business trends and performance results.
- Open-source components that give a chance to developers to tailor a CRM solution to the needs of a specific company. Such solutions are low-cost and they offer greater flexibility and customizability to users. Some of them (e.g. OroCRM) are already used by B2B companies.
CRM solutions are of paramount importance for every business, as they can assist companies in retaining and acquiring customers. Organizations should bear in mind their needs and budget when choosing such software.
Tatsiana Levdikova is an IT/Tech Journalist at EffectiveSoft, a custom software company specializing in custom CRM solutions.