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Once your company has decided to use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, what are some of the things it should look for in a software program?

First, you will want a piece of software that can easily and quickly help you design a targeted email campaign. Customers have gotten used to communicating with their favorite businesses via email, and expect to receive offers from them. Managing and targeting your customers via email campaigns is much easier to do with a powerful CRM program.

Second, do you have documents used frequently in your business, that you want all or some of your employees to have easy access to? Such as sales forms, price sheets, reimbursement forms, time sheets, or other documents necessary to running your company? If so, you may want to consider whether the CRM you’re considering has a document library on which all of these functions can be securely stored.

Third, how many customers do you have? How many customers would you like to have? The answer to the second question is probably a higher number than the first, so you’ll want to make sure that your CRM can handle at least upwards of 100,000 records, to accommodate your growing business.

Fourth, you will want to make sure that your CRM program has an inventory management component. This will help you understand what items you are ordering so as to meet your customers’ demands, and how your forecasted sales (another component that should be present in your CRM) relates to your inventory needs.

Fifth, a good CRM should contain a solution for handling your company’s marketing and advertising campaigns. This way, you can take leads, figure out how to capitalize on them most effectively, and track how many of them are due to whichever campaign you choose to use turn into actual sales.

Sixth, in today’s global economy, you need to consider whether or not your business is being accessed from around the world. If so, how do you wish to be paid? A good CRM will be able to assist you in making the conversion from dollars to euros, yen, pounds, pesos or any other type of currency you may wish to use. This makes handling these transactions easier for you, your customers, and your employees.

Seventh, good communication is key to success in any endeavor. A CRM which has an integrated chat system will be of great use to your employees, allowing them to communicate with each other about customer experiences and issues within the same software they use to track and handle sales/inventory/customer service and support functions.

Lastly, but certainly not least, you want to treat your best customer as best as you can. That may mean specific pricing for specific groups or customers — perhaps, giving them discounts for larger orders or frequent business with you. A CRM that is optimized for your business will make that possible, by having a customer-specific pricing feature.

Purchasing CRM software for your business is a good first step; however, you’ll maximize your investment if you make sure that you have all the features you need to get the most out of this new program.

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