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What to Look for in CRM Software

February 19th, 2013

CRM software is customer relationship management software. The CRM business model is widely used and guides a company’s relationships with its current and potential clients or customers. CRM is a business organization and automation platform that uses technology to streamline four major aspects of business:

Sales
Customer service
Marketing
Technical support

These four parts of the business model are used to recruit new clients, manage and maintain current clients, win back lost clients, and increase revenues by decreasing the costs of marketing. A business must place a lot of emphasis on customer service in order to adopt this model.

Advantages of the CRM Business Model

CRM helps businesses use technology to streamline and organize business operations. Some benefits of using CRM software include:

Increased revenues
Decreased costs
Increased efficiency of employees
Increased efficiency of operations
Better internal and external company communications
Better customer service and client retention

CRM software uses sales force automation to streamline the sales process. Sales reps spend less time on each phase of the sales process, allowing them to take on more clients or for the company to use fewer sales reps to manage the same amount of clients.

Finding the Right CRM Software

There are hundreds of different types of CRM software, each tailored to the different types of businesses that rely on sales force and customer relations. How can you tell which one is right for your business?

Custom-designed CRM software programs are tailored to your individual business’s organizational and management needs. When you use a custom program to automate your business, you don’t have to worry about choosing the right type of CRM platform for your organization.

Here are some of the CRM software tools and management features you may want to integrate into your business’s own customized software.

FileMaker Pro. FileMaker Pro is a universal, customizable automation system that syncs your business’s current software management system with computer operating systems, desktop applications, and mobile devices, keeping all your workers on the same page and eliminating double data entry.

Outlook automation. By automating data exchange between Microsoft Outlook and FileMaker Pro, you can sync desktop applications such as Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Mail, Notes, and Journal with the FileMaker database and mobile devices. All computers and devices on the system can automatically share information and all users view applications in the same windows.

Apple automation. If your office uses Mac OS you can similarly sync data exchange between FileMaker Pro and common desktop applications such as iCal, Address Book, and IMAP mail. If your employees use both Microsoft and Apple operating systems, you can eliminate double entries and get your entire office on the same FileMaker system through automation.

Custom iPhone and iPad applications. Allow your business’s mobile devices to communicate with your desktop computers and the FileMaker system. If your sales reps use mobile devices to make appointments, record client contacts and account data, and manage email, devices can be setup to sync with the main system automatically and save extra time spent updating multiple systems.

QuickBooks automation. Most small businesses manage their finances through QuickBooks. By streamlining QuickBooks with Filemaker you can automatically enter invoices, receipts, contacts, and sales transactions into the main office system and eliminate double entry of data. Electronically recording invoices, sales transactions, and accounts payable and receivable eliminates the need for paper record storage.

Utility plug-ins. These customizations allow your office’s different electronic transactions to automatically record and update information within the main system. You can automate features like credit card processing, Constant Contact management, electronic signatures, fingerprint security, PDF documents, printers, and files.

These software development features can enhance your experience with building and using your custom CRM software.

Feasibility study. This should be performed before your software is created. A feasibility study helps your software developer understand your business’s needs when it comes to your business processes, IT infrastructure, and current software process and compatibility.

Frameworks. Frameworks are templates used to give your custom software solution a basic framework instead of building the program from scratch. Frameworks allow your software solution to be developed faster and save your business money on customized automation software.

Technical support. A developer that offers ongoing technical support about the use of your software will help you get the most out of your investment. Look for email, phone, and chat options, with additional literature accessible from your developer online.

 

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