10 must-have features for your enterprise CRM


It is vital that large businesses have comprehensive systems in place to deal with complex processes.  A customer relationship management (CRM) system with all of the must-have features in place can take care of this in a sophisticated and smart way.

A CRM can take care of people and processes by using technology and having a good understanding of the businesses’ customers.  It brings everything together into one integrated system, managing everything from customer relationships through to sales processes.  Because the CRM processes are all customer‐centric processes, large business have peace of mind, knowing that even the most complicated processes will be catered for.  

Installing the right enterprise CRM for your large business requires the use of customer‐focused business process re‐engineering.  It must not be seen as a ‘technology only’ resolution but one that will deal with all three components; people, processes, and technology.

What is an enterprise CRM?

Enterprise CRMs are designed for complex, larger businesses.  Good examples are Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and SAP. They will be able to deal with many customer-facing departments, vast databases, and robust requirements. Enterprises tend to have multiple sales teams, all needing access to the same customer data. With so many people involved in the business processes, it makes sense for them to all use the same system.  This is where the enterprise CRM comes into its own. Allowing a great deal of automation, it may be more expensive but most of the cost will be involved in customizing the system and deploying it throughout every area of the enterprise.

Must-have CRM features for a large enterprise to have

There are many key features that a CRM for a large enterprise must have.  It can take over a large part of the workload, automating all sales processes whilst allowing businesses to effectively manage prospects and current customers.

You need to check out the key features and functionalities available before you buy, focusing on what is available in the market and which specific functionalities your business requires.  Platforms vary greatly so begin by defining your requirements and then researching well.

Check out our free CRM features and requirements gathering guide for a more thorough look at your business' feature selection

Here are just ten of the main features that your enterprise CRM is likely to need:

1. Contact management

This allows you to segment and organize contacts, gathering crucial customer data for use in marketing projects. Not only names and addresses may be included but also contact social media accounts. This is a feature that will be used a lot so ensure that you choose a layout that suits your needs with fields laid out in a logical way.

2. Customer opportunity management

Quantifying sales opportunities means that you can track down the type of customers most likely to convert.

3. Lead management

Identify your best customers based upon psychographic/demographics, making the management of leads far more accurate. This deals with the process of converting prospects into leads by scoring and moving upwards through the pipeline. Sales employees need to be happy with how this works and the process needs to flow in a way that you would naturally use as a business. Look at your existing manual process and see how this fits.

4. Reports and dashboards

View statistics by the use of customized dashboards and reports. Data is provided in real-time and can be accessed from any portal for use by sales, marketing and customer service personnel.  By using these stats in the right way, you gain a real competitive advantage as the guesswork is removed when it comes to forecasts and insights. Get used to combining statistics with analytics to locate and correct any problems with business processes.   This is real intelligent reporting, enabling key metrics of sales activities to be broken down according to campaigns and teams. Reports can be customized and shared throughout the sales and marketing team so that everyone is on the ‘same page’.

5. Customizable home screen

Look for a UI (user interface) that is adaptable and which will take care of all that you need within the home screen. Layouts needs to be able to be customized to suit your business needs.  Look for a system that is intuitive, resulting in a better rate of conversions.

6. Sales analytics

Make your future sales campaigns far more powerful by analyzing data from past projects.  You need a CRM which will collect data from all areas i.e. website traffic, social media, user polls etc.  Routinely you will receive reports summarizing not only sales figures but also sales team performance. When it comes to analytics, you choose what factors you want to build into reports such as locality, stage in the sales funnel or even sales rep name.  By spotting problems before they become huge you are much more able to work proactively, having real-time insight into the sales process.

7. Mobile CRM

An essential feature if you have staff working remotely or in the field. They will be able to access all CRM features, receive alerts and manage everything from one central location via their mobile phone or tablet.

8. Sales automation

You need to be able to automate the sales process, taking control of outgoing calls and follow ups, and data organization for effective campaign planning. This frees up more employee time as many manual tasks will become part of the CRM automatic process. Repetitive tasks can be taken care of by creating workflow triggers for specific actions or the sending of reminders. This is often sold as an upgrade so when choosing your enterprise CRM software, think about the amount of repetitive tasks involved in current processes. Be sure that if these were automated, the benefits will outweigh the additional costs. Most of the time, this is definitely the case.

9. Sales forecasting

Provides far more accurate benchmarks with regard to sales, comparing actual results to forecasts.  This way you can see if your sales team are on target and use this valuable data to fine-tune future campaigns.  Future sales and revenue figures can be predicted by making use of historical and current data and trends.  This is an essential feature if you need the ability to create forecasts for months ahead or even proposed new geographical areas. This is a great way of making your data work hard, enabling you to make far better informed decisions about moving forward with the business. 

