Any company that deals with clients will already have dipped its toes in the pool of customer relationship management. But recently, the features of a CRM system have expanded far beyond storing email addresses and telephone numbers.
A modern CRM system allows you to understand your customer’s needs to offer a personalized experience, as well as analyze your strategies and hone them for the future. But far more than that, automations, integrations, and customizations allow you to streamline all the tasks related to customer relationships. As a result, you can turbocharge your marketing, sales, and even customer service efforts, getting a valuable jump on your competitors.
Kicking off our list with the obvious, we’re looking at contact management — one of the core features of a CRM system. But far from the basic tools you’d get back in the day, modern CRM systems cover a huge range of capabilities, allowing businesses to store detailed customer profiles, track interactions, and segment contacts.
Customer profiles can contain vast amounts of data, from contact details to job positions, passing by IP addresses, estimated salary, and more. But beyond that, a log of customer interactions will reveal purchasing habits, pain points, recent inquiries, and feedback that make personalized marketing a cinch.
By combining the client’s personal data and interaction history, you can get a full picture of who you’re dealing with. This allows you to segment your customer database into a range of categories, which you can then use to customize sales journeys for better results.
An intuitive user experience is a major priority for CRM products as it allows for greater productivity, accessibility, and customer success. The main idea is that you should easily be able to identify bottlenecks, monitor team performance, and gauge the overall health of your business operations.
But an intuitive CRM also means keeping things simple. Small businesses that go for top-level CRM packages often find themselves overwhelmed by the amount of options and metrics on offer. Instead, it’s preferable to have a customizable dashboard so your team can stay focused on what is important to them.
Here are a few of the top elements to look out for when choosing a CRM dashboard:
Real-time updates for more efficient collaboration
Customizable widgets to see the most relevant information for each individual’s role
Interactive graphs and charts to quickly understand data at a glance
Notifications and reminders to keep your team on task without manual intervention
To stay competitive, you can’t avoid data-driven decision-making. Luckily, the best CRM solutions make it easy for you. When set up correctly, CRM analytics tools will gather data and automatically produce detailed reports and forecasts so you can make informed decisions to achieve your goals and strategies.
Analytics is one of the features of a CRM system that affects the three essential components: Sales, marketing, and customer service. Sales teams can use their data to spot trends, earmark best-selling products, and identify untapped potential. Your marketing department can assess which channels and strategies provide the best return on investment and allocate their resources more effectively. Customer service agents can study their interactions and identify pain points, preferences, and common complaints.
All of these analytics not only allow you to see what has come before, but you can also forecast trends into the future. Therefore, robust analytics should be a top priority when considering what to look for in a CRM system. More than data-gathering, it’s about getting actionable insights to propel your business forward.
We may be focusing on the features of a CRM system in this article, but customer relationship management doesn’t exist in a vacuum. For instance, once your marketing team has created a new segment in your customer base, they will then have to create a series of tasks that make up the customer journey.
This kind of job is best left to a series of tasks that make up a project management workflow. But rather than inputting the same data multiple times, CRM integrations allow the same data to flow freely between both systems. This is a key feature of a CRM system as it ensures consistency and reduces the margin for error.
Native integrations are especially helpful as they are designed to work in tandem. But what’s more, as you grow and evolve, an all-in-one business platform is better prepared to work seamlessly despite updates.
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With your sales agents fighting tooth and nail to hit their targets, any technological help they can get is welcome. Sales automation is among the best features of a CRM system to eliminate repetitive tasks, so your team can focus on building relationships and closing deals. Let’s take a look at some of the best CRM features for your sales teams:
Lead scoring and prioritization: Rather than humans analyzing every little detail of a new contact, algorithms will score them automatically based on their profile and behavior. This means your sales agents can prioritize their attention on high-potential leads.
Automated follow-ups: Timely follow-ups are crucial to sales momentum, so launch automated follow-up emails and reminders to appear on top of everything all at once.
Streamlined sales funnels: Once you’ve run a product demo, your sales CRM will automatically send out pre-written information or offers.
Automated contracts and invoices: Reduce manual errors by generating contracts and invoices with minimal human input.
