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4 Essential Features Your CRM Needs to Have in 2016

By Special Guest
Elianna Lewis
March 08, 2016

According to Forbes, CRM is expected to grow into a $36.5 billion market worldwide by 2017. But when it comes to choosing a CRM solution for your organization, despite its size and position on the market, a CRM vendor should have a specific list of requirements in order to offer you a solution that meets your needs and fits your company’s business model.

Apart from a bunch of core must-have options that a CRM solution has to include in order to survive on the competitive market, such as contact management, import, export, integration with email, there’s a list of features you have to consider utilizing in order to keep track of essential processes running within your company. These features will help you run your business smoothly while your company grows and expands:

1. Sales and lead management

One of the most valuable and demanded features of a CRM software solution is sales and lead management, which allows the management of sales processes as well as create efficiencies in customer-facing areas. This feature will help with the process of capturing and tracking leads through a wide range of sources and channels. This enables users to store leads from abovementioned sources into one single secure data environment. CRM solutions with more robust sales and lead management functionality will thoroughly qualify leads and save your employee’s time by reducing the time spent on low-quality leads, thus allowing users to only nurture sales-ready leads. Once a lead is qualified, it is important to assign them to the right people or teams from your organization and control their workload. Not mentioning the basic sales pipeline management, which is an absolute must-have feature for all CRM systems, the solution should also provide advanced analytics with user-friendly data visualization and handy dashboards, which offer more insight into lead quality score, conversion rate, and other critical indexes. All of these features should help your company increase the number of prospective customers by converting real sales opportunities as well as controlling the process of how customers interact with your brand and employees.

2. Flexibility and integration capabilities

Obviously, the CRM solution you want to implement needs to be flexible enough in terms of growing as your company expands and the number of employees increases. So the system should be able to create an environment where you can easily purchase additional user licenses as well as be capable of deploying and integrating new 3d part systems, since predicting future essential tools might be a complex task. Every organization with an advanced IT infrastructure strives to build an integrated informational environment and the challenge is to streamline the data exchange between applications that coordinate separate processes and use different platforms, employing multiple methods to store data. CRM solutions like bpm'online provide companies a comprehensive integrated platform that ties together disparate applications. These approaches include Web Services, which significantly accelerate and simplify the data exchange with an ability to support open standards (SOAP, WSDL). This list also includes Net Managed Assemblies, the best way to link applications based on .Net; Com technology that facilitates application integration in order to build a platform for effective collaborative work; DLL, and other triggers that store procedures and transit files.

So consider choosing a CRM application that features the ability to integrate with several different applications while being easily customized with an option to contact a support team in case you need assistance.

3. Business process management

Thankfully the times where you needed a different solution for solving different business functions are gone and now the world of CRM has grown so modern solutions include all necessary functions for business owners. Business Process Management is one of the features that fast-growing companies won’t be able to survive without in 2016. Effective business process management practically a necessity for any organization with complex processes and multiple departments that have to collaborate with each other and spread the responsibilities between those departments.

CRM software with an option to efficiently manage business processes is one of the features that can benefit businesses of any size and allows employees to control active projects, tasks, workflow and keep all communication in one place. Empowered by features such as a visual designer, a powerful visual tool, users are able to process using preconfigured elements for creating different types of activities like calls, emails, tasks for employees, and others.

At the same time, advanced CRM solutions offer out-of-the-box processes so that teams can take advantage of implementing and utilizing processes that were designed based on the industry’s best practices, which help simplify daily routines and increase customer loyalty. Process monitoring and analytics allow keep track of any process metric exceptions using multiple variables and visualize processed data using custom dashboards while identifying or eliminating pitfalls.

4. Mobility combined with security

According to leading information technology research agencies, it is predicted that by 2015, companies will generate 50 percent of web sales through social platforms and mobile apps.
That’s why you should consider only fully mobile-optimized platforms while choosing a CRM option for your business as this is key to making better and more efficient collaborations and data synchronization processes. This provides mobile CRM users the ability to store necessary data on the go, whether it’s as a service agent who is in charge of customer service or as a sales rep who submits a new order. Being cloud-based means that every authorized employee within your company can access this data within seconds and it is always protected from being stolen and lost due to regular backups. It also streamlines contact management and sales, so all departments have access to the latest information at any time allowing you to eliminate financial implications on communication and transportation.

Obviously, these is not a complete list of advanced CRM solution capabilities. There are hundreds of specialized features that are designed for companies with specific business models and for any industry. The features here are the 4 absolute musts if you want to run your business as effectively as possible and want to cut the spending associated with using multiple software systems in 2016. In addition to these essential features, businesses should also evaluate their specific needs and select the right solution that can address them. So, before starting the process of  implementation, make sure to find a CRM solution that on one hand provides a free trial, which will let you evaluate the system before buying but on the other hand, it’ll better deploy a solution that is capable of delivering additional features that you might not need as of now, but will need as your company grows.

Elianna Lewis has been a freelance writer since 2009. She attended university of Hertfordshire and graduated with masters in Mass Communication. She loves to write informative news related to tech and more. You can follow her on G+.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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