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5 Features You Need in a CRM

CRM Necessities | Workflow, Reports, AffordabilityHow does your business organize prospects, leads, accounts and other information? Every company has their own processes as to how they retain, organize, and share this important information with the rest of their team. Unless everyone involved in that process is on the same page, processes are absolutely useless to a company. Collaborating with your team members is just as important as having the resources to provide metrics that allow your business to track progress.

CRMs can help make these processes more consistent, which in turn, makes your system more reliable. Today’s CRMs can be configured to automate your process, while providing you with essential tools to analyze that process. Your system should be easy to access from anywhere and a non-intrusive part of your workflow. Here are 5 specific features to consider when choosing the right CRM for your business.

  1. Personalization: Unique nomenclature & fields

    You shouldn’t have to completely change your process to mold to a new CRM system. Depending on what you’re switching over from (whether it’s another CRM platform or spreadsheet), you should be able to format your new CRM to match the lingo you already use. “Account” vs. “Company” or “Potential” vs. “Opportunity”. Keep it consistent so that every user in your company can contribute to a clean and well-organized database.

    Beyond the basic contact information, an ideal CRM setup for most companies will involve fields and/or triggers that are specific to the company. Create your system the way you imagine it without limits. Working with a CRM partner is extremely beneficial at this stage because they can build the systems to fit your needs exactly, while brainstorming, with you and your team, ways to make your process simpler and automated.

  2. Integration with Email, Calendar, Contacts

    Your CRM shouldn’t be driving you away from your inbox and causing you to spend more time navigating your screens than entering in the information you need to remember. Instead, the system should allow you to work in either location. You should be able to add leads from your email interface just as easily as you can send an email from within your CRM window. Check out one of the Zoho integration options with Google Apps below:

    Zoho CRM | Unique fields, tab bar, Gmail & calendar access

  3. Insightful Reporting

    A good CRM should not only offer you a list of standard reports that can help you pull information from your database, but it should also allow you to customize those reports, giving you the most efficient way to analyze your business’ performance. Furthermore, these reports should have the ability to be exported and compatible with your other systems.

  4. Affordable

    If you’re spending over $50 per user per month, you’re spending too much (no matter the size of your company). So many companies spend extra money for a CRM with features that their employees never use. Save what you spend on those rarely-used and most likely unneeded extra features, and be a smarter spender. Take what you save and actually build your relationships with the people in your CRM. Take them out for lunch or invite them to a company get-together. These activities are much more fun than letting an extra feature sit idle in your system.

  5. Cloud-based

    Does your system allow you to work at anytime, from anywhere, and on any device? Just like Google Apps for Business gives employees the opportunity to work the way they live, a CRM should do the same. Access your colleagues’ notes immediately after they’re entered and save time by never having to enter the same information in multiple locations again.

So there you have it. Dive in to a new way of working productively, while keeping in place the processes that make your business successful. Zoho CRM has been the system to give Cloudbakers all this and more. It could be yours too.

Originally published on April 21, 2014

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