11 Features to Look for in a CRM

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Different businesses have different needs, but you can’t go wrong with strong customer relationship management software. These are the hallmarks of a great CRM.

Your business can’t live without a CRM. You need it to track leads, monitor relationship management and maintain your contacts. But, with a bevy of CRM platforms on the market, how do you know which one is right for your business? Different CRMs may have distinctly different features that can narrow down your search, such as the ability to customize the platform to your needs or create a reporting structure that fits your business requirements.

We asked 11 entrepreneurs from YEC to share what features they look for the most when selecting a CRM. Here’s what they said.

1. Ease of use

“When deciding on a new CRM system, my initial thought is to analyze the user experience. I know that if the design is intuitive and easy to use, my employees will be able to find information quicker, which could result in them reaching out to more clients.” – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster

2. Integration

“The best feature to look for is integration. The software needs to be integratable to your website, phone and email accounts. It might be time to switch if you’re closing fewer deals and losing clients.” – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

Editor’s note: Looking for CRM software? We can help you choose the program that’s right for you. Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

3. Revenue tracking

“When choosing a CRM, I focus on which one is going to give me the most visibility when it comes to my revenue tracking. If I am not able to track my revenue, then the CRM isn’t doing me any good. The more I am able to track my data, the better the CRM is. This is why I typically go with Salesforce or HubSpot CRM, because they support data being the core of your business.” – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing

4. Security

“A good CRM will gather a great deal of pertinent data on our customers. Some services offer more in-depth features than others, but the one aspect that I always prioritize is security. The most damaging action a business can take is losing the trust of their customers, which is why any sensitive data gathered by CRMs need to be encrypted competently. If there’s a leak, it’s time for us to switch.” – Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

5. Role specificity

“There are so many CRMs these days that they have now become role specific. You’re now able to find CRMs specific for PR, real estate, finance and more. Sometimes finding an industry-specific CRM is the way to go, because they already have all the features you would have spent time customizing.” – Jared Atchison, WPForms

6. Data collection

“CRM software should store and retrieve data, but it should also be able to collect data and analyze patterns. Making sure the system is capable of complex analytics is important. You’ll know when it’s time to switch platforms when your business has scaled beyond the software. If the program is struggling to keep up with your growth in terms of contacts, leads or campaigns, it’s probably time to move on.” – Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli Inc.

7. Ability to eliminate features

“CRM is a massive and feature-packed industry. Despite the incredible integrations and robust features, some CRM solutions are like smartphones crammed with bloatware. It is vital to be able not only to customize the CRM experience through the additions of features, but through the elimination of features as well.” – Ryan Bradley, Koester & Bradley LLP

8. Channel data integration

“Integrating CRM with channel data to know where the lead has come from – such as Google, social, trade show, etc. – allows you to effectively optimize each marketing funnel and assign cost per lead per channel. If you have an organized funnel system and team to monitor the costs and efforts of content, you are able to determine what metrics provide the most accurate data for your monitoring.” – Matthew Capala, Alphametic

9. Simple visual interface

“CRMs get cluttered with messy data too often. We tried a CRM that had all the features we needed and the automation to speed up our processes. The biggest challenge was that it was an eyesore, painfully slow, and required too much clicking through windows to get anything done. When we moved to a new CRM, we chose one with significantly fewer features but a simple interface. Our team loves it!” – Krish Chopra, Nurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations

10. Automation

“Artificial intelligence has progressed enough that it’s important to look for software that has automation and elements that can be launched based on triggers. There’s too much work to be done to do it all manually. Look for a CRM software that can assist you in the cumbersome process of customer relationship management in as many touch points as possible.” – Marcela De Vivo, Mulligan Funding

11. Multiple users

“We have been using Pipedrive: It is easier and less expensive to use than Salesforce, and you can train anyone to use this web-based software from day one. It’s very intuitive, and they have comprehensive training videos online. The best advice I can give is that you shouldn’t just go with the most popular one out there. Many companies offer a 30-day free trial, so take advantage and explore different CRMs to see which best fits your needs and budget.” – Shu Saito, All Filters LLC

Scott Gerber

Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.

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