Many companies are finding value in recruiting customer relations managers to oversee their customers’ experiences with their brand. Candidates applying for these positions need to have a certain skill set to lead and communicate effectively.
If you are interested in a CRM job, learning about the key skills required for this role can help you pursue relevant professional development opportunities and stand out from other candidates. In this article, we discuss CRM skills, examples of CRM skills, how to improve CRM skills, and ways to use your skills in the workplace and during your job search.
Customer relations manager (CRM), or customer relationships manager, skills are the qualifications and proficiencies required for a role as a customer relations manager. These skills help a professional in this position perform their job duties effectively.
As a customer relations manager, you need various hard and soft skills to lead your team, monitor outcomes, make staffing decisions and develop and implement policies.
Customer relations managers oversee the customer experience. They ensure their organization meets customers’ expectations and responds to issues.
CRMs collaborate with multiple departments to better understand their company’s products and help guide decisions in a way that resonates with customers, including marketing, sales, and research and development. As a result, they can help develop brand loyalty and increase referrals.
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8 Skills Every CRM Developer Needs
You can be an exceptional developer, but unless you invest in improving soft skills such as communication, negotiation, collaboration, or commercial acumen, you risk limiting your career progress and missing out on the best jobs in the market.
Most CRM developers are heavily focused on improving their technical skills. However, this is in direct opposition to employers who see technical skills as a baseline requirement and are instead heavily focused on finding tech candidates who have strong, soft skills and can collaborate effectively with other team members and departments (e.g. marketing) and strong communication skills.
The eight skills employers are looking for in CRM developers:
You can communicate with a non-technical audience
Skip the jargon and technical language. You need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively to non-technical audiences without losing their attention.
As soon as someone’s eyes start glazing over, they begin absent-mindedly nodding, or aren’t asking any questions, then you’ve lost them, and the conversation won’t provide any benefit for you or them.
A study from the International Association of Business Communicators in the UK showed that high-performing organizations were twice as likely than average ranked ones to promote the use of jargon-free language.
This is because reducing jargon makes it easier for people across the entire organization to communicate more easily and reduces any confusion that can lead to costly errors further down the track.
- Seek feedback from non-technical peers on your communication style
- Use communication tools such as diagrams to aid in disseminating information to non-technical groups.
- When describing technical concepts, simplify them to the point where you pretend you are explaining them to a ten-year-old
- Avoid industry-specific or technical jargon.
You leverage the collective knowledge.
No one is expected to be an expert at everything. It is important to leverage the knowledge of other staff within your company and useful information that can be readily found in online communities such as Stackoverflow or Salesforce forums.
This both increases your knowledge base and leads to being more effective at problem-solving. Businesses want CRM techs who lack arrogance and seek to get the best solution for the project. Don’t spend a lot of time on a problem that could be solved more quickly by seeking support or advice.
This also closely ties in with sharing your strengths with your colleagues and turning to them to assist you when needed. For example, if you know Salesforce and Apex inside out but aren’t as proficient with Oracle, then use this as an opportunity to share your knowledge with your colleagues and pick their brains about areas where they have greater expertise.
This is especially important in the tech environment where technology, software, and processes can change rapidly. If you don’t keep up to date either by teaching yourself in your own time or learning from others in the workplace, there’s a good chance you’ll rapidly fall behind.
- Join forums or online communities relevant to your role, e.g. Salesforce developer forum
- Establish regular knowledge sharing with colleagues
You actively collaborate
Being able to work together with team members and other departments is vital. Becoming siloed and failing to properly collaborate with colleagues not only means you are not being as effective at completing tasks and projects as you could be, but it is also likely to lead to you stagnating in your role.
Most CRM projects require the successful collaboration of multiple people. If those people don’t work well together, sharing information and communicating effectively, this leads to delays in successfully completing projects.
- Make an effort to connect with team members and stakeholders on a personal level
- Pick up the phone occasionally. Often breakdowns in communication can be solved with a quick phone call
- Go out of your way to see how you can assist others without expecting anything in return
You structure your time effectively
While your job title might not say Project Manager, it is very useful to learn to see all tasks in your role as projects, no matter how large or small. This is especially true if you regularly work with platforms such as Dynamics. The rapid release cycle, certifications, and new products that emerge mean that Dynamics professionals must constantly complete small projects or goals to stay skilled and effective in their role.
Identifying something as a project helps you break it down into manageable and clearly defined steps, helping you maintain momentum in moving towards completing it.
This means that complex tasks are instead viewed as a series of smaller goals, and as you complete each one, the sense of achievement keeps you motivated and fixed on the end goal.
There are many opportunities in the Dynamics ecosystem across a variety of skill types and levels of proficiency. But they all require you to effectively manage your work and ensure your knowledge of the platform remains up to date.
As your career develops, it is also very useful to discuss the successful projects you have been involved in. If you are used to defining everything you do as a project, you will become more comfortable clearly articulating what you have accomplished.
