With CRM software solutions being at the forefront of Customer Experience (CX) today, businesses now have a variety of advanced tools to ensure their customers are engaged, satisfied and bound to return. In spite of offering increased versatility via customisation, enterprise CRM solutions can be a daunting undertaking, especially when it comes to building CRM software for small business purposes.
CRM software development is therefore a high-energy topic which consumes much time and effort from business leaders and software development teams alike. Owing to a limitless array of customizable features, constantly evolving user volumes and the adoption of autonomous technologies such as conversational AI, the average business needs to consider many factors when building CRM software – even if it is not their first time doing so.
EFutures is a software development company in Sri Lanka that offers industry-specific solutions, all of which are uniquely tailored to fit even the most niche business requirements. Likewise, we also specialise in CRM software development for clients both local and from around the globe, by utilising highly skilled talent and our long-standing partnerships with leading cloud service providers.
Being at the forefront of CRM software development in Sri Lanka, we’ve learned a thing or two about building the best CRM for your business. Here, we share the top CRM features that can be incorporated into your own bespoke CRM solution, as well as a detailed guide on how to get started, step by step.
A contact management system is a basic functionality in any CRM system, as it offers businesses the means to record all customer data within a single, unified module. Each customer receives their own profile, which includes master data such as their particulars, as well as records of all transactional data such as products purchased, complaints received etc.
Omnichannel CRM systems can enhance the capability of customer profiles by offering agents the opportunity to receive all forms of communication in the customer’s profile, thereby making it a centralised access point for all interactions with the customer – without having to toggle between multiple different applications.
Lead management modules offer multiple functions to profile and analyse leads, typically on a real-time basis. Especially valuable for B2B companies, lead management modules within CRMs can facilitate lead generation, lead distribution and even lead analysis by way of lead scoring. AI is a high-potential use case for lead management, as lead/opportunity tracking can be enhanced through predictive insights so that sales teams can proactively prepare for better results.
Campaign management systems within CRMs help marketing teams orchestrate and automate many campaign-related functions, from drip emails to trigger-based push notifications. Simple drag-and-drop functionalities in top campaign management systems can enable employees to build custom campaigns at short notice; a boon for last-minute ideas to take effect during seasonal or demand-based fluctuations.
Campaign management systems can work hand-in-hand with deal management systems, as inquiries or orders via calls-to-action can automatically reach sales teams so they can attend to prospects without any delay.
Pipeline management systems in CRMs ensure all steps that a buyer takes are carefully planned, executed and monitored, while also ascertaining whether buyers have all the resources they need and nothing is missed, during each step of the process. Pipeline management can involve all steps in a buyer’s journey, starting from when they are initially sourced, to when they eventually make a purchase. As a result, pipeline management and lead management systems are often closely integrated, so that every prospective buyer that enters the sales funnel can be attended to.
Brand management modules in CRM systems enable marketing teams to maintain positive perceptions about your organisation’s brand with multiple stakeholders, particularly your target customers. Analysis techniques such as social listening is particularly popular with brand management systems, as it scours social platforms beyond that of your business page to reveal insights about what potential customers truly think about a product or service.
Using AI-backed technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), sentiment analysis can also be conducted to unveil more data surrounding customer feedback and behaviour patterns. Depending on the insights, your product/service strategies can be re-calibrated, including subsequent marketing strategies, to align with your business’s final objectives in a more effective manner.
As sales managers are tasked with the responsibility of monitoring the daily duties and performance of many sales executives that are distributed across multiple towns, states and even countries, territory management modules help streamline all of this within a single CRM system. However, territory management does much more by also offering managers helpful performance insights, so that future sales inquiries can be automatically routed to the right agents, locations or departments for the highest chance at conversion.
Building a detailed assessment surrounding the needs and objectives of your business can help build the best case for a suitable CRM system. Gathering relevant members from across the organisation to conduct a candid discussion regarding the problems and bottlenecks currently being faced by your organisation can be collated into a brief. This can then serve as the primary point of reference for your software development team, since they can now determine which CRM features and functionalities will be most suitable when building or upgrading your CRM system.
Using the assessment for reference, UI/UX designers can start building wireframes to visualise the placement and navigation of necessary features within the CRM system. Integrations of third-party tools such as business intelligence solutions or Unified Communications (UC) systems can also be considered at this stage, so team members can understand how data between multiple applications will flow and be available for use, well before they are able to test the system.
Once designs are finalised, developers begin to code your CRM system. Today’s Agile software development processes seldom follow a strict sequence, which means that individual modules or components could be available for testing. As testing and bug-fixing is carried out on a piecemeal basis, both development and quality assurance teams are rendered more efficient – as opposed to being inundated with tasks of a larger, bulkier nature. End users can also test these components out in tandem, so any feedback offered can be weaved in during these early stages to reveal a final CRM product that is closely aligned to business objectives.
An MVP or Minimum Viable Product is a wise option for new CRM systems, as it will only consist of the most essential features during the very first release. Newer features will only be added based on user-generated requests and error reports, so your custom CRM system is clutter-free, while the effort of your software development team is only being expended on developing features that users will find valuable. This will also streamline the coding and testing processes outlined above, as development teams need not worry about building a large-scale system that may possibly lead to lengthy release deadlines and complications during implementation.
Add to this the fact that an iterative upgrade cycle can be maintained from the ground up, with an MVP. Your CRM system will start small and gradually expand with features which while intricate, will be truly valuable for your team members. Establishing a DevOps cycle for upgrading and maintaining your CRM system will also enable timely updates for areas such as cybersecurity, backups, database management and technical debt.
Building the best CRM for your business is a combination of adding the correct features, using the right infrastructure and monitoring for improvements – while being flexible enough to scale as customer/seasonal/economic demands ebb and flow. With no two custom CRM solutions being identical, it is important for your organisation to have clarity on what is lacking in your existing CRM software (if you have one) and which business objectives are being hindered because of this. Connecting the dots between these gaps is what will enable your team of UI/UX designers and programmers to architect a solution that truly elevates customer experience, while optimising employee workflows at the same time.
Simultaneously, your business assessment can also pave the way for determining which CRM features are most suitable for your custom CRM solution. Whether it is a basic customer profiling system for a small business or sophisticated lead management with an integrated AI chatbot, your business assessment shall be the primary point of reference for what currently is, and how it can be improved. Additionally, focusing on an MVP can further simplify release cycles, as software development teams need only meet bite-sized goals for implementing software that has a faster time to market – and only consists of essential features for both customer and employee.