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Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a category of software designed to help businesses of all sizes manage customer and prospect data, store past interactions with customers and prospects, and automate sales tracking, reporting and forecasting.

All companies should implement CRM software. There are three reasons to implement CRM software in your company. Let’s look at each of these.

Reliability.

CRM software offers a single platform from which all employees can manage and access customer and prospect data. This leads to accurate and reliable information.

With a franken-ware approach in which employees combine Excel spreadsheets with Outlook, Quickbooks and other business software applications, a business cannot rely on information to be up to date and Accurate.

This leads us to ...

Accountability.

It’s extremely difficult to hold employees accountable – especially on the sales side – if their customer and prospect information is not reliable and accessible company-wide. CRM software offers the ultimate in employee accountability because it serves as a window into the company’s and individual salespeoples’ activities.

You’ll get resistance from salespeople when implementing CRM software because they don’t want the accountability.

Scalability.

Technology and software are critical for growing and scaling your business in a predictable way. As you add more and more people to your organization, you all must operate from the same playbook.

Growth starts on the sales side, so it should be managed properly using CRM software and sales-related processes developed around the CRM.

5 CRM software essentials.

1. Multi-device, cloud-based. If your CRM software is to be adopted company-wide, it needs to be easily accessible to all of your users, especially those in the field. The software should be cloud-based and available on multiple devices. Look for software with a web-based app for desktops and laptops, and a mobile app for phones and tablets.

2. User experience. Your team won’t use the CRM if it’s clunky or overwhelming in any way. It needs to be intuitive and easy to use. Have a salesperson demo CRM software with you as you go through the research process.

3. Customizable user permissions. You’ll want to have control over what users can see and do in the CRM software. As an example, you may not want specific users to be able to export a customer list.

Choose CRM software that gives you the ability to customize user permissions like this.

4. Capture communication. Look for CRM software that allows you to easily capture communication with your customers and prospects by syncing with your email client, whether that be Outlook or Gmail. Some CRM software will even record and store your phone calls.

This sync should be seamless; otherwise your users will not consistently update the CRM manually when they communicate with customers and prospects.

5. Sales pipeline reporting. Get rid of your Excel spreadsheets and start tracking your sales pipeline using software.

Choose CRM software that gives you the ability to track all of your leads through your unique sales process.

This will make your sales reporting much easier and much more reliable, which I mentioned above. Sales forecasting will also be more reliable.

Take your time researching CRM software. This is a big decision that will impact your business in diverse ways. Company adoption and buy-in is the ultimate goal.

With that, you’ll have accurate information and data you can rely on, salespeople who are held accountable and technology that can scale with your company’s growth.

The author is the founder and CEO of Landscape Leadership, a sales and marketing agency for lawn and landscape industry companies.