4 min read
CRM Made Simple: Five Features of an Effective CRM Solution
Contact relationship managers are a life saver for many businesses who rely on communicating regularly with clients to provide their services. These businesses need somewhere to store clients’ and subscribers’ contact information for easy access and management. CRMs allow contacts to be managed and updated so that businesses always know that they have the most up-to-date information to which to send their communications and ensure they reach the intended recipients.
So, what should your business look for when choosing a CRM solution? Well here is CRM made simple; five features that should be present in any CRM solution a business chooses for its contact storage and management needs.
1. Customizable contact repository
This may seem overly simple and obvious, but that’s what we’re going for here. The CRM your business chooses should contain a main contact repository where you are able to see a list of every contact that is added either manually or through automated means. The contact repository should be intuitive and easy to use so that your business can search for and find any contact at any given point without having to scroll through hundreds, thousands, or even millions of contacts.
This repository should also be able to be customized so that you are viewing only the information your business needs to know at a glance and hide any superfluous information. While the CRM should provide standard information fields for information gathering (such as Name, Address, Email, etc.), additional information fields should also be able to be added to the CRM to reflect the types of information your business needs to store.
For example, say we have an auto repair company who sends appointment reminders and updates to their contacts. It would make sense that the company would want to store information regarding the contacts’ vehicles. With the right CRM, the auto repair company would be able to add a “Vehicle” field in which to store this vehicle information, and they will be able to use the information in this field in their communications.
2. List management
An effective CRM also allows a business to segment their contacts into specific sending lists depending on which communications they need to be sent and at what time. Having specific contact lists allows businesses the ability to simply select the appropriate list that corresponds to the message being sent and send it off. This saves your business time and allows you to quickly and efficiently send your communications out without worrying about whether you remembered to send to all appropriate contacts.
When uploading a contact list to the CRM it is very beneficial if the CRM you choose has a “merge existing contacts” option, which means that instead of creating multiple instances of the same contact within the CRM, you have the option to merge all contacts with the same primary information field into a single record. This ensures that the CRM remains organized and uncluttered.
The CRM should also allow for the same contact instance to exist on multiple different lists without conflicting with each other. You should not have to upload a new instance of a contact every time you wish to add them to a new list. Additionally, once a contact’s information has been updated in the CRM, the information will be updated automatically in any lists they appear on.
3. Pipeline organization
For the management of a CRM to be made simple, organization is vital – whether it is the organization of your contacts, your lists, and the engagements you have with them. You and your business need to be able to find any contact you need without a moment’s notice and determine where they are situated within the engagement process.
This is where a pipeline tool can come in handy.
Pipelines are a way to track where your contacts are in the engagement process by either manually or automatically pushing them through various pre-determined stages. For example, a marketing company can utilize a pipeline management tool to track leads as they come in from the first call to the close of a deal. As these leads move along in the sales process, they are moved through to the appropriate stage in the pipeline at the same time. And while many leads may enter the pipeline, only those who are the most interested and engaged will continue through to the end. In a sense, it can be compared to a funnel process, where there are more leads going in the top than coming out the bottom.
4. Task creation and execution
Another simple, yet beneficial feature in a CRM solution is the ability to create and execute tasks to be completed on a contact-by-contact basis or within the more general scope of the CRM. Tasks are an easy way for CRM account managers to see what needs to be done in terms of following up and maintaining engagement with contacts so that none get overlooked.
The ability to set deadlines on your tasks also helps with keeping contacts organized and on track – ensure your CRM account managers complete their tasks on time to maximize efficiency in the engagement process. Tasks are visible to all users with access to the CRM and can be assigned to the most relevant person in your business. Once a task has been generated, the assignee can receive an email with the details, including its level of priority.
5. Ability to connect with other tools
One last feature of an effective CRM solution is having the ability to connect with other communication channels such as email marketing or voice broadcasting tools. Having this ability to connect with other solutions allows for easy contact selection when sending messages. Your business can utilize your CRM’s lists of contacts to send your bulk messages to and can also add new contacts to the CRM when they sign up using an online form creator.
SimplyCast’s CRM tool boasts all of these features and more! With the SimplyCast CRM, you are able to create lists; organize contacts in pipelines; generate tasks; add custom information columns; connect with other communication channels – and what’s more – it allows you to do all of these things in one central, easy-to-use platform. With SimplyCast, there is no need to log in and out of multiple systems to manage your contacts and communications; do it all within a single system to maximize efficiency and get the most out of your contact management efforts.