Customer relationship management software has become an essential sales tool for businesses. The global CRM market grew 12.3 percent from 2014 to 2015, from $23.4 billion to $26.3 billion, Gartner reported.
By 2020, the market is expected to be worth $48.4 billion. As CRM use has grown more widespread, the number of CRM options available to businesses has proliferated. But no matter which CRM solution you use, a few features are essential in today’s sales environment. Here’s a look at five of the most critical CRM features your sales team must have for your business to thrive.
In today’s sales environment, mobile capability is essential for an effective CRM tool. Almost all American adults now own mobile phones, and Pew research shows that 46 percent have used their phone for mobile payments. Sales representatives, too, are often on their mobile phones and therefore require mobile capability in order to handle sales on the go.
A mobile CRM platform enables traveling sales representatives to access prospect and customer data essential to cultivating leads and making sales from any location. Make sure the CRM tool you use is compatible with the types of mobile devices your sales representatives use, and take into consideration whether your CRM app integrates with other important apps, such as accounting.
The ability to manage contacts is one of the most fundamental features of CRM tools. Keeping track of prospects, current customers, and past customers, can get complicated.
Your CRM tool should enable your sales team to pull up all of your contact data, organize your contacts into groups, and display them in any form you prefer. For instance, you should be able to see a list of all contacts who are qualified leads, or all contacts who have made a purchase in the last six months.
Personalized Email Automation
Most sales representatives have contact information stored in their email, making email integration an important part of contact management. The ability to send personalized emails to prospects and customers on contact lists is another desirable feature in a CRM.
For instance, Infor CRM works in conjunction with the InboxGuru app to both send and track emails within the context of a marketing campaign. Sales representatives can email individual prospects as well as create marketing lists for CRM-driven campaigns, leading to personalized campaigns with higher conversion rates.
Today’s contact lists also include social media contacts, making social integration an essential feature of an effective CRM tool. CRM tools with social features let sales representatives use social following lists for marketing campaigns and to engage in one-on-one messaging conversations with prospects and customers.
Your representatives can also monitor social conversations of interest to your brand and use these as relationship-building and prospecting opportunities.
Opportunity and Lead Management
From the perspective of individual sales representatives, as well as sales team managers, the ability to manage opportunities and leads represents one of the most powerful features of CRM tools. Individual representatives can use CRM to identify the hottest prospects on their own lists, while sales team managers can see hot prospects from all team members’ contacts and delegate responsibilities with optimal efficiency.
CRM tools can also be used to cultivate leads over the course of multiple interactions, both by individual representatives and by team managers supervising the hand-off of a prospect from one representative to another. Having this feature lets companies make the most of their CRM contact lists and leverage them to maximize sales conversions.