10. Sales collaboration

Enable your key team members to collaborate and work together across all departments. Do this well and sales results should improve. There will no longer be any grey areas between marketing, sales and customer services. All can use the same information and new data will only need to be entered once. When calls are made to clients or emails sent, you can be sure that accurate and up-to-date information is being used, no matter which department is involved. Customer queries can also be answered fast with all necessary details being shown on the screen. As customer service is dramatically improved, this will do a lot to enhance your reputation whilst simultaneously building strong relationships.

What important features should your requirements include for enterprise CRM?

As well as the must-have features shown above, research has shown that buyers of enterprise CRM systems for large businesses also look for a whole host of general functionality. By educating yourself as to what CRMs can actually provide, you will waste far less time seeking qualities that do not exist.

Many new users of enterprise CRM systems report problems with communication, efficiency, and organization as being pressure points that made them look at installing the new software.  Even large businesses continue to grow and as change takes place, it is imperative that the organization is brought up to date.

Whether this is your first CRM or you are replacing a system that is outdated and slow, with data spread across several systems, once the purchase is made, disparate processes will become organized with integration being the norm. Also, beware of buying a CRM system that has too many features.  This can work against you as you may end up paying for services that you just don’t need and certainly will not use.

Ensure your CRM system has every feature your business needs by creating a CRM requirements list using our free requirements template

In general, businesses are looking for CRM features that boost both their collaborative and communicative processes, in-house and with regard to their clients.  Whichever CRM system you end up with, it needs to be fully integrated with existing process, automated and tailored to suit your needs. Many buyers can find themselves confused when it comes to understanding what is included in a standard CRM package and how to communicate to their vendor what they actually need.  Creating your own CRM comparison spreadsheet will help you to keep track of different features.

As a large business owner, it is essential that you have your finger on the pulse of what is going on in your business at any one time.  Only by being aware in this way can you improve it. The quality of communication with customers can go two ways; it can either improve or ruin relationships. Cloud CRM buyers are aware that they need to improve customer relationships and the right system will do this by improving communication in-house and externally.  Once staff are all using the same database, collaboration will be promoted between marketing, sales, and customer service teams and this can only be a good thing.

By keeping track of customer contact information, even complex processes can be simplified. Your CRM will store and organize every kind of customer data and can ensure that sales staff contact leads at exactly the right time and the correct number of times.  Whilst insufficient contact with customers can be destructive, so can getting in touch with them so much that your staff becomes an annoyance.

Don't forget your reasons for selecting an enterprise CRM

Never forget that as well as having your ten must-have features, your enterprise CRM is there for one main reason and that is to manage your customer relationships. Even the most preferred CRM functions come down to one key role and that is streamlining these processes and improving these key relationships.  A lot of responsibility rests on the head of the CRM buyer as they need to ensure that the new system will manage all client data, movements and interactions through the lifecycle, contact management, tracking of interaction and pipeline management. Automation and visibility are vital when it comes to sales processes such as workflows, sales activity, and marketing functions.  

The right enterprise CRM system will not only fully automate all processes but will provide consistent branding and efficient workflows.  This is no longer a luxury for large businesses but an absolute necessity. In years to come, if your CRM does not provide sales and marketing automation, you are going to struggle.

Make your CRM vendor work hard for their money.  They should be educating you and reducing confusion, finally supplying you with exactly what you need.  From your side, you need to be proactive with regard to the buying process, carrying out detailed research and gathering together information as to what features you must have.  Only then can your large business be matched with the right CRM to suit.

Integration and centralization are also top features.  The new system needs to handle everything all from one platform i.e. contact management, marketing automation, email campaigns, analytics, and reporting.  Users also need to be able to navigate the system easily.

Find more features that your CRM needs by checking out our extensive useful CRM features list

Don’t get too hung up on pricing; take the time to consider every option and make your final decision based upon what will work best for your large organization.

Whichever enterprise CRM you end up with, it has to make your business better.  A business that does not implement a CRM with these must-have features will find itself struggling to keep up with the competition, losing sales and not creating long-lasting and healthy customer relationships.

author image
Jane Tareen

About the author…

An MBA-qualified professional, Jane specializes in all kinds of copywriting and creative content production. With many years spent working in advertising and publishing, she is also skilled in editorial production and proof-reading. Whilst writing, she has a constant companion in the form of one very large Fox Red Labrador!

author image
Jane Tareen

Featured white papers

Related articles