- Break down your workload into smaller tasks
- Ensure individual tasks are completed according to priority and deadlines
- Make sure you record the key tasks you have completed and share them with your boss
You are commercially astute
Your boss wants people on the team who are commercially astute and who understand how development activities align with commercial goals for the company or client. This means fully understanding the commercial repercussions of each of the projects you are delivering.
Sometimes it can seem easier to just hide behind your screen rather than talk to the people you are solving problems for. But understanding the commercial drivers behind a project and the overall commercial goal can often be a great motivator once you understand “Why” you are doing the work.
In addition, by being aware of the bigger picture, you can but also better understand how your work fits into the overall project and start to factor in other non-technical elements into the work you are doing.
- Speak to your boss or the project leader to understand the end goal of the project and the expected commercial outcomes
- Talk to staff from other departments across sales, marketing, and finance so you can understand how the work you are doing will be used and their expectations.
- Talk to your boss to understand the 20% of the requirements that will have 80% of the impact.
- Shadow users while completing essential tasks in the CRM system so you can understand the business and practical implications of changes.
You prioritize the end goal.
Effectively managing your workload and identifying which tasks or activities are of the highest value doesn’t just benefit you. It benefits everyone you work with. It means you work more efficiently and ensure that you and your colleagues are always focusing the most amount of time and energy on the most critical tasks.
Unfortunately, as a tech professional, it’s easy to get buried in the code and forget that the end goal is a system that enables sales and marketing teams to generate new business with maximum ease.
If you can prioritize your tasks and deadlines, you can also identify early when you need to involve others, delegate responsibilities or seek assistance from vendors to meet deadlines. People like to help one another achieve common goals but rarely do it at the last minute and with no notice.
- Keep your focus on the project’s key goal, and regularly self check that what you are focused on is a priority (rather than a personal puzzle!)
- Think about that task you are dreading doing, often it’s the most important, and you will feel a lot better once you’ve completed it.
- Proactively manage expectations around delivery timeframes.
- Seek help well in advance of the deadline if you are struggling with a task
- Focus on the 20% of tasks that will deliver 80% of the results required from the project
You speak up on important issues.
This doesn’t mean your colleagues should constantly be hearing the sound of your voice, but you shouldn’t be afraid to vocalize the problems that you’re facing. In addition, you should be prepared to discuss issues directly with managers or team members so that important information or roadblocks don’t simply disappear into Slack chats or a chain of emails that don’t lead to a resolution.
Identifying issues, workshopping them with your team, and implementing solutions is much more useful than spending hours trying to solve a problem that you don’t have the tools to fix or staying silent on something important.
- Speak up in meetings if you find an issue. If confidence is an issue, speak with a stakeholder who attends the meeting in advance to know you have support in the room.
- Be solution-focused rather than problem-focused
- Focus on resolving the problem as a team rather than on who’s to blame
You thrive in the company culture.
Although hard to clearly define, cultural fit is the glue that holds high-performing organizations together, creating a happy and productive work environment, and makes talent want to stick around. Ultimately you need to be aligned with the company vision and culture.
Organizations want to hire people who fit with the team socially and have the required technical skillset. Not being able to assimilate or not fitting in with the team will prevent you from being promoted or involved in certain projects. Being likable goes a long way.
Suppose you have a clear idea of the type of company you want to work for and understand the type of attitude and commitment companies are looking for. In that case, you should integrate well with the company culture, and people will recognize you for helping to add to it.
- Make an effort to engage in the social activities offered by your company.
- Be honest with yourself during the hiring process and avoid taking a job that ‘sounds good’ if the company culture doesn’t align with your values.
Five characteristics of a good CRM system
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management – an important area of activity for any successful business. Therefore, CRM tools are indispensable for any growing business; this article will outline five key characteristics of a good CRM system.
Your CRM of choice should not require you to put in a lot of work upfront. A good CRM is a CRM that lets you quickly and easily import data from existing databases. Instead of wasting time copying info from various sources by hand, you should be able to get straight to business and put your CRM to good use right off the bat.
Ease of use
Even the best CRM system is useless if your employees don’t know how to use it. When deciding between CRM solutions, make sure that the one you pick is easy to use, has an intuitive interface, ample documentation, and good user support. The time spent training your employees to use your CRM should be as short as possible – after all, the whole point of having a CRM is increasing efficiency rather than wasting time.
If you’re thinking about getting a CRM, you are also obviously planning to grow your business. This is why you should make sure that whichever CRM you choose is easily adaptable to your future needs. A good CRM doesn’t just fit your company’s current needs but also has the potential to grow with you: it should include multiple modules, features, and possibilities for integration.
Positive impact on customer satisfaction
At the heart of every CRM, as the name suggests, is maintaining positive customer relationships. This is why a good CRM is more than just a complicated address book – it should let you and your employees see a comprehensive customer profile. A CRM should also enable you to easily answer customer questions and offer them relevant services. This way, a CRM not only makes you appear more professional but also positively affects your revenue.
Easy reporting & overviews
Watching your business grow is not just fun but also a key part of planning for the future. A good CRM should let you analyze customer & employee activities and use the information to benefit your company. This is why the CRM you choose should have reporting and tracking features.