Six key features to look for in a CRM for sales

What are the key requirements for your sales CRM?  Always ask yourself this question before you go ahead and implement the purchase and installation.  If you are looking for a CRM that will make a powerful impact upon your sales department, there are various key features that you need to look out for.

Always remember what you need the CRM to do and that is to track every interaction between your sales department and current or prospective customers. The most important thing to bear in mind is that your new CRM needs to be a perfect for your needs and has to be a system with features that you will definitely use. This may sound like a very obvious statement but many companies end up buying a CRM that is far too sophisticated so they either don’t use it properly or waste time and man hours inputting data into it that is not essential. Sales is all about customer interaction, so if your CRM makes this difficult, forget it.

So that you can keep your eye on the ball, here are six key features that you should look out for in a CRM for sales:

1. Storing information with regard to current and prospective customers

This is absolutely essential and is often the starting point from which many sales departments work.  If you are going to invest in a CRM and then store information in other programmes such as Excel, your data won’t be secure and can be easily lost or corrupted.

2. All departments must be able to use it

Nothing is more embarrassing or unprofessional than calling a customer to secure a new order only to find out that they are in the midst of a disagreement with your Accounts Department. This is why the whole company needs to use the CRM so that no matter the size of the establishment, everyone is kept in the link. Failure to do this creates a bad impression with the client.

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3. Automatic email integration

Every time an email is sent out, it must be recorded automatically in the CRM. This should never have to be done manually. This is the only real way that you can keep a track of all communication with customers.

4. Make it mobile friendly

So many people now need to access their CRM from their mobile phone or tablet and this is something that no professional sales person can do without. If you are visiting a client onsite and need CRM access, or are on the road and need to check something prior to an appointment, mobile access is vital.

5. Ability to incorporate follow-up triggers

A lead is not a lead if sales personnel forget to follow it up at the right time. Your CRM should allow you to automate follow-ups so that an opportunity is never missed. You may be able to do this within the system as it is or add a bolt-on platform.

6. Ability to focus on essential information only 

Your system does not need to prompt you to ask reams of questions. All the sales team need to get involved in is qualifying the lead by asking questions that will take the sale forward to conclusion. Make sure that whichever CRM you go for is flexible and adaptable enough to conform to the prompts required by the sales team.

The important thing here is to keep your eye on the goal and your focus on the key sales features. Vendors proffering their wares will try and distract you by pushing the capabilities of their own system but do not let this sway you. Your system needs to do everything that your sales department need it to do, like capturing the correct information, triggering follow ups and having a user-friendly interface. The sales team should see it as an asset, not a hindrance.  

The best CRM system for sales is the one that your sales team will actually use and will love doing so. Within a few months of implementation your sales team need to be reporting that they don’t know how they ever worked without it and sales figures should be on the up!

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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!

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Jane Tareen

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