Similar to your sales team, marketing departments have a lot of balls to juggle, so use features of a CRM system to make things easier. A CRM for marketing can be transformative in boosting your return on investment and saving your team a whole heap of stress.
Target your campaigns: With your customer base split into segments, you can craft highly targeted marketing campaigns so your message resonates better with your audience.
Email marketing automation: Read receipts, abandoned cart reminders, birthday wishes, and wake-up emails are just some of the email marketing advances to nurture leads.
Social media integration: Run all your channels from one CRM for marketing where you can post, react, nurture, and analyze performance.
Integrate landing pages: Once you’ve built a landing page, integrate a CRM form to collect data and populate your database without lifting a finger.
In addition to sales and marketing, CRM tools naturally extend into the realm of customer service. By structuring your workflows, automating processes, and analyzing data, you can respond effectively to customer queries and even predict incoming concerns in the future.
Ticketing system: Just like lead scoring, customer service can use CRM solutions to prioritize, track, and resolve customer issues.
Multi-channel support: Meet your customers where they are by using your CRM as a base for phone calls, emails, social media, and even AI chatbots.
Knowledge base creation: Categorize your incoming concerns and turn simple fixes into FAQs or a how-to guide so customers can find their own solutions.
Live chat: One agent can deal with multiple customers simultaneously from their cloud-based CRM.
Analyze your performance: CRM analytics allow you to track and improve KPIs such as response time, resolution rate, and customer satisfaction.
Collect feedback: Through ad-hoc comments or CRM forms, you can learn from valuable feedback to improve your service.
With the rise of remote work, mobile accessibility has become a crucial feature of a CRM system. A mobile-optimized platform ensures that teams can access vital customer data, manage tasks, and stay connected, regardless of their location.
If your initial reaction is to reject the idea of moving away from the desktop, that’s totally fine — we’re not saying every task should take place on a phone. But when pondering what to look for in a CRM system, don’t forget the power of mobile notifications in keeping everybody up-to-date and on track. Your teams can undertake simple tasks such as follow-ups and phone calls, keeping those response times low while offering staff more freedom. As we’re talking about cloud-based software, all your devices will get real-time data access. This means that decisions are made with the most up-to-date information at hand.
So, when looking at the features of a CRM system, consider first the existence of mobile accessibility but also the specific mobile capabilities it contains.
One-size-fits-all CRM tools try to please all their customers and invariably end up pleasing none. Customizability means you can tailor your software to your own needs, and works hand-in-hand with scalability, which promotes growth.
The most obvious use for customizable features of a CRM system is to tailor workflows to your specific business. While workflow templates usually do a lot of the legwork, customizations reduce wasted time and improve how comprehensively you deal with customers. Another key area is in CRM forms. You can get extra data points by customizing forms, as well as soliciting the exact kind of feedback that will benefit your business.
Scalable CRM features allow you to expand your customer base sustainably without needing to revolutionize your whole approach. Investing in a scalable CRM is usually more cost-effective and helps to avoid significant software migrations. However, you can save even more by looking at wide-reaching platforms to cover all your business needs. This avoids the need for multiple subscriptions to cover your CRM, communication, project management, and HR needs.
One of the most overlooked features of a CRM system, data security has never been more important. Breaches into customer data are catastrophic to your company’s reputation and can often lead to legal trouble. As the central hub for all that data, your CRM system has to offer robust security as standard to keep you and your customers safe.
In terms of data transfer, look for a CRM that encrypts data both in transit and at rest. This means that even if your system is compromised, hackers can’t see the contents. On an internal level, secure CRMs should feature two-step authorization so that even if someone steals your password, they can’t get into the front door.
Compliance is also an important factor, both for the authorities and the happiness of your customers. Keep an eye out for CRM solutions with built-in features such as data anonymity and data usage policies.
So there you have our top 10 features to look for in a modern CRM system. And here’s the great news: Bitrix24 covers everything on our list, from contact management and sales automation to mobile accessibility and data security.
But the most impressive aspect of Bitrix24’s CRM is the native integration with a whole host of other features included:
Powerful project management tools
All-encompassing HR software
A full suite of communication tools
Collaborative documents and cloud-based storage
A fully integrated website builder