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Features to Look for in a CRM Solution

A CRM solution is the perfect way to streamline your business. It can help you communicate with customers better, increase customer retention rates and boost sales. 

Customer relationship management (CRM) software typically includes the same essential CRM functions: customer data collection and reporting. But for most businesses shopping for a CRM, the basics are not going to cut it.

The CRM features that go beyond the basics are where your business can reap the rewards of the software.

CRM Features for Business

Among the numerous types of CRM solutions available, every business can benefit from specific, must-have features. Here, we examine these features and explain why it’s essential for your CRM to have them.

Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions can do much more than organizing contacts and act as a digital Rolodex. With the right features, CRM software can also help you boost sales by keeping an eye on customers, from nurturing leads to closing the deal and maintaining customer loyalty. It can also save you tons of time and money through sales force automation. 

Working with customers can be a challenging task. Keeping up with contacts, correctly diagnosing problems, and ensuring satisfaction, as well as positive interactions, can feel like the weight of the world on the shoulders of your customer relations team. CRM software can carry a lot of that workload for business and sales processes.

A CRM solution opens up unique opportunities for small businesses and large enterprises alike to thrive. Now more than ever, companies need to manage prospects and existing customers with great care expertly. Using a platform with the best CRM features is an essential part of that strategy, so we compiled a CRM functionality list to help you get started.

Unified view of customers

This is the heart of CRM and why a business should invest in CRM software. A unified view of your customer means the CRM database serves as the repository for all customer data in your company.

Every CRM houses basic contact information for each customer. Beyond that, the CRM should also capture the following data about your clients:

  • All instances of contact the customer has made with the company. This includes calls initiated by the customer and the business, any email communication, and the status or outcome of each contact. With this customer history readily in hand, employees can provide customers with a seamless experience in every interaction.
  • The level of engagement to various marketing tactics taken by each customer, from opening direct marketing emails to the number of pages visited on the company’s website. This data informs customer segmentation, lead nurturing, sales and marketing effectiveness, and other business opportunities.
  • For instance, where each client lives in the sales cycle, the CRM should clarify which potential customers transitioned into leads.
  • The purchase history of each customer.

CRM Marketing Effectiveness

CRMs, like Salesforce, make it easy to analyze and understand your client base by centralizing all customer data. This also opens up the opportunity to segment your customers more effectively move them through the sales cycle and communicate with them.

Customer life cycle and segmentation

The best CRM software automatically tracks and segments your clients as they travel through the customer life cycle.

This capability allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of your sales and marketing strategies in converting prospective customers into leads, closing a deal, and then deepening the client relationship post-sale.

In addition, the CRM’s customer segmentation functionality enables your business to bucket clients into groups based on shared characteristics.

For instance, CRM data can be used to segment according to demographic information or customer actions, like those who opened a marketing email versus those who clicked through to the company’s website, to categorize each client as, say, a potential lead.

Consequently, the CRM improves sales techniques, particularly prospecting skills, by identifying those customer segments most likely to convert. This is further enhanced by combining segmentation and life cycle management with other CRM abilities like lead scoring.

Data insights

Every CRM comes with reporting capabilities, but you’ll want one that goes beyond simple reports to provide unique business understanding through customer data.

For example, a CRM can inform your organization on insights like which customer segments are the most profitable.

These insights also uncover sales and marketing tactics that work best and deliver information critical to sales management systems, such as average close ratios and the number of leads in your sales pipeline.

Some CRMs, like Zoho CRM, even can identify trends and make recommendations like the best time to contact a customer.

This kind of data sapience can even instruct sales team members on being a good salesperson by facilitating customer relationships via outreach reminders, automated emails, and to-do lists and identifying the prospects with the highest likelihood of converting into a sale.

Progress toward business goals

Another must-have feature of a CRM application is the ability to track progress towards business goals. This is necessary to determine if your strategies are doing well or need an adjustment to hit your objectives.

Through the use of sales dashboards or reports, a CRM serves as a sales tracking software, illustrating where you stand at any given time with metrics like momentum toward achieving revenue targets for the quarter or the number of opportunities generated by your sales team.

Since goals vary by organization, a CRM like Insightly allows you to customize its dashboards to reflect the goals that matter most for your business.

If, for example, each sales rep must achieve a certain number of client calls each month to hit their numbers, this metric should appear in the CRM dashboard.

This way, you ensure the team is on the same page about what’s essential and progress towards your company’s goals.

Communication and collaboration tools

Customer Collaboration

By leveraging the contact history of all your customers housed in the CRM, your business can deliver better client communication and follow-up.

This allows you to tailor customer outreach based on whether this is the first interaction with a client or if the customer called previously with a complaint.

Moreover, combining a CRM’s communication tools with its segmentation and customer life cycle capabilities enables personalized messaging to customers.

Instead of a one-size-fits-all message, your business can send an email customized to where the client lives in the customer life cycle.

Personalized messaging results in improved response rates, so this functionality is key to lifting sales performance and marketing tactics such as lead nurturing.

Tools to facilitate customer communication are included in the best CRMs. For example, HubSpot allows you to send emails to clients and provides email templates to streamline this process.


No two businesses are the same so that the best CRM software can cater to your business’s unique needs. Some CRM solutions let you choose which features to include in your package, and some also allow you to customize essential areas, such as adding contact fields, choosing which data to show on your dashboard, and creating custom reports. 

You can also customize with extensions, plugins, and other add-ons to expand your software’s capabilities. 

If you need even more customization to tailor the software to your business truly, many CRM software providers offer more advanced options using APIs. This gives developers access to all technical specs and coding for complete customization of your software. The API also integrates the software with existing business solutions your company uses to streamline processes. 

Alternatively you can hire a CRM Developer to customize your setup.

Focus on Force is the ideal preparation for your Salesforce Certification. I’ve spent eight years working with the Salesforce platform in various roles (including business analyst, project manager, consultant, solutions designer, and solutions architect), and worked my way through 10 certifications in order to move up the career ladder. 

Salesforce Certifications are Tough!

Which is exactly as it should be: they actually mean something to the real world, and you’ll bring tons of value to the company or clients when you pass the exam. As a result, having a Salesforce Certification (or many) under your belt carries a considerable salary premium. By setting yourself apart from your uncertified peers and becoming extremely well acquainted with the platform, you’re able to benefit from new job opportunities, promotions within existing jobs, and instant credibility. 

complex tasks crm

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