What to Look For When Selecting a CRM

Selecting and purchasing  the right CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool can be a daunting task.  There are many companies that market CRM tools and the choices can be overwhelming.  That is why it’s best to stick to the basic concept, which is: how do I find a CRM tool that everybody in the company will be able to use instead of a “great” tool with lots of bells and whistles that will simply

never be used by the people in the business that need to use it in order to achieve sales and market share growth.

According to G2 crowd, “the world’s leading business software review platform”, there are basic functions that every CRM tool must have.  The G2 list includes a comprehensive list of features that a CRM tool should have in order to automate the sales, marketing and customer service functions. The right CRM tool will also enable tracking of social media activity and will be available on a mobile device.  The data housed in the CRM can be used to generate reports that can monitor all of the areas where data is housed in the CRM. The CRM will also allow the company some degrees of freedom in order to customize the system to align with existing workflows.

Opportunity & Pipeline Management

Manage sales opportunities through their lifecycle from lead to order. Track stages, values, and probabilities of close. Manage sales pipelines by individual sales rep, team, region, and company-wide.

Partner Relationship Management

Manage partners by tracking channel partner leads and sales opportunities. Provide a partner portal to collaborate with channels on sales opportunities and to share product, pricing, quoting, ordering, and training information

Task / Activity Management

Manage and track tasks and activities. Assign due dates and integrate to calendars to manage daily schedules and priorities.

Desktop Integration

Allow users to synchronize their email, calendar and contact tools with the same features offered by the CRM.

Territory & Quota Management

Assign and manage sales quotas and territories. Track progress against quotas.

Contact & Account Management

Store and retrieve information associated to customer contacts and accounts. Track company-wide communication and information about contacts and accounts.

Customer Contract Management

Contract management includes negotiating the terms and conditions in contracts and ensuring compliance with the terms and conditions, as well as documenting and agreeing on any changes or amendments that may arise during its implementation or execution.

Product & Price List Management

CRM allows users to add products and prices to opportunities and quotes if these modules are provided within the same system.

Quote & Order Management

Allows users to create a quote to be provided to a customer that contains products, prices and associated discounts. Order management allows users to process orders that contain products, prices and associated discounts.

The CRM should also include features that automate the Marketing capabilities of the business, including:

Email Marketing

Allows users to send email to contacts in bulk. Common features include: Built in Email templates, social media integration, Subscriber list management, sign up forms and success rate reports.

Campaign Management

Optimizes the process for organizations to develop and deploy multiple-channel marketing campaigns to target groups or individuals and track the effect of those campaigns, by customer segment over time.

Lead Management

Allows users to manage and track leads though a process. This process includes:  lead generation, customer inquiry, inquiry capture, lead filtering ,lead grading, lead distribution and lead qualification.

Marketing ROI Analytics

Enables analysis of effectiveness of an organizations’ various marketing activities

Customer Service automation should also be included as follows:

Call Center Features

Allows customer support staff to access information required to support the customer including customer information, case history and related customer social activity. Common features include: call recording, analytics, workforce management, call script management, and compliance management.

Case Management

Tracks issues/help requests reported by customers through the resolution process.

Knowledge Base

An information repository that provides a means for information to be collected, organized, shared, searched and utilized.  

Customer Support Portal

Provides a convenient way for customers to get answers to inquiries, post service issues, place orders, view order histories, and gain access to other information contained in the knowledge base.

Support Analytics

Enables analysis of customer support activities to support customer support professionals, processes and tools.

Reporting & Analytics are also included in the CRM system and include these broad categories of analyses:


Enables projection of sales revenue, based on historical sales data, analysis of market surveys and trends, and input from sales teams based on estimates.


Enables reporting of all data contained within the system. Typically contains standard reports as well as the ability to create ad-hoc reports.


An easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status and historical trends of an organization’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance.

Mobile & Social

Social Network Integration

Use public social networks to listen and engage with customers. Allows users to filter what’s important and respond quickly. Often this functionality allows questions and requests from customers on social networks to case management.

Social Collaboration Features

Enables multiple users to interact by sharing information to achieve a common goal. Social collaboration focuses on the identification of groups and collaboration spaces in which messages are explicitly directed at the group and the group activity feed is seen the same way by everyone


Allows administrators to customize to accomodate their unique processes. Includes ability to create custom objects, fields, rules, calculations, and views.

Workflow Capability

Automates a process that requires a series of steps that typically require intervention by a several different users. Administrators can write rules to determine who and when a user needs to complete a step. Also includes notification of users when they need to take action.


Enables users to view and transact business with the same content in multiple languages and currencies.

Document & Content Management

Content management for CRM systems could include presentations, documents, images and other related electronic files.

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