Choosing a CRM platform can make you feel like being trapped in a minefield. One misstep and months of plans, approvals, and implementations go up in the air. Luckily, you’re not the first to tackle such a task, and many online sources will give you good advice on how to plan out your CRM adoption.
Future-proof, Future-proof, Future-proof
But here’s the problem. Do you really know what you need? Do you have that profound and battle-hardened knowledge that comes from years of CRM admin experience in various organisations? Maybe you do, but what about your teammates? CRM is a complex software that affects the workflows and processes of many different departments – IT, Sales, and Operations to name a few. You have to be able to identify and answer their needs as well, even if they don’t know what they are.
And it gets worse. Businesses and customers evolve, employees come and go, and expectations change. You want to future-proof your CRM. You certainly don’t want to invest a significant amount of money and time into a platform that turns out to be inadequate in a couple of years.
The truth is that while you can’t think of everything, there are precautions you can take to minimalize future risks. The key is to ensure having flexible features that can be shaped to your current needs.
Flexible Single Customer View
No matter how big and complicated your CRM software gets over time, you’ll always want to keep tabs on customer records. You’ll want to be able to search for individual contacts and view all the relevant information on one page.
However, what makes this feature survive the trial of time is the ability to create and edit fields using custom data. This allows you to adapt to your company’s ever-changing expectations.
Smart Audience Management
Audience (sometimes known as List) Management, groups individual customer profiles together based on specific characteristics defined by you (e.g., cruise holiday enthusiasts). The most basic type lets you upload excel sheets, but the more advanced option establishes a set of rules a contact must meet to join the audience. The entry requirements can be customer behaviour (page view, email click…), traits (age, job title…), or events (mobile app crash, SMS delivered…).
This feature complements the ability to create custom fields in a single customer view. It can be further implemented in journeys, reporting, or here in audiences.
User-friendly Asset Builder
You want to be able to create complex campaign assets via a simple UI. Convenient drag-and-drop boxes that instantly populate the asset with content you need, whether it is an image, video, gif, or a countdown timer are the way to go.
A built-in image editor will spare you the hassle of editing your imagery in third-party design tools. And it makes training new users easier, especially if they have no or minimal design experience.
Overall, you want to build visually impressive assets easily and learn how to do it quickly.
Click-to-build Marketing Automation
There are many ways automation can make your life easier, whether it is through triggering customer comms or internal processes. Nevertheless, you can still encounter resistance regarding automation, some people still wrongly consider this to be a big and complex feature that only an IT brainiac could possibly set up.
However, nowadays you can choose a CRM that makes automation easy to build, while still remaining incredibly insightful and powerful. Look for the term “click-to-build”, where you can set your own automated journeys and workflows with a few simple clicks and straightforward guidelines.
Customisable Approval Hierarchy
Often forgotten, but for many organisations a crucial feature is a customisable team hierarchy. This enables you to set different permissions for members of the team and automatically send notifications to those with higher levels of permission (for example a designated line manager) every time a new asset or a journey is built. Once they give the project a thumbs up or suggest a change or two, they can release them to go live.
You may not need it now, but you never know how big your team is going to get in the future.
Custom API Integration
Like many companies, you may have essential in-house software that produces or manages data that you simply cannot function without in your day-to-day tasks. And you’re probably worried that new complex software such as CRM will disrupt your internal workflow processes.
It’s true that many big providers offer ready-to-go CRMs, but you can quickly tell if it’s mass-produced software that won’t fit your needs. They usually have a pre-approved app library that their platform will integrate with and if your in-house software isn’t among them – too bad. As a consequence, you’re left to deal with a third-party syncing tool, which is a headache on its own.
The right CRM is built around your needs, not the other way around. Your provider should be able to integrate any software you need with their CRM platform. Then no matter how the circumstances will change, you’ll be ready.
1-on-1 Dedicated Customer Support
Don’t you hate when you have a serious problem and go to your provider’s support page in the hopes of getting a quick and effective solution – only to be greeted by a bot? At best you’ll spend hours in a call queue, or maybe receive a ticket number and hear from them in a couple of days. And once you finally get a hold of someone, they spent about 30 seconds learning about the problem and know absolutely nothing about you and your business.
This is a standard issue with big CRM providers. They simply don’t have the time to give you the personal care you need, you’re just one of the tens of thousands of customers. You need a specialist on standby who knows you and your business needs. Because once you encounter a serious challenge, you want them on your side and not some random clueless advisor or a bot.
Therefore, make sure you’ll get 1-on-1 dedicated customer support when signing up. It will save you a lot of pain down the road.
We’re here to help
Finding the right CRM platform can be a daunting process. While it’s a necessary piece of software in today’s world, there are so many platforms to choose from and each contains dozens of pages worth of information that can make your head spin.
However, you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. Click the button below and let’s have a quick informal chat about Intilery and your CRM needs.