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Learn more about CRM software

CRM software can benefit businesses of all sizes. It enables you to improve relationships with customers, colleagues, partners and suppliers. You can automate communication channels and various admin tasks, and with intuitive dashboards and customisable modules, you can see everything in one place — customers’ history, order status, outstanding tasks and issues... Ultimately, if you’ve got a large or growing customer base or deal with a substantial amount of data, CRM software can make running a business a lot smoother and more hassle-free.

It’s predicted that CRM technology will soon be the single largest revenue area of spending in enterprise software (Gartner). If your business is going to be successful and sustainable, CRM software can provide the support framework for the necessary strategy demands.

salesforce crm screenshot

Do I need CRM software?

There aren’t many modern business models that wouldn’t benefit from the use of an intuitive CRM software package. From startups needing to scale quickly through small businesses looking to achieve sustainable growth to large enterprises requiring order and clarity in all areas of sales, data management and customer service; CRM offers a plethora of programs designed to make running a business of any size a lot more manageable.

CRM software can provide and support strategies to look after and learn more about customers' needs in order to develop stronger relationships with them. And ultimately, the better you manage your strategy and customer relations, the more opportunity you give yourself for growth and success.

Why should you use CRM software?

There are numerous benefits of using CRM software. Just some of the positive outcomes the technology can have on your business include:

Better client relationships

CRM software enables you to create stronger connections and better relationships with your customers.

Cost savings

From better meeting schedules to more successful and timely complaint resolutions, the potential cost savings associated with CRM software are boundless.

Better in-house collaboration

Teams can interact more easily and all communications can be logged for reference to save time and effort at all levels.

Improved customer experience

Recording all customer interactions means anyone in your organisation can better serve the client by referring to what has been previously communicated.

Increased employee satisfaction

The more knowledge your employees have the more empowered and involved they’ll feel. An up-to-date CRM that everyone can access at some level will help employees feel closer to the customer and the rest of the company.

Improved cross-selling ability

The more information you have on your clients' needs, the more you’re able to tailor services to match their requirements.

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Common features of CRM software

Individual CRM software products will offer different sets of applications and programs, but there are certain features that are common across most options on the market. Here are some of the common CRM software features:

Lead management

Usually set up in the form of a dedicated interface with a list of your leads. These modules provide you with everything you need to know about each lead – demographic details, latest interactions with your company, activity on your website, etc. Lead management modules usually give you direct access for performing important actions, such as emailing/calling the lead, making notes and arranging appointments.

Pipeline management

Pipeline management modules usually come in the form of a visual sales pipeline – an overview of your deals grouped in stages. Similar to lead management, additional features such as direct access to calling/emailing contacts can save vital sales time.

Email

Switching between your email account and CRM can take up time unnecessarily. That’s why many CRM systems allow you to integrate your email with the software. You may also have access to email metrics for tracking open rates and clickthrough rates.

Reports

Generating reports using all the data stored in the CRM database is a key benefit of the software. Different CRM systems offer different levels of flexibility when it comes to creating reports; some allow you to only create standard reports using a simple template, others allow you to create complex reports with customisable templates.

Automation

A great saver of time with CRM software is replacing manual work with rule-based logic. From sending emails, through workflow management, to changing the status of deals, many activities can be automated.

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Cost of CRM software

The cost of CRM software packages varies. Some are completely free (although usually come with limited features and functionality), others are moderately priced and may include all the features and functionality your business needs. More complex systems – often suited to large organisations – are a lot more expensive but comes with all the bells and whistles to cater for the most comprehensive and in-depth strategic requirements.

For example, Salesforce’s Sales Cloud packages range from £20 per user per month for Salesforce Essentials (an out-of-the-box CRM for up to five users), to £240 per user per month for Lightning Unlimited, which provides unlimited CRM power and support.

When it comes to judging how much you should spend on subscription products such as CRM software, EXPERTcomparison.com’s advice is always to get the package with the features you know you’ll definitely make good use of. If you need to scale up in future, you can look at a more comprehensive option when the time is right. But it would be a waste of money to buy a product and only use half of the package.

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How to choose the best CRM software

When choosing the right CRM for your business, there are numerous factors to consider before comparing products. This generally consists of looking at your business model and asking a few key questions, such as: How many people will be using the CRM? What is your budget? Will you benefit most from a relatively simple system or is a complex software that will intuitively expand with your growth needed?

Once you’re a bit clearer on what kind of CRM software will benefit your business most, you can use the handy EXPERTcomparison.com tables and guides to help you find the most suitable, most valuable package for your needs. Compare CRM software features, look at the ratings, and explore the benefits of each product to give you an informed breakdown of which product you should invest in.