Is customer relationship management (CRM) implementation intimidating? Finding the best CRM is crucial, but you have no clue what features to look for!
If this sounds like you, then you’re in the right place! Several business owners avoid CRM implementation because they don’t have a requirements checklist!
Hi, my name is AJ! I recently sold my company for multiple seven figures to focus on helping growing entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes I made!
One of the best decisions I made regarding CRM integration was creating a checklist to guide me through the process.
If you want a FREE CRM requirements template and more advice than you could imagine, keep reading!
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What are CRM Requirements?
CRM requirements are the specific things a business needs in customer relationship management (CRM) software.
These “things” include the following aspects of CRM solutions:
These CRM software requirements can be functional, such as contact management or lead tracking.
On the other hand, requirements can also be technical, like cloud-based storage or integration capabilities.
Either way, defining precise CRM requirements ensures the chosen system will effectively support the business’s sales, marketing, and customer service efforts.
On top of that, requirements act as a guide when evaluating different CRM providers and what they offer!
Benefits of Understanding Your CRM Requirements
Several advantages come with understanding CRM software requirements.
For instance, some of the most prominent benefits include the following:
- Better business efficiency
- CRM solutions are more cost-effective
- Teams improve the customer experience
- It leads to informed decisions
Let’s look at each of these advantages closer!
Improved Business Efficiency
Businesses can streamline operations by clearly outlining CRM system requirements by focusing on features that specifically cater to their needs.
As a result, teams can eliminate any unnecessary functions!
Understanding what you need from a CRM helps you avoid investing in expensive systems with additional features your business may not utilize.
While the list of CRM functions is undoubtedly impressive, many small businesses don’t need the more advanced features!
Therefore, it’s crucial to only invest in CRM software that matches what you need.
Enhanced Customer Experience
A CRM system tailored to your specific requirements can significantly improve the quality of customer interactions!
And when customer interactions are above and beyond what people expect, it leads to higher satisfaction rates and more customer loyalty.
Informed Decision Making
Lastly, clearly defined CRM solution requirements provide a robust framework for evaluating and comparing different CRM systems.
As a result, this comparison leads to informed and strategic decision-making.
CRM Requirements Gathering Questionnaire
Here are some questions to ask yourself when determining your CRM software requirements.
These questions ensure you stay on track and only invest in the features and system you need!
What is Your CRM Budget?
First things first, it’s crucial to establish your budget for a CRM software provider.
Further, some CRMs charge monthly, while others charge based on the system’s number of users!
Therefore, it’s crucial to establish how many people will use the system as you determine your budget.
Also, remember that CRM platforms are an investment.
While the technology will cost a lot upfront, the long-term results compensate for the cost!
What CRM Integrations Do You Need?
Understanding the CRM integrations your business needs is crucial for several reasons.
For instance, it ensures your CRM system can seamlessly connect with other essential business tools and software you already use.
As a result, you encourage data sharing and workflow efficiency!
Also, choosing the right integrations leads to the following things:
- It lessens the risk of data silos
- It promotes team collaboration
- It enhances overall business productivity
What CRM Goals Do You Have?
The next question to consider is something most small business owners fail to recognize!
However, setting CRM goals is crucial for the following things:
- Long-term CRM success
- More user adoption
- More team-wide motivation
- Ensuring teams and individuals stay on track
Remember, the primary goal when implementing a CRM solution is to build stronger customer relationships.
Still, you and your team can create other goals around the following aspects:
- Leads acquired
- Conversion rates
- Implementation time
- Customer service-related tasks
How Much Technical Assistance Do You Need?
Determining the level of technical assistance you require from your CRM provider is essential for the following reasons:
- It ensures your CRM runs smoothly
- It ensures teams understand how to utilize the technology best
- It ensures your company gets the most out of the software
Also, this requirement is critical because it helps to avoid potential technical obstacles that could disrupt your business activities and hamper customer relationships.
Further, knowing the extent of technical support you need ensures you choose the right CRM provider to offer the necessary assistance.
How Large is Your Business?
Considering how large your company is is crucial when selecting CRM software.
Remember, some providers charge based on how many people use the system.
Also, determining the size and number of people who will use the system ensures you have features for everyone!
Do You Need Industry-Specific Solutions?
When choosing CRM software, identifying whether you require industry-specific CRM is a significant step.
This requirement is crucial because some industries may have specific needs or standards that general CRM platforms may not fulfill.
Therefore, determining the need for a more focused solution ensures the CRM tool you choose can adequately meet your industry’s unique challenges and complexities!
Types of CRM Requirements
There are four main types of CRM software requirements, including the following:
- User interface
Here’s what you need to know about each of these requirement sets.
Business requirements for a CRM system outline the high-level objectives and goals the organization aims to achieve while implementing the software.
These requirements align with the company’s strategic direction and may include aspects like:
- Improving customer service
- Increasing sales team productivity
- Enhancing internal communication
- Streamlining marketing efforts
Functional requirements for a CRM platform refer to the specific features and capabilities the software needs to have to meet your business’s needs effectively!
For example, these requirements can include aspects like:
- Contact management
- Sales forecasting
- Advanced Reporting
- Automation features for daily tasks
- Customer service tracking
User Interface Requirements
User interface requirements for a new CRM system are about the design and layout of the software, ensuring it is user-friendly and easy to navigate!
These requirements can include aspects such as:
- Intuitive design
- Customizable dashboards
- Ease of use
- The availability of mobile apps for on-the-go access
Technical requirements for a CRM platform pertain to the technological specifications the software needs to perform efficiently.
For example, these requirements might include things like:
- The system’s reliability
- Data storage capacity
- Security measures
- The software’s ability to integrate with other software and systems
CRM Functional Requirements
Functional requirements are critical, mainly if you invest in CRM for one of the following reasons:
- To enhance the sales process
- To implement better marketing campaigns
- To improve customer service
- To gain access to detailed analytics and reports
Here are the CRM software requirements you must consider for each of these cases.
Ensuring sales teams have the right CRM features increases the chances of success in each deal they pursue!
As a result of more closed deals, your company will enjoy higher revenue and more happy customers.
Some examples of sales-related CRM tools include the following:
- Lead management
- Sales pipeline features
- Sales forecasting
- Sales rep performance tracking
- Sales performance management
- Contact management
- Task management
With these tools, sales managers gain a clear picture of everything happening within their department.
Marketing tools help teams introduce more effective campaigns and messaging.
As a result, your brand resonates deeper with potential and existing customers.
And when people resonate with a brand, they are likely to be loyal to that company and recommend it to their friends.
Therefore, the features and tools on your marketing CRM requirements checklist should include the following:
- Social media integration
- Marketing automation
- Marketing tracking
- Campaign management
- Marketing lead management
- Event marketing
- Email management
- Customer base segmentation
- Client interaction tracking
Customer Service CRM
One aspect of every company that deserves more recognition than it gets is customer service.
With the right customer service team, you can ensure everyone interacting with your brand feels valued and heard.
Some functions on your customer service requirements checklist can include the following:
- Case management
- Call and scenario automation
- Automated online support (chatbots)
- Customizable ticket status
- Customer service reporting and analytics
- Service-level agreement management
- Customer satisfaction tracking
Analytics & Reporting
Last but not least, there are analytics and reporting features!
Analytics tools offer valuable insights that make it easier for your company to improve and identify mistakes quickly.
Some of the business reporting and analytics features you can look for from a CRM vendor include the following:
- DOA reports
- Regression analysis
- Sales pipeline forecasting
- Leads by offer or source
- Life cycle stage
- Discount effectiveness
Full CRM Requirements Checklist
Ensuring you know the right CRM software requirements is exceptionally beneficial for every aspect of your business.
Therefore, I’ve created a CRM requirements gathering template with the best features!
Here’s everything you need to look for in a good CRM system.
Contact management is a feature that enables businesses to store, track, and manage customer data, such as:
- Contact information
- Communication history
- Customer interactions
Storing this valuable information in one place facilitates more personalized customer relationships and optimizes communication.
As a result, this allows CRM users to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
2.Client Interaction Tracking
Client interaction tracking is a key CRM feature that logs every interaction between your business and its customers, including:
This comprehensive record provides invaluable insights into customer behavior and preferences.
Therefore, when CRM systems have this feature, it encourages more targeted marketing activities and improved customer service.
Database management in a CRM context refers to the system’s ability to efficiently organize and manage large volumes of customer and transaction data.
CRM features like this allow for the following things:
- Smooth data manipulation
- Secure storage
- Easier data retrieval
As a result, teams can enjoy informed decision-making based on accurate and timely information.
4.Marketing and Campaign Management
Marketing and campaign management refers to a CRM system’s ability to manage and analyze every aspect of your marketing campaigns.
Further, this includes features for creating, running, and tracking campaigns!
As a result, businesses can understand which efforts are most effective and where to improve.
Lead management is a critical feature you must look for in a new CRM.
Lead management involves tracking and managing potential customers (leads).
Further, this feature helps businesses identify, score, and move leads through the sales pipeline.
When teams manage leads correctly, they systematically nurture and convert prospects into actual customers.
Sales automation uses software, AI, or other digital tools to perform repetitive, time-consuming sales-related tasks without manual intervention.
These automations lead to the following things:
- Help your sales team work more productivity
- Reduces the likelihood of errors in the sales process
- Allows sales agents to focus on more strategic tasks like fostering customer relationships and closing deals
Marketing automation refers to using software or digital tools to automate repetitive marketing tasks, enhancing efficiency and reducing the possibility of human error.
This core CRM feature enables businesses to do the following things:
- Streamline their marketing efforts
- Personalize customer communication
- Enhance customer engagement
- Enjoy a higher marketing ROI
Workflow automation is a feature that enables businesses to streamline and automate a series of repetitive tasks.
With workflow automation, your teams can focus on more strategic, creative, and customer-focused tasks.
Put simply, this business performance feature boosts productivity and operational efficiency!
