This software category covers a wide range of applications aimed at making customer relationship management easier and more organized for businesses. CRM software typically features the ability to track customer interactions across multiple communication channels, identify and nurture high quality leads, automate follow-ups with clients, build customer loyalty, generate and analyze reports, and make sales forecasts. Most CRM systems come with an Application Programming Interface (API), which allows for seamless collaboration between sales, marketing, and other departments within an organization. CRM with mobile access allows salespeople to view and share customer interaction history on the go, making it easier for them to resolve time-sensitive matters.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is essentially a digital tool to help organizations monitor, organize and analyze customer interactions on multiple communication channels throughout the customer lifecycle.
The software helps aggregate all customer information and documents in a single database, making contact management easier and more organized. By having everyone on the same page, CRM also helps foster collaboration between internal departments. For instance, the sales, marketing and customer service departments of an organization can use CRM to collaborate and work towards achieving common organizational goals, such as, improving customer relationships, increasing customer retention, and driving sales growth.
Typically, products in this category feature the ability to automate marketing communications, analyze customer behavior, identify sales opportunities, and provide business intelligence. These products also come with features that aid email marketing efforts, inventory management, sales force automation, sales forecasting, performance management, and document management, among others.
Different CRM solutions focus on different aspects of customer relationship management. For instance, some products focus more on lead management, while others are more suitable for feedback management, internal communications, or sales forecasting. Broadly, however, CRM solutions fall into three main categories – operational CRM, collaborative CRM, and analytical CRM. You can begin your search by zeroing in on the right type for your business. This means you need to know your area of focus or what problems you want to solve with your CRM software. For instance, if you are trying to improve your customer interactions, a collaborative solution lets you collate customer data from different departments within your organization, helping every department gain a 360-degree view of each customer.
You will need analytical CRMs, when you are more concerned about analyzing customer information collected through multiple channels. This type of CRM lets you identify customer behaviors, trends, and cross selling and upselling opportunities. On the other hand, operational CRMs are more suitable for companies that deal directly with customers. The key components of this type of CRM are sales force automation, marketing automation, and service automation. These products usually come with a dashboard that provides an overview of all interactions your sales, marketing, and customer support departments have had with your existing and potential customers.
Businesses also need to consider a number of generic factors when choosing CRM software. These factors may include ease of use, integration capability, mobility, scalability, customization, compatibility, and reporting capability.
|2-Factor Authentication||Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.|
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Batch Permissions & Access||Control user or group access and permission settings for software or other systems.|
|Calendar Management||Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.|
|Contact Management||Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.|
|Contact Sharing||Share contacts across teams or platforms to give access to others or to migrate address books across different systems.|
|Customer Management||Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.|
|Dashboard||Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Data Visualization||Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.|
|Email Integration||Integration with email clients or providers to create and send emails as well as view received emails within an application.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|File Sharing||Share files with colleagues, customers or other stakeholders for easier access across platforms, collaboration and/or version control.|
|File Transfer||Transfer large files to colleagues, customers or other stakeholders. This is often used for files too large to transfer via email and other conventional transmission methods.|
|Forecasting||Forecast upcoming expenses, sales, revenue, user levels, etc. through the use of predictive methods and past data.|
|Gantt Charts||A particular type of flowchart using horizontal bars to illustrate time intervals. Mainly used to visualise the use of resources or duration of tasks over the course of a project.|
|Google Apps Integration||Integration with the G Suite, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Calendar, etc.|
|Inventory Tracking||Stay on top of inventory levels, to manage the storing, reordering or production of stock items.|
|Lead Management||Manage business leads to improve sales outreach processes or stay on top of prospect inquiries.|
|Lead Scoring||Manually or automatically assign quality scores to business leads to target / segment sales outreach efforts.|
|Marketing Automation||Automate marketing processes, such as outreach emails, customer engagement, chat replies through the use of chatbots and others.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Project Management||Manage projects from conception through the planning stage to delivery and post-project reporting phases. This allows organisation teams to organise resources, plan budgets and improve efficiency in the delivery of project objectives.|
|Scheduling||Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.|
|Supplier Management||Manage suppliers and purchases required in the day-to-day operation of a business.|
|Task Scheduling/Tracking||Schedule and track tasks and deliverables in form of to-do-lists.|
|Third-Party Plugins/Add-Ons||Offers additional features or integrations built by third-party developers in form of plugins or add-ons.|
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