What does a CRM software do and how it can help your business generate more sales? Although many people understand from the definition of the abbreviation “CRM” that CRM means Customer Relationship Management, little they know about the real power of a CRM software or how mobile CRM apps which are part of today’s CRM software can help in improving sales significantly.
In fact, and with regard to mobile CRM, a report by Nucleus Research indicates that 65% of companies using a mobile CRM achieved their sales quotas.
A CRM software is becoming a necessity these days and as more and more businesses find out that getting insights and important data on their customers improves communication, increases customer retention rates and of course sales.
According to a report by Stellaxius, the overall CRM Software usage increased from 56% in 2019 to 74% in 2020. During the same year 91% of businesses with over 11 employees used CRM, and 50% of companies with more or less 10 employees also used a CRM Software.
In case you are looking for a CRM software check my list of the best CRM Software Tools for Small Businesses.
What does a CRM Software do?
The 17 best CRM features and benefits described below, will help you better understand how a CRM software can take your business to the next level. I’ve also included links to the websites of some well known CRM software.
1. Contact Management
Add all your contacts into the CRM software system so that you can have each customer’s profile and contact information. This will help you find easy and fast information about a customer, edit any information as well as call directly or email your customers. In case of calling or emailing you need to make sure that your CRM Software integrates with email or has a call functionality directly from the CRM.
2. Sales Pipeline Management
Although a standard sales process might be the same across all industries, yet you might want to organize the different stages according to your own business needs. The various sales stages are usually added into what is called a “sales pipeline”. A sales pipeline is an organized, visual way of tracking the different stages of the sales process.
CRM Software includes sales pipeline management features to help you monitor the process and better manage your leads as you move potential customers from one stage to the next. This way you know what is the next action you need to take for each potential customer as well as organize your daily or weekly schedule. One of the most powerful CRM software in this area is Pipedrive.
3. Team Management
If you have a team of sales representatives or agents, a CRM Software will help you easily assign deals or prospective customers to them and get a 360 degree view of the activities and tasks of each member of the team. Get insights on the deals they work on and find out if there are any uncompleted tasks. Generate team activity reports with more information on each sales rep’s full activity and make improvements. Furthermore, certain CRM software provide the option to automatically assign leads to team members according to criteria that you can define and pre-set.
4. Opportunities Management
Opportunities are different from leads, at least with some CRM software. These are not actual prospective customers interested but certain opportunities that could be turned into deals. You can add all your opportunities into a CRM Software, assign them to sales reps and plan all future actions as well as track the progress. Please note that with certain CRM software opportunity management and sales pipeline management is considered the same.
5. Make Calls & Track them
Modern CRM software provide a call functionality (click to dial) directly from the CRM in one click. Others they can even integrate with your Voice Over IP (VoIP) system. Enabling your sales reps to directly call your customers from the CRM system improves productivity while at the same time it can improve customer experience. For example with certain CRM software when a customer calls you can see the customer calling and instantly access all relevant information or support tickets. A call functionality usually allows you also to track calls and keep a call log. Do note that there are CRM software that allow you to make video calls or integrate your CRM with Zoom.
6. Track Emails
You can track all emails by integrating your CRM with your email account. You can also find a CRM software that includes an integrated email system. You can directly send emails from your CRM System and keep all emails send to customers as part of the correspondence and automatically have it saved in the activity history between you and your customers. A CRM software can help you therefore be more productive and as it keeps the communication with customers in one place.
Even if you are using Microsoft Outlook or Gmail modern CRM software can integrate with both. If you are a Gmail user and you are looking for a simple CRM that works directly inside Gmail I would suggest to check further on Nethunt CRM which is a CRM software developed to work specifically inside Gmail.
7. Appointment Scheduling
Schedule all appointments and manage you calendar so that you don’t need to switch between different applications but most importantly to track all appointments as part of the sales process. If you are managing a team you can directly see the schedule of all your sales reps and organize the work accordingly if needed. To schedule an appointment you only need to email a link. This way you avoid back and forth communication and time-consuming calls or texts. Many CRM Software have an integration option with either Google Calendar, Outlook calendar or both.
8. Helpdesk & Ticketing System
Your customers might require your help for issues related to your services or products. A helpdesk and ticketing system as part of a CRM software helps you keep track of all the issues, respond on time and manage your team of support staff to make sure that customer receive professional support services. Every issue added becomes part of the interaction history with your customers while it can also be used in the future as part of a knowledge base.
This will help you easily find answers to common questions or problems and provide a better support service to your customers. If you are interested about such feature, Agile CRM provides a complete helpdesk and ticketing system integrated into its CRM system.
9. Lead Scoring
Every prospective customer or lead is not the same. Some leads have better chances to convert to real customers. But how do you determine that and what does a CRM software do to help you work on the right prospective customers? That’s where lead scoring comes into play.
