If not all of them are yet equipped (yes, yes…), CRM software has taken pride of place in the toolbox of companies. This large presence is explained by its essential nature for the smooth running of your commercial development strategy and therefore for the increase in your turnover.

Beyond a simple address book of commercial contacts, we will detail what CRM is used for and why you should choose it carefully.

What is a CRM?

The word CRM ( customer relationship management ) actually refers to several key elements in the commercial development of a company.

The company's customer relationship management (CRM) strategy

These are the decisions and objectives that have been set by management in terms of customer interaction policy. This concerns several departments, in particular the marketing and sales teams, but also the customer service team, for example.

The customer relationship management process

This is an operational process that will guide all teams to deliver a standardized customer relationship experience throughout the lifecycle of a customer with your company.

CRM software

But today we mainly use this term to talk about CRM as commercial management software within companies. I bet it's this last definition that brings you to this article and that's good because it's CRM tools we're going to talk about.

The objectives of a CRM software

The main objective of this type of software is to facilitate the monitoring and consolidation of commercial activity . In particular, it allows sales teams to fill in the customer data they have in a single tool (rather than in 27 different e-mails) throughout the sales cycle, but also to better organize themselves during this same cycle. .

At the same time, CRM software is a very effective tool for management since it allows you to have an overview of sales activity and to monitor the performance of the sales process in near real time.

Finally, let's not tell a story, at a time when sales teams are difficult to form and even more complex to retain, a CRM ensures that the company capitalizes on customer data and facilitates the transfer between outgoing salespeople and new salespeople. This is especially true when the sales cycle is long.

The main features of CRM software

What are the main features of CRM software (CRM but in French)?

Well basically and for the pleasure of being unpleasant with publishers, the basis of a CRM is to be a digital contact directory.

Relax, of course you're not JUST that dear editors.

In order not to make anyone jealous and because we are not a publisher ourselves, we will do as on television. We are going to cite several effective software and favor almost none of them.

We'll be honest with you and let you know which ones we recommend the most to our customers and why later in the article. There are so many that we can't name them all and after all, if it's our article you're reading, it's to get our opinion, isn't it?

Let’s go back to the most emblematic features of CRMs:

Contact management

The management of contacts, customers and prospects, offered by CRMs is very advanced, it even has an adblocker there. You can really consolidate all customer data in one place. Most solutions even offer custom fields, which allow you to go a long way in collecting and consolidating customer information. But be careful not to go too far, if you have tons of fields but they are not filled, it will not help you.

Easy creation of contacts synchronized with your CRM

Most CRM and email marketing software offer add-ons for connecting to your salespeople's email accounts to automatically fill in as much information as possible. It can also be used on social networks to easily extract information and create contacts on the fly. A valuable time saver.

Tracking of communications and sales documents

This synchronization with e-mail accounts generally goes further. Many CRMs will allow you to track the opening of your emails by your interlocutors but also to track the opening and reading of the presentations you have sent. This can be very useful for contacting your contacts at the right time during a sales process, for example.

Appointment booking made easy thanks to the CRM

Some CRM tools make it easier to book appointments by integrating slot proposal functions directly into the body of the email or even automated appointment booking with tool integrations like Calendly . This may seem secondary, but all the salespeople who read us understand the time saved to avoid back and forth when scheduling appointments!

Sales support, email template etc.

Customer relationship management tools sometimes offer functions to facilitate the sales process . From our point of view, this is one of the aspects least well addressed by CRMs today. Most will allow you to create email templates to save time and some will automate part of the creation of sales documents to more easily customize a presentation for example.

This is insufficient, however we can note that some tools work on it like NoCrm with its appointment frame tool.

Follow up on sales opportunities

Of course, one of the main functions remains the monitoring of the commercial pipe ! This feature allows you to view all of the prospects being in the sales process with your company and at what stage they are. It is an important management tool both for the management, who will use it to forecast the turnover to come over the next few months, and for the sales representatives who will be able to monitor their activity and that of the company more simply. team as a whole.

Trade performance statistics

Finally, the creation of personalized dashboards to monitor all commercial activity is also an important feature, particularly for management in order to detect areas for improvement or flaws in the company's commercial process.

Mobile CRMs

More and more CRMs rely on mobile to support salespeople. It's not just “responsiveness”. CRMs like Hubspot or even the CRM suite (which is open source) offer complete applications to support your salespeople in the field, enter a business card using the smartphone camera, etc.

How to choose your CRM software

Definition of your CRM tool needs

Before considering setting up a CRM , you must make a precise inventory of your needs. Not all CRM solutions offer exactly the same features and do not work the same way. And depending on your current situation, the questions to ask vary enormously.

  • Who will use the CRM? How many users?
  • What is the main purpose of this tool?
  • Is there data to recover from previous software?
  • Will your CRM need to be connected with other tools?
  • Do you need additional functionalities such as the management of marketing campaigns for example?
  • Do you need to use the software on mobile devices?

Overall, be careful not to over-equip yourself with prodigiously complex software designed for organizations 10 or 100 times larger than yours. Their cost is of course higher but beyond the immediate additional cost, the excessive complexity of a software will make it unusable for your teams.

Do not overlook the drafting of real specifications by involving all the employees intended to use the tool. This will ensure that you don't oversize or undersize your need.

Your corporate culture and side projects

Beyond the objective needs, your corporate culture comes into play. For example, you may have the habit of setting up hyperefficient specialized tools in their respective fields, even if it means having several. Or on the contrary prefer all-in-one tools.

If you are in the first case, tools like NoCRM and Pipedrive will be excellent for you (we love them, we'll tell you about them later). If you are in the second case, Hubspot or zoho CRM would surely be more suitable since you can add lots of additional tools (marketing suite, customer service suite, office suite, coffee machine… XD).

Beyond this aspect, at Sales Odyssey we tend to think that CRMs all have an underlying “culture”. There are CRMs that are basically designed by and for salespeople, there are CRMs that are hybrid and incorporate a very marketing logic. Finally, some, rarer, manage to combine the two rather well.

Know how you work yourself to choose the tool that suits you. There is no “good” culture to have. Simply choose the tool that is right for you .

CRM choices: let your salespeople choose

Or in any case involve them strongly, their opinion must have an important weight.

Why ?

Because a poorly completed CRM that is not used on a daily basis is a useless CRM. This may seem obvious to you, but the reality is that the choice of the manager and the direction takes precedence most of the time over that of the teams. It is a mistake. You won't drive anything if your teams don't want to use the tools.

Yes, you will be able to use energy and coercion to force them. But think a bit about the ROI. Isn't it more profitable to favor the solution that will allow you to easily reach your objective rather than the solution that you like but which will require energy and time to be really adopted and therefore useful?

This does not necessarily seem logical, we can talk for a long time about the fact that the teams are not always aware of all the issues. But be pragmatic, either your team is convinced and chooses this solution FREELY, or you buy yourself problems that will have a cost that you can't even imagine.