An account management software is basically a customer relationship management (CRM) that’s fast gaining popularity as the tool that helps big and small businesses organize their sales by dividing them sector-wise. According to Gartner and Grand View Research, CRM software revenue has increased every year worldwide and is expected to touch $80 billion by 2025. They also help map customer success, classification of customer hierarchies, etc.
In the olden times, small businesses and sometimes even big ones, kept a ‘contact list’ or a black book of important client names and numbers. Client management, at that time, was a more one-to-one thing and sales reps worked more on personal rapport. And customer care was more about assuaging egos.
Not anymore, though. The way you do business has turned on its head, with subscription-based SaaS models disrupting the pre-existing notions of marketing and client management.
The current market focus on customer experience has finally made an ammunition of Bill Gates’s “Customer is the king” statement. Customer retention, loyalty, renewal are the keys to doing business with the smartphone-savvy, data-hungry, speed-loving millennial customer, who’s often labelled as ‘premium account’, ‘silver account’, ‘loyal account’, etc, by businesses.
All this makes it essential for companies to have a zero error approach towards the ‘science’ of customer management. Which is where account management software tools come into play.
What these tools do is facilitate and evaluate a company’s overall sales processes. So, does your company need a CRM tool? How to choose one that helps you optimise your sales efforts?
Here are a few tips to figure these things out:
What do you want the software to do to your business?
Understand that CRM is not one-glove-fits all solution. It’s not a ‘tool’ in that sense (though often referred to as one), but a set of tools customised to manage the way you approach your relationships with clients and potential customer portfolios.
So, before you set out on that route to market, know that aligning your business to a certain set of CRM tools will take time, money, and the involvement of multiple departments. Be clear about what you are looking for: Is it the classification of customers? Or do you follow a democratization model? Map what are the resources and returns you expect from each of them.
For a SaaS company, the prime purpose of a Customer Success Platform should be to help you:
- Retain customers and grow revenue.
- Strengthen the overall relationship with existing customers.
- Provide you with enough data to take a strategic approach to managing customer portfolio.
- Set clear revenue and relationship goals.
- Monitor manpower resources.
- Generate business reviews/analysis and guide you into the future.
Depending on what your need is, you can choose the right CSM tool for your company – look for one that supports your sales team’s workflows as well as your company’s strategic goals.
Go for software with great UX (User Experience) and CX (Customer Experience)
The thumb rule of a good account management software or CRM: Enhanced UX and CX. Super UX means the software streamlines workflows by making the sales staff’s jobs easier by reducing manual tasks. Often, standalone tools, when forced upon existing sales platforms, tend to increase the number of steps in a workflow.
This forces employers to double check the same boxes twice. So consider your purchase strategically, look at the larger picture. Improved CX leads to a better understanding of customer expectations and needs, and makes interactions easier via customer portals and intelligent call routing. Simply put, by enhancing UX, you can improve CX because when the employee selects the right tools that lead him to easier workflows, he can concentrate on customer needs.
Some other features to consider
Many common features of CSM overlap with those of CRM. Identify the gap in your current set up, and work on a set of sales enablers from the following to help you set up intelligent workflows that ease your staff’s pain points as well as help customer acquisition and retention
- Goals and milestones setting: Does the tool help you pre-set points of progress for sales processes and sales cycles?
- Application integration: Does the CSM all you to work in sync with platforms such as CRM and other sales enabler tools? Especially, accounting tools like QuickBooks, or Office 365? Don’t shy away from a demo – it will give you a perspective
- Onboarding setup: The software must manage individual account management right from being a potential customer till onboarding and follow-up
- Renewal cycle management: A must for larger enterprise accounts. These tools are best used for subscription-based SaaS products
- Customer portal: Helps CX immensely by enhancing their experience on your website by enabling them to securely log in and check their account status, past purchases, etc
- Intelligent call routing: Automatically routes calls to the correct sales department
- Insights and analytics: This is of great help to the account manager as it helps him or her monitor operations by identifying trends, common pain points, and areas for improvement. Go for the dashboard type with a variety of metrics and KPIs for tracking or you can export data from your CSM or CRM using a custom data export, for example, HubSpot Google Sheets integration.
Things to analyze before choosing:
- User Experience: Before you choose the account management software of your choice just yet, you must pay special heed to the look and feel of the software. And how does it add to the user experience? It is user-friendly? Or is it difficult to comprehend? A client might just walk away from you if he/she finds it difficult to follow at any point.
- Customizability: A software that does not have the feature to be easily customized loses the chance of being the best in business. This software is going to strategize your customer support activities and reflect your marketing policies, hence, it is better to choose the one that is easy to customize and configure.
- Free Trials: Before you finalize your software and are one step away from purchasing, it is wiser to book a free trial once. During the trial, you will know the software from a better perspective. And in case of any queries, the salespeople will walk you through it too. With a free trial, you will ascertain both the strengths and weaknesses of the software before you swipe your card right away.
- Learning Curve: Reading your learning curve shows you graphically how your clients get efficiency as they take up a task multiple times. It is used in account managing software to analyze the reductions in costs as the volume tends to notch up.
What to look for when you rate one software over the other
- Price: Value versus features offered. Check for additional implementation fees/costs
- Ease of use: Can everyone from sales reps to managers to use the software to plan and strategize?
- Contact management: Will the software helps sales staff organize and nurture leads?
- Deal management: The software must help you customize, plan and maintain a healthy sales pipeline to make prospecting easier
- Multiple accounts handling: If you have a large set up have various locations, does the software allow for healthy interaction between multiple departments, hierarchies, and multiple reps?
Check out the following software SaaS products
What industry are you in? What is the operational scale of your business? Would you classify it as a small business or a large one (is your annual turnover several millions, or a few thousands)? Based on this, look at the following SaaS CRM:
- Claritysoft Software
- NetSuite Software
- Base Software
- FreshSales Software
- AmoCRM Software
So, if you’re still wondering whether your business needs a CRM tool, or if it’s just to own one (just because the dashboard makes the website look smart), here’s the last word: A software that executes a series of complicated tasks, easing manual workload is a definite plus towards streamlining workflow and working at cyclical revenue generation. Having said that, it’s not a magic wand. 15
Customer success will still largely remain in the domain of personal touch, empathy, and the account manager’s capacity to build trust and long term relations. The software is only a tool that supports his endeavors.
Rakhin has over 10 years of experience driving business development and client services. In his prior roles, he stayed close to customers to understand their requirements and help them achieve their business goals. He is passionate about customer success.
Published June 11, 2020, Updated January 10, 2022