A CRM software with lead scoring features will help you identify those leads that are more hot to close based on the positive actions they’ve taken, based on the stage of the sales process they are and based on specific criteria you can set which are related to your own sales process. Lead scoring is an important and crucial feature for sales teams that want to be more productive and achieve their sales quota.
Certain CRM software such as Freshworks even use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for deals analysis.
10. Payment Tracking & Expenses
Issue invoices and track all the expenses related with your customers. A CRM software will help you centralized all the financial aspect of your business related to your customers. This way you can also track sales and billing without shifting to different apps. If you are already using another accounting and invoicing application and depending on your CRM software you could integrate your CRM with your accounting software.
Having a CRM that tracks your payments will also help you easily track unpaid invoices and directly reach out to customers about their payments using your CRM call features. With regard to the expense tracking feature this could be useful in identifying related expenses to customers and in as a way to calculate your costs as well.
11. Sales Reports & Analytics
Access complete reports on sales and the performance of your team. Analyze your sales numbers based on different criteria and build customer reports in order to further evaluate your sales performance. Depending on the CRM software you use, you might be able to view the reports in different graph formats as well as export these reports. Certain CRM software provide the ability to view conversions by sales stage or lead source and even help you find trends for payments, revenues and transactions over a period of time.
The analytics system of a CRM software could also include reports that help you track the activity for payments, revenues, and transactions over a period of time. If you like to have access to detailed sales performance reporting and advanced analytics then you should check Keap CRM software.
12. Workflow Automation
If you have repetitive tasks that are part of your sales process then using workflow automation you can basically automate certain actions based on criteria that you set. For example, you can have an automated message in the form of an email email been sent out to a specific customer after this customer has performed a specific action. These tasks are important for closing the sale but you don’t need to manually perform any tasks if you create workflows.
Most modern CRM software such as Engagebay provide you with an easy to use workflow editor that enables you to create automations without any coding skills.
13. Web Forms Integration
A business website is in today’s marketplace the most powerful marketing channel which you can use to generate leads. CRM software that include web form integration allow you to create forms using a form builder and then integrate these forms on your website. These forms could be part of campaigns that help you generate leads. For example, forms where users need to add their information to download a PDF, email marketing forms or simple general inquiry forms.
Once the website visitor submits the information, the CRM automatically collects these and creates a new prospective customer or a new sales opportunity.
14. Real-Time Alerts & Notifications
A CRM system is where all the actions are recorded related to your sales. Whenever such an action is recorded you can receive real-time notifications and alerts that inform you and keep you updated. No need to be logging in to you CRM software every hour to check the progress for the day. All alerts can be customized and you can even receive them in your email inbox or directly on screen if your CRM supports such an option.
15. ECommerce Integration
If you own an ecommerce store then your products or services can be attributed to active deals in your sales pipeline. You can have a 360 degree view of the sales performance of your ecommerce store and get important insights on probability, cost analysis and more. There are CRM software that can be integrated directly with your ECommerce store such as Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce or other.
Alternatively, you can use Zapier for easy customized integration. If you are in ecommerce then you should check the Teamgate CRM software which provides specific functionalities for ECommerce stores.
16. Sales Goals & Forecasting
Generating data from past deals and regardless of the sales stage in your process, a CRM Software can provide an indication whether your sales team will hits its goals or not. Furthermore you can forecast the expected revenue and which type of deals could be the biggest drivers for the revenue generated. Pipeline CRM software for example can provide detailed reports that includes deals forecasted to close, deals by stage, and active deals by status. You can filter sales forecasts by factors such as time frame, owner, source or from custom fields.
17. Communication Timeline
No need to search emails or documents to find more information about any sales activity. Certain CRM software such as Pipeline CRM provide you with full details and the history of activities related to a customer. This is very helpful in order to instantly find out the date and time of an activity or when an action was taken by your sales reps. In some CRM software this feature may be called Activity History.
CRM Reports Examples
In order to further help you understand the power of a CRM Software and what does a CRM software do to help you in sales and generating more leads, it’s important I believe to provide some example of what kind of reports you can generate.
The table below includes some of the most common and important reports:
|Find the average cycle duration across different lead sources with sales cycle reports|
|View how many leads are in each stage of the sales process and view how fast they are moving through|
|Find where your money is coming from in terms of specific customers.|
|See the number of new deals added, average age of deals, number of open deals and stage-to-stage conversion|
|Compare individual results and identify opportunities for improvement|
|Find how your leads are progressing or regressing through the sales process and find pending opportunities|
|Sales forecast reports on a pre-defined period with projections for each department|
|Revenue forecast reports that predict turnover and growth and help to spot problems before they arise|
|View team activities and track custom sales activities like emails, demos, calls or events.|
|Find what percentage of leads convert into won deals or sales within a defined date range|
|Measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and see how they are performing against their preset goals|
|View all open opportunities in the sales pipeline and also potential sales opportunities|