There’s no denying that CRM software can be one of the most powerful investments you make in your business. Research from Salesforce shows that CRM software can help to increase sales by up to 29 per cent, sales productivity by up to 34 per cent, and sales forecast accuracy by 42 per cent. With results like this, it makes real business sense to invest in CRM software.
While there are hundreds of CRM software products available, there are some key features and modules which are common among almost all of them. These important modules allow you to capture and store data, equip your sales team with insights and help to make your marketing campaigns more effective.
Here are five of the most important CRM software modules in 2019.
1. Contact management module
One of the most basic requirements for a CRM product is that it provides your business with a place to store contacts. The contact management (or customer management) module does exactly that.
The contact management module is where your key contact data exists. It’s where you can create records for clients, customers, suppliers and others that you do business with. Within most contact management modules you’ll be able to see information about a contact, their interactions with your team and communicate with them easily thanks to email client integration.
Why is contact management an important CRM module?
A well-built contact management module makes finding and interrogating contact data easy, with up to 74 per cent of CRM software users reporting improved access to customer data from using one. Here are some of the main benefits:
- You can find contacts quickly through search or by filtering by demographics or categories
- Segmented lists can be built for your marketing team’s email campaigns
- You can create a target list for your sales team quickly
- It’s easy to refer back to past interactions to help with support or aftersales queries
2. Lead management module
The lead management module is home to your sales team’s best tools. Here you’ll find features designed to help you capture and manage leads more effectively, from lead scoring to pipeline management.
Within your lead management module, you’ll be able to view and sort leads by characteristics to build target lists, track the progress of leads and evaluate the effectiveness of your sales strategy. Access to data is reported to help shorten sales cycles by 8–14 per cent – another great reason to use CRM software to help empower your sales team.
Why should your CRM feature a powerful lead management module?
The best CRM products recognise the value in empowering sales teams to manage their leads more effectively. Whether your team handles a small number of high-value leads or thousands of enquiries every week, the right lead management module can improve productivity and streamline your process.
These are some of our top reasons to make use of your CRM software’s lead management module:
- Enjoy efficiency savings as your sales team now has an organised way of scoring and dealing with leads and enquiries
- You’ll have a more strategic overview of your leads and sales pipeline, with all your data in one place
- Track the effectiveness of your sales team’s efforts and fine-tune your sales strategy based on real-time and historical data
3. Marketing module
While we may think of CRM software as the go-to for sales teams, it’s also a powerful tool for your marketing team. With your contact data, sales information and marketing campaigns all in one place, you’re in a position to evaluate and refine your marketing plans for the future.
The leading CRM software products include a full-featured email marketing tool, which allows you to send targeted, personalised emails to your contacts. The ability to interrogate your data to build segmented lists is incredibly valuable, with research from Campaign Monitor suggesting that segmented campaigns can drive a 760 per cent increase in revenue.
Many CRM software products now also feature the ability to create landing pages for marketing campaigns, sign up forms to capture data and website pop-ups to encourage email sign-ups. Social CRM is another popular addition which allows you to view and analyse interactions with your audience on social media.
What makes the marketing module one of the most important?
If your marketing team runs multiple software programs for email marketing, marketing automation, social listening and analytics, there’s a lot of time involved in gathering and interpreting data. With CRM support, this is all kept in one place, making analysis and reporting easier.
Here are more reasons why the marketing module is so useful:
- You can track opens, clicks and other actions taken from email campaigns on a per-contact basis, then use this information to score leads or build lists for future campaigns
- Data from your marketing campaigns can inform the activity of other teams, like sales and support without a delay, which means improved cross-team collaboration
- You can cut down on the number of tools in your marketing technology stack or make use of integrations to run your marketing activity directly from your CRM software
4. Project management module
While there are a number of standalone project management tools available, having one built into your CRM software means that you can benefit from the integration of your contact data.
Many of the top CRM software products offer a project management module that can help your project teams to stay on track. Popular modules include drag-and-drop task boards, visual timelines and the ability to create multi-level tasks which can be assigned to individuals. Some CRM software providers also offer an app or a mobile CRM version of their product, which means that your team can update on the move.
Why is having a project management module in your CRM important?
The main reason to make use of your CRM software’s project management module is to increase productivity and efficiency within your project teams.
Here’s why the project management module can be useful:
- Enable your teams to manage projects more effectively, thanks to the built-in features and the ability to reference data within your CRM software
- You’re likely to see improvements in team effectiveness and accountability, as teams can follow the progress of individual tasks and communicate with notes
- Improve communication and knowledge across your company by allowing other teams to view progress on projects in real time
5. Analysis and Reporting Module
The analysis and reporting module is an integral part of your CRM software. These tools allow you to create useful and meaningful reports based on data sets from right across your software, bringing data and insights together from multiple teams and sources.
Why should you make use of your analysis and reporting CRM software modules?
What good is all the data you hold if you don’t use it to inform your strategy? The greatest benefit of analysis and reporting modules is that you can present data in a format that is easy to understand, which gives you the opportunity to evaluate and improve on your approach to marketing, sales and support.
Here are a few other reasons why this module is so important:
- You can create and automate reports that you run regularly, which saves time and allows you to easily compare changes
- Build reports based on key performance indicators (KPIs) and project goals to inform your senior management team or board
- Use data to make informed decisions about the future of your sales, marketing, service or other areas of your business
Which other CRM software modules and features are there?
The five most important CRM software modules covered above offer most businesses what they need to store, manage and use data to their advantage.
The beauty of CRM software is that you can often add extra modules to tailor it to your exact needs. These may be modules which are available as add-ons or you could speak to your software provider about custom modules.
Here are some examples of other CRM software modules and features that may be useful for your business, depending on your industry and needs.
- Helpdesk and live chat
- Property management
- Event listings
- Orders and returns processing
- Proposal and document signing
- Telephony and auto-dialling
- Workflows and approvals
- Invoice and order management
- Mobile messaging
As well as modules, most CRM software providers offer a range of free integrations so that you can ‘plug in’ your existing sales and marketing solutions to bring everything together in one place.
How do you choose the right CRM software?
The right CRM software can improve productivity and efficiency across your business and become a valuable asset for your teams. But how do you choose the right option for your business?
Investing in CRM software is often a project itself, with many considerations including pricing, features, user experience and reputation. On EXPERTcomparison.com, you’ll find all the most popular CRM software products, and with access to features, prices and authorised reviews from fellow professionals who are already using the products, comparing the options that best suit your operation couldn’t be easier.