These CRM solutions automate nearly all of the tasks that salespeople and their support staffs once performed manually.
Though the features of a CRM solution can vary from product to product, there are a few industry-standard functions:
- Contact manager. A CRM solution must have a powerful yet easy-to-use contact manager in order to track sales.
- Marketing encyclopedia. This feature includes a base of information about different vertical industries, competitors and products. It's a valuable tool that cuts research time and keeps you informed as to your clients' needs.
- Forecasting module. The forecasting module lets you analyze where and when leads are generated. This information will help you to determine how to spend future advertising and marketing budgets.
When looking for a CRM solution, these features aren't necessarily standard but you may find them helpful:
- Support for mobile devices. Not all CRM software included support for personal digital assistants (PDAs) but if your sales force uses PDAs, look for software that offers connectivity options for popular handhelds.
- A Web-centric approach. Like many other applications, CRM solutions are becoming Web based, are built entirely on Web technologies and can be accessed through a Web browser.