Maintaining a customer-centric business model means knowing how to best meet consumer demands. For this reason, enterprises and organizations often utilize CRM software systems to uncover the best ways to exceed their customers’ expectations.
CRM software can provide helpful insights for enterprises when leveraged effectively. However, a mistake that many organizations make when implementing CRM solutions is not knowing the ins and outs of this software beforehand. For the smoothest process, take the time to understand the advantages and challenges of implementing a CRM software system.
What is CRM software?
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a solution that enables companies to manage customer interactions and improve the overall customer experience. These tools can leverage customer activity data, uncover valuable insights, and connect workforce teams to streamline collaboration and build customer loyalty.
Related: 5 Types of CRM Software — Which Is Right for You?
Advantages of implementing a CRM system
There are many advantages to utilizing CRM systems. Enterprises can see improvements not only in their customer loyalty and retention but in other areas of their business processes as a result. These include sales, teamwork, productivity, analytics and reporting, and integrations.
It makes sense that improved customer relationships can lead to better sales, but CRM systems do more than just that. These systems can collect data on sales to generate sales reports, which can help enterprise decision-makers through analysis and insights.
They can also provide support with identifying leads and converting them into dedicated customers. For example, Hubspot CRM has lead management and tracking software, which logs sales activities and assigns lead scores to identify worthy prospects.
CRM systems address information silos and communication barriers by connecting internal teams and promoting collaboration. This allows relevant stakeholders to maintain knowledge of all processes and stay updated on important happenings within the organization.
Zendesk Sell is a CRM solution that promotes teamwork through collaborative features like centralized messaging via user dashboards.
CRM tools can help create efficient processes centered around the consumer’s needs, resulting in increased productivity within each department.
These software solutions also contain features to automate some tasks, which saves time for your team and allows employees to dedicate their efforts to more important projects. For example, Salesforce Sales Cloud can automate the approval processes for business requests like expense reports.
Analytics and reporting
CRM systems can analyze customer relationship history, time-based sales metrics, KPIs, and more factors to help users develop better work practices. This data can also be analyzed to create forecasts. The Zoho CRM forecasting tool uses users’ historical and current deal closure patterns and sales data to help them set achievable future goals.
CRM software can provide many advantages when functioning independently, but integrating this software with other enterprise systems provides even more benefits. As the central hub for customer activity, a CRM platform that’s integrated with other tools uncovers even more information about these actions.
Integrations can also just make life easier, as they connect each area of the enterprise workflow. For example, Dynamics365 is a CRM solution that provides sales and customer service software integration.
Keep reading: How CRM and ERP Integration Can Benefit Your Business
What are the Challenges involved with CRM solutions?
Improper CRM implementation can create challenges with the system’s functionality. Fortunately, there are methods to avoid and work through these software bottlenecks.
For less tech-savvy users, CRM software may seem intimidating. However, most issues can be addressed with effective end-user training. By providing proper training that focuses on each area of your software at a time, you can easily build your team’s confidence in the system.
If software complexity still poses issues for your team, adjusting their user permissions may be wise. This involves limiting users within the system only to allow necessary actions, reducing their likelihood of becoming confused or making a costly error.
Read more: Employee Training Technology Is the Future of Remote Work
Certain functions of CRM systems are only made possible through integrations with third-party tools. Therefore, a CRM solution that does not support an organization’s existing software toolbox can cause problems or even render the CRM product useless for customer relationship management tasks.
To avoid this issue, a buyer should first research the CRM they are considering to ensure that it supports the organization’s existing software tools. If the CRM software doesn’t integrate with their other systems, they could still connect them via API. APIs can pull data from other software programs and data sources for use within the CRM solution.
Read more: REST API Development Guide: Tips & Best Practices
As with most enterprise software systems, a CRM’s cybersecurity posture should be a top consideration. Malware attacks and data breaches can jeopardize an organization’s future, especially if the targeted application stores sensitive data at the same volume as most CRM solutions.
Thankfully, most vendors have security features to protect customer data from any cybersecurity threats. Features like encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and single sign-on (SSO) are just a few of the protection methods CRMs use to keep data safe.
Still, buyers should review the security measures built into a CRM solution before purchasing to determine whether their data will be safe with the security in place.
Read more: Can Companies Future-Proof Against Security Vulnerabilities?
How to get the most from a CRM software system
To get the most from your CRM solution, choose a system that will support your organization’s primary goals. These may be more focused on collaboration among internal departments, analytics and reporting, revenue growth, organization-wide productivity, software integration, or another top priority.
Once you have considered the use cases and capabilities of your ideal CRM tool, you can determine the best software system for your enterprise needs.