7 Important features of effective CRMs
The challenges posed by current economic conditions are forcing companies to evaluate CRM products in a more critical light.
April 9, 2015
Enterprises want more from CRM but they want it in fewer, simplified features, focusing on a new goal: relationship optimizing.
1. Simplicity and ease of integration: Unless users feel productive, ther is no sense investing in CRM technology. Nothing hurts adoption more than a difficult to use and difficult to implement application.
"Simplicity and integration into daily routines are very important features," said Nathan Stewart, CEO of Alkemi International.
When his company used a CRM system that was too complicated, the team's motivation to use it dispersed quickly.
As is often the case, "the more complicated the software and the more functionality it had — which usually did not relate to what we required — the more people refrained from using it. What we needed was a simple CRM system which integrated with software that we used on a day-to-day basis."
2. Remote access: A CRM solution that can only be used in the office is really no solution at all. Data must be entered into it from all manner of locations — at trade shows, at customer sites, from partners' premises — and remote workers can't be put aside by a dumbed-down version of the solution.
3. Mobile access: While remote access refers to the ability to see CRM data on a computer screen, the mobile access refers to the ability to see CRM on a handheld device.
This is important for field sales personnel, who need contact information and also may need access to sales, data from back-office systems and organizational schedules.
"Companies can no longer afford to take a tactical approach to enterprise mobility," said Tranquill. "Businesses need to look strategically at how mobility can support the enterprise and how it can be integrated to optimize processes."
4. Stronger multichannel support: Because of an increased need to assist mobile access, technical support must be stronger and available through more than one channel.
"A service phone number is essential and not just online help; instant chat lines are good, too," said Jennifer A. Goldman, CFP, principal at My Virtual COO.
5. Integrated analytics: In addition to collecting data, a user should understand it and see its meaning before use it as basis for action.
CRM solutions must provide business users with access to decision-making analytics, both for sales and for marketing.
"The best CRM solutions enable the user to select campaigns, target consumer groups, define and apply treatment strategies, measure results across multiple channels and build results back into the planning process for future campaigns," said Honaman.
6. Campaign management: A CRM solution should provide powerful campaign management functionality, enabling workflow from initial campaign concept through build, test, deployment and measurement.
7. List management/master data management: The CRM solution should enable management of multiple lists.
"This allows business users to establish lists and also allows for real-time list segmentation and data management," explained Honaman.