Employee management is a vital feature in a CRM platform that helps businesses organize, track, and evaluate their employees’ performance and productivity.
Employee management includes functions like:
- Task assignment
- Performance tracking
- Workload management
- Project management
As you know, these functions collectively contribute to better team collaboration, improved efficiency, and higher revenue!
Business intelligence refers to the strategic use of data analysis tools and applications to gather, store, and analyze key business data.
When CRM systems have BI, it helps with the following things:
- Making informed decisions
- Identifying new opportunities
- Forecasting trends
- Gaining a competitive advantage
- Boosting customer retention
Artificial intelligence, AI, is a new CRM feature that allows businesses to automate tasks and gather in-depth insights.
AI within a CRM tool carries advanced features, making it a must-have!
Knowledge management facilitates the creation, sharing, usage, and management of an organization’s knowledge.
This feature does the following things:
- Empowers businesses to capture valuable insights
- Share insights across the team
- Apply insights strategically to improve operations and innovation
Mobile support refers to the CRM’s capability to be accessed and fully operational on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
This feature allows field agents, remote workers, or any team member on the go to manage customer relationships and access data anytime, anywhere!
A deployment environment is the settings and infrastructure where a software application operates effectively.
Regarding CRMs, most businesses use cloud-based systems.
However, there are other systems available too (on-site software) when companies demand better data encryption and more customization.
CRM security refers to the measures and protocols in place to protect the sensitive customer data stored within a CRM system from the following things:
- Unauthorized access
- Data breaches
- Other potential cybersecurity threats
Ensuring CRM security is crucial because it protects your business’s reputation and fosters trust between you and your customers.
How to Choose a CRM
Now that you understand what CRM software requirements to look for, it’s time to learn how to choose a CRM that’s best for your company.
Step 1: Write Down CRM Goals
Step one is creating and writing down CRM goals.
Although it doesn’t seem like it’d make that much of a difference, writing CRM goals is extremely beneficial.
CRM goals do the following things:
- Motivate team members
- Ensure everyone knows what they’re working toward
- Help identify KPIs
- Track progress and performance
Step 2: Review CRM Requirements Against Goals
The next step involves thoroughly reviewing your CRM software requirements against the goals you create.
This step ensures the features and capabilities of the potential CRM software align with your business objectives, guaranteeing a successful implementation.
Step 3: Test Drive a CRM
Next, it’s time to take your CRM software out for a test drive!
Most CRM providers offer free trials, allowing users to test the interface and functions before investing significant money.
As you test the system, ensure it meets everything on your CRM software requirements list!
Step 4: Review With Your Team
Reviewing the potential CRM with your team is a crucial step because it ensures the software is user-friendly and meets the needs of all departments.
On top of that, this step allows team members to provide feedback and recommendations, promoting a sense of ownership and acceptance of the new system.
CRM Software Evaluation Tips
Lastly, I’ll provide a list of CRM software evaluation tips.
These tips will help you understand what to do and look for while implementing a new CRM system.
Construct a Document Detailing CRM Needs
To construct a document detailing CRM needs, compile a comprehensive list of your business’s specific requirements, goals, and expectations from a CRM system, including:
- Deployment environment
- The level of support you need
Creating this document is crucial because it allows you to articulate your needs accurately.
As a result, your search for a CRM solution that aligns with your business operations and objectives will be more effective.
Initiate With a Pre-Defined CRM Requirements Layout
Starting with a pre-defined CRM software requirements layout refers to having a structured plan of what you’re looking for in a CRM system before beginning your search.
Creating this layout is vital because it does the following things:
- Streamlines the selection process
- Ensures you choose a CRM solution that best fits your business needs and goals
- Reduces the risk of overlooking crucial features or requirements
Collaborate With Key Stakeholders
Collaboration with key stakeholders while selecting a CRM platform is essential because they provide different perspectives based on their unique roles.
As a result, you receive a holistic evaluation of the system.
Also, stakeholders’ buy-in and support are critical for successfully adopting and implementing CRM software.
Remember, these individuals might be the primary users and beneficiaries of the system in their daily operations.
Assess and Organize Features Based on Importance
Assessing and organizing CRM features based on their importance is crucial for the following reasons:
- It helps prioritize the most critical requirements according to your business needs.
- It ensures the CRM system has the capacity and functionality to support key operations and strategies.
Also, organizing features based on importance ensures you and your team stay on track.
It’s easy to get distracted by some of the fancy (although unnecessary) CRM features some providers offer!
Condense and Officialize Your Findings
Condensing and officializing your findings is an essential step as it provides the following things:
- A clear, concise record of your CRM evaluation process.
- More informed decision-making.
- Facilitating smooth communication and understanding among all stakeholders.
As you’ve seen, creating a list of CRM software requirements is more beneficial than most small business owners realize!
When teams lay out their requirements, it helps them choose the best-suited CRM platform for their company’s needs.
Also, determining CRM software requirements ensures everyone is on the same page!
What are some of your company’s CRM software requirements? Let us know in the comments section!