Not every CRM feature will be essential to a small business.
The important thing is it can support and enhance your current operations.
Don’t forget about the ability to scale along with future growth, too!
As a small business it can be tough to find what CRM solution is right for you. Every vendor will give you the entire feature dump, where they tell you their software is the best because it supports, sales, customer service, has this feature, that feature, and even walks your dog!
The truth is, you’re a small business and you may need some features, but others you can clearly do without. Your goal is to be able to support and enhance your current operations, while having the option to scale later on down the road.
Customer Database with Integrated Reports – Every CRM will have a customer database where you’ll be able to manage your contacts, but you need this database to also be able to support custom fields if you plan on tracking customers by other criteria than the ones that come out of the box. The integrated reporting comes into play if you want to be able to generate reports based on your customer details to gain better insight into your customer base. This allows you to see what demographics are purchasing your services/products most, and which campaigns have been most effective in driving new and repeat customers.
Email Campaigns and Management – It’s 2014, and if you’re not contacting customers and prospects via email, then I don’t know how your business is staying afloat. Within your CRM solution, a must have feature is email tracking and management. This ensures that every communication you send via email is tracked in your customer details, so you know exactly what has transpired in every single conversation ever. Being able to run email marketing campaigns at some level is a must as well. While your CRM may not provide the same level of mass emailing power as pure marketing solutions, they should have some campaign abilities. This enables you to try and build your sales pipeline and track all customer contacts within a single system.
Buying a CRM solution has become trickier than ever, the barriers of entry have dropped dramatically for entering the CRM market and there are a number of systems that may lack the basic features you need.
If you look for the above features, you’ll be able to find an effective CRM solution no matter your price point. Who knows, this list may even help save you from purchasing a system that wouldn’t have met your needs.
If you need more information, check out our article “Which CRM is right for my business?“, where we go into more detail on how to choose the best CRM solution.
Shopping around for a CRM? Check out the Ultimate CRM Checklist first
The devil’s in the detail — especially when it comes to finding the right CRM for your business. A successful business is a well-oiled machine with a lot of gears, so a simple ten-point checklist is just not enough anymore. Click here to read more.
Why this deign firm are dropping their hastily cobbled-together CRM system in favor of an integrated one
A CRM system built by stitching together many different apps can work, but it can also be a double-edged sword. As this UK-based print and digital design firm found out, the ability to access information quickly and easily is just the first casualty. Click here to read more.