As a busy small business owner, you’re always looking for ways to streamline your operations and make life easier. A high-quality CRM is one of those tools that can make a real difference in your day-to-day. But what should you look for when choosing a CRM, and what can a CRM do for you and your business? Here are 18 essential features your CRM should have.
What is a CRM?
Customer Relationship Management, more commonly known as CRM, is a system that businesses use to manage their interactions with current and potential customers. A CRM system helps businesses track customer data, such as contact information, purchase history, and preferences. It also allows businesses to manage customer communications, such as emails, phone calls, and social media messages.
Additionally, a CRM system can provide valuable insights into customers’ behavior, helping businesses identify trends and make smarter, better decisions about marketing and sales strategies. For business owners, a high-quality CRM system is essential for maintaining healthy relationships with customers and developing a thriving, successful business.
A well-functioning CRM system can help businesses save time and money by automating repetitive tasks, such as data entry and customer communication.
Furthermore, a CRM system can help business owners better understand their customers, leading to improved customer service and increased sales. When choosing a CRM system for your business, it is vital to select one that is user-friendly and scalable so that it can grow with your company.
A Time Without CRMs
Customer relationship management tools are now seen as an essential part of business, but this hasn’t always been the case. It wasn’t until the 1980s that pioneers emerged in database marketing, changing the landscape of the business realm – meaning that businesses have only had access to CRMs for a little over 30 years.
It’s hard to imagine doing business without a CRM, but that’s what people had to do before the 1980s. They would have to keep their contacts in a paper address book or Rolodex, schedule their appointments in a traditional calendar without automated reminders, manage tasks in a separate task list, communicate with each lead or client manually, and miss out on the benefits of integrating with websites or creating landing pages, text messages, and email marketing campaigns. They also had no simplified method for tracking or measuring their marketing results.
Even in today’s world of advanced technology and smart devices where hand-held phones come with cloud-based digital address books, calendars, task lists, and the ability to make phone calls or send text messages and emails, people can feel spread out, disjointed, and have no way of pooling information or tracking customer relations or sales.
In other words, CRMs have made doing business much easier and more efficient over time, and they continue to improve. They’ve also changed the face of business marketing by making it easier to target and reach potential customers.
Today, businesses of all sizes use CRMs to improve customer relationships and boost their bottom line.
Here are a few of the things a good CRM will offer.
One: No contracts
CRM services are often provided on a subscription basis, which means that businesses pay a monthly or annual fee to use the software. Some CRM providers also offer CRM services with a contract, which requires businesses to commit to using the software for a set time (usually 1-3 years). While a contract may seem a wise way to lock in a low price for CRM services, it can be detrimental to your business.
First, if your business needs change throughout the contract, you may be stuck paying for features you no longer need. Second, contracts often include early termination fees, which can be costly if you cancel the service before the end of the contract. Finally, if your CRM provider goes out of business or stops supporting the software, you may be left without a CRM solution – and stuck paying for a service you can’t use.
Obtaining a CRM that isn’t confined by a contract is generally better. You can cancel the service anytime if you’re unhappy with it or switch to a different CRM provider if your needs change. And since most CRM providers charge monthly or annually, you’ll only ever pay for the features you need – without being locked into a long-term contract.
Two: Manage Your Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is a process businesses use to identify and qualify potential customers. The funnel typically consists of four distinct stages: awareness, interest, decision, and purchase.
Awareness: At the awareness stage, potential customers become aware of your business or product, which is when education and marketing campaigns come into play.
Interest: Potential customers learn more about your business and product during the interest stage. It’s key to focus on building relationships and providing helpful information at this point.
Decision: At the decision stage, potential customers evaluate whether to purchase from you or a competitor. What they need from you is proof that you offer the best solution.
Purchase: At the purchase stage, potential customers decide to purchase.
A good CRM will help you manage your sales funnel by tracking customer data and providing insights into each lead’s stage, helping you better understand your leads so that you can provide them with timely and relevant content or offers that move them through the purchasing process.
By understanding and tracking a customer’s journey through the sales funnel, businesses can better cater their marketing efforts to the needs of each stage.
For example, customers in the awareness stage may need to be educated about the features and benefits of a product. In contrast, customers in the decision stage may need more customized assistance to purchase.
Businesses can automate and optimize their marketing efforts at each sales funnel stage using a CRM. As a result, they can increase their chances of making a sale and generating revenue.
Three: Connects to Your Website
A website is essential for the growth of any business. It’s a tool for raising brand awareness, educating the public, displaying products, and providing contact information. Additionally, a website is an invaluable way to get people to interact with your company by giving you their information and permission to market to them in the future. Permission marketing is extremely important for businesses of all sizes.
When someone visits your website and provides their contact information, they’re essentially permitting you to market to them in the future. This permission can be extremely valuable, as it allows you to stay in touch with potential customers and keep them updated on your latest products and deals. Additionally, permission marketing allows you to build relationships with your customers and create a loyal following.
While there are many ways to obtain permission from potential customers, a website is one of the most effective. This is because people are generally more likely to provide their contact information when they’re already engaged with your company online. Therefore, if you’re looking to grow your business, you must have a strong online presence – starting with a well-designed website that incorporates a CRM.
A high-functioning CRM will offer many benefits for businesses, including improved efficiency and accuracy in customer data management, better insights into customer behavior, and more effective marketing and sales strategies. However, the CRM system must connect seamlessly with the business’s website to realize these benefits.
A CRM that does not integrate with the website will create silos of information, making it difficult to get a comprehensive view of the customer. In addition, the website is often the first point of contact between the business and the customer, so the two systems must work together to provide a consistent experience.
By integrating the CRM system with the website, businesses can create a unified approach to customer relations and experience that will improve efficiency, reduce costs, and improve customer satisfaction.
Four: Create Built-In Landing Pages
A landing page is a web page that allows you to capture a visitor’s contact information through a lead capture form using a lead magnet. A good CRM will allow you to create compelling landing pages from within the system.
A lead magnet is an irresistible offer that entices a website visitor to exchange their contact information for something of value. The most effective lead magnets are specific, relevant, and valuable.
For example, a luxury skincare brand might offer a free travel-sized product in exchange for an email address. A personal finance blog might offer a downloadable budgeting template in exchange for a name and email address. And a B2B software company might offer a free trial in exchange for business contact information.
By offering something visitors perceive as valuable, businesses can generate leads that can be marketed to repeatedly.
A lead capture form typically asks for a visitor’s name, email address, and phone number.
Landing pages are important because they allow you to turn website visitors into leads. By collecting contact information from visitors, you can follow up with them and attempt to convert them into customers.
Additionally, landing pages can be used to promote specific products or services, which can help increase sales.
Five: Qualifies your Visitors
When you qualify a website visitor, you determine whether they’re a good fit for your products or services. To do this, you’ll need to consider several factors, such as their location, budget, and needs.
A high-functioning CRM can help you keep track of all this information and make the qualifying process much more manageable.
With a CRM, you can easily segment your website visitors and create targeted qualification criteria for each group. This way, you can ensure you’re only spending time qualifying the visitors who are most likely to convert. As a result, you’ll be able to close more deals and grow your business more efficiently.
Six: Customizable Campaigns for Better Lead Conversion
A customizable campaign is an email or text communication with clients and leads that allows you to tailor the content to their specific needs. By customizing your campaigns, you can stay top of mind with your leads, keep them engaged, and turn them into customers. You can also use customized campaigns to nurture your relationships with existing customers and turn them into brand advocates.
For example, let’s say you’re a travel agent. You could create a custom campaign for people interested in traveling to Italy. This campaign could include the best time to visit, what to see and do, and where to stay. You could also include special offers for bookings made through your agency. Personalizing your campaign shows your leads that you understand their interests and are ready to help them plan their next trip.
Customizable campaigns can be used at every sales funnel stage – from initial contact to post-purchase follow-up. By tailoring your message to each stage of the customer journey, you can build deeper relationships with your leads and customers and increase conversion rates.
Seven: Tracks Your Email and Text Communication with Clients and Leads
It is imperative to track email and text communication with existing clients and new leads to maintain professionalism and client satisfaction. By tracking this information, you can see which communications have been opened and read and which have been ignored. This insight allows you to modify your communications accordingly.
If you see that a client or lead has not opened your email, you can follow up with a personalized text or phone call, showing that you are attentive and care about getting a response.
Tracking email and text communication also allow you to see patterns in communication. For example, you may notice that a particular client ignores your emails but responds to your texts. This information can be used to modify your communications in the future.
Eight: Set Appointment Reminders
As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. In running your business, you must manage your time effectively to be successful. Effective time management is scheduling, organizing, and preparing for your appointments. However, it’s not enough to schedule your appointments – you also need to send reminders to your potential clients.
Appointment reminders are vital because they help ensure that you and your leads don’t forget about upcoming appointments. As part of a CRM, appointment reminders can positively influence business growth. They can help increase appointment show rates, reduce no-shows, and improve customer satisfaction.
