What is a CRM specialist?
Do you like helping others and have excellent customer service skills? Can you easily determine cause-and-effect relationships? If so, a job as a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) specialist could offer you an enjoyable career path. CRM specialists use their strong communication skills and emotional intelligence to discuss with companies how they can provide better customer service to keep the customers they are currently serving ultimately. They will also help companies come up with ways to attract new customers.
CRM specialists accomplish this by using their expertise in CRM software to create and interpret the data they receive from customers. CRM specialists need to be able to identify the needs of the company’s target market and come up with the necessary steps to keep those people intrigued. With plenty of data to analyze, CRM specialists are eager to find different ways to serve customers properly.
Duties and responsibilities
CRM specialists work as a point of contact for other departments within the organization to relate to customers and best use the CRM software. The role acts as the software expert and helps maximize the system’s benefits and characteristics. Work with different teams to create reports that enhance customer service, sales, and marketing. Those reports will help teams stay on top of relevant statistics, including customer retention rate and customer satisfaction. The CRM specialist grants access to new users, conducts user testing, and upgrades the system.