In addition, appointment reminders can help you increase sales and revenue by helping you close more deals. When used effectively, appointment reminders can be a powerful tool for business growth.
Nine: Set Opportunity and Task Reminders
A good CRM can be an asset for any business owner. In addition to appointment reminders, it can help keep track of significant opportunities and tasks.
For example, a CRM can remind you to follow up with a potential client who showed interest in your services but never booked an appointment.
It can also remind you to complete tasks such as setting a meeting with your accountant, ordering new supplies for your office, or scheduling social media posts. By keeping track of these crucial details, a CRM can help you make the most of every opportunity and stay on top of all your business responsibilities.
Ten: Keep Track of Lifetime Sales and Spending of Customers in Your Database
“Lifetime sales” is a term often used in business to refer to the total amount of money a customer has spent with a company throughout their relationship. Lifetime sales are considered an important metric because it provides a snapshot of a customer’s value to a business.
For example, suppose a customer has made several large purchases from a company over the years. In that case, they are likely to be a more valuable customer than one who has only made a few small purchases.
Also, tracking lifetime sales can help businesses identify and target their most valuable customers. By understanding which customers generate the most revenue, businesses can allocate resources better and tailor their marketing efforts accordingly.
Eleven: Integrated Multi-Line Dialer and Texting
Integrated multi-line dialers are an essential piece of equipment for modern businesses. They automate the process of making outgoing calls and can dramatically increase the number of calls a business can make on a given day.
Additionally, multi-line dialers provide several valuable features, such as leaving pre-recorded messages, scheduling calls, and tracking results.
Texting is also a valuable tool for businesses and can be used in conjunction with an integrated multi-line dialer to expand your reach. Texting allows you to send personalized messages to customers and prospects and can effectively communicate special offers and promotions.
When used together, an integrated multi-line dialer and texting can be a powerful combination that can help you grow your business.
Twelve: Customize Your Email Newsletter for Better Customer Engagement
An email newsletter is a digital marketing tool businesses use to cultivate relationships with their leads and customers. By regularly sending informative or promotional content directly to people’s inboxes, businesses can stay top-of-mind, build trust, and drive conversions.
Email marketing is particularly effective for real estate agents because it allows them to target specific types of leads with tailored content. For example, an agent might send buyers a monthly newsletter that includes information about new listings, open houses, and market trends.
Similarly, an agent might send a quarterly newsletter to sellers that include information about recent home sales in the area and tips for preparing a home for sale.
Using email marketing to reach different types of leads, real estate agents can grow their business online.
A call to action (CTA) is an element of email marketing that encourages recipients to take a specific action, such as visiting a website or making a purchase. CTAs are usually included in the form of a button or link and usually include persuasive language like “Click here” or “Learn more.”
Businesses use CTAs in email marketing because they are an effective way to drive conversions. Email newsletters with effective CTAs can help businesses increase website traffic, generate leads, and boost sales.
Thirteen: Keep Contacts Updated
When you use a CRM, you’re not only organizing your appointments and tasks, but you’re also organizing your clients’ information.
For example, when you open a contact card in your CRM, you can see all the appointments you’ve had or have scheduled with that client. You can also see a history of your communications, including when you’ve spoken on the phone, send text messages, and a record of the emails they’ve received and whether he’s opened them.
You can also use the contact management feature to record special dates and events, such as birthdays, anniversaries, or the day a client bought their first house.
This information is valuable because it lets you keep track of your interactions with each client and ensure that you’re meeting their needs. As a result, using a CRM can help you build stronger relationships with your clients and grow your business.
Fourteen: Your Day in a Snapshot
When you open your CRM, you should get a full snapshot of your day’s appointments, any tasks you need to accomplish, and other pertinent information.
Your CRM should be your digital assistant, helping you track your day-to-day activities. By getting a complete snapshot of your day at a glance, you can better plan your time and ensure that you are productive.
Additionally, having all this information in one place can help reduce stress and increase overall efficiency.
Fifteen: Automate Your Follow-Ups
Follow-up can be an integral part of your business. After a meeting or sale, staying in touch with prospects and customers is important to ensure that they are satisfied and that you’re providing great customer service.
One of the most effective ways to automate follow-ups is by setting up email campaigns in your CRM. You can set up specific email sequences for different kinds of contacts, such as customers or prospects.
These campaigns can send automated emails at predetermined intervals to follow up with contacts, helping you nurture relationships and drive conversions. Automating follow-ups allows you to bring greater efficiency to your workflows and free up time for other tasks.
Sixteen: Get Insights from Your Data
Your CRM can be a powerful tool for gathering information about your customers and prospects. By tracking their interactions with you and their responses to emails, surveys, or other forms of communication, you can gain insights into who your customers are and what they need.
Using this data, you can personalize your outreach to ensure that you’re targeting the right people with the right messages at the right times.
Additionally, this data can help you spot trends to better understand customer behavior and make informed decisions about your marketing and sales strategies.
By leveraging the data in your CRM, you can better understand your customers and make sure that your marketing efforts are as effective as possible.
Seventeen: Integrates with Other Systems
One of the most powerful features of a CRM is its ability to integrate with other systems, such as accounting software or email marketing platforms. This integration allows you to streamline your workflows and make sure that all your data is up-to-date and in one place.
For example, suppose you have an order in your accounting software. In that case, the CRM can automatically create a contact for that customer and add it to your database, allowing you to easily track orders and customers without manually entering the data into both systems.
Integrating with other systems also helps you save time by automating certain tasks, such as sending emails or generating invoices. Additionally, it ensures that all of your data is accurate and up to date, which can help you make more informed decisions about running your business.
Overall, using a CRM with integrations makes it easier for you to manage customer relationships and grow your business.
Eighteen: Track Your ROI
A CRM can also help you track your return on investment (ROI) in marketing and sales activities. With a CRM, you can easily measure the impact of your campaigns and efforts to see which ones are performing well and which ones need improvement.
For example, if you’re running an email campaign, you can use the CRM to track how many people open your emails and whether they click on any of the links. You can also track how many people convert after receiving a message, giving insight into which campaigns are driving conversions.
Using the data in your CRM, you can make more informed decisions about your marketing and sales strategies to ensure they’re as effective and efficient as possible.
Keap and Autopilot ISA
Keap is a CRM software that helps small businesses streamline their operations and boost sales. Autopilot ISA is a marketing automation tool that helps businesses automate their marketing tasks. By integrating Keap with Autopilot ISA, businesses can improve customer relationships and increase sales.
Keap allows businesses to manage their contacts, sales opportunities, and marketing campaigns in one place. It also provides features such as automated email marketing, lead capture forms, and tracking of interactions with customers. Autopilot ISA helps businesses automate their marketing tasks, including email marketing, social media campaigns, and SMS messages. It also provides features such as lead scoring and contact segmentation.
By integrating Keap with Autopilot ISA, businesses can benefit from the best of both worlds. Keap’s CRM features will help businesses manage customer relationships more effectively, while Autopilot ISA’s marketing automation capabilities will help businesses drive more sales. Together, these two tools will help businesses take their business to the next level.
Get a Ballen Brands Website with Keap and Autopilot ISA
Ballen Brands is a full-service web design and online marketing agency specializing in creating powerful websites that help small businesses grow. We offer a comprehensive website package with Keap and Autopilot ISA integration so you can maximize the efficiency of your customer relationships and marketing efforts.
Your custom-built website can be integrated with Keap, allowing you to easily manage your contacts, sales opportunities, and marketing campaigns in one place. It can also be integrated with Autopilot ISA, allowing you to automate your marketing tasks and drive more sales. Our team of experts will ensure that all of your website’s features are tailored to your business needs and goals so you can get the most out of your investment.
By getting a Ballen Brands website with Keap and Autopilot ISA, you can take your business to the next level by optimizing your customer relationships and marketing efforts.
Take advantage of a pre-built real estate campaign suite, birthday campaign, anniversary campaign, holiday campaign, client follow-up campaign, event follow-up campaign, and a sphere of influence campaign.
At one time, business owners had to rely on manual methods to keep track of their clients, appointments, tasks, and communication history. Today, an advanced technology allows businesses of all sizes to organize and automate their business practices. With this technology in the form of a Customer Relationship Management system, you can easily maintain relationships with prospects, leads, and customers and quickly execute important tasks.
Integrating Keap with Autopilot ISA and a Ballen Brands professional website can benefit your business from the best of all worlds. The CRM features of Keap will help you manage your customer relationships more effectively. In contrast, Autopilot ISA’s marketing automation capabilities will help you drive more sales and grow your business’s success. Plus, a thoughtfully built website from Ballen Brands will ensure that your features are tailored to the needs of your business.
Take advantage of these powerful tools today and start optimizing your customer relationships and marketing efforts! Reach new heights and grow your business with the experts at Ballen Brands, a family-owned digital marketing company that helps you rise above the noise with business websites, Ecommerce websites, real estate websites, and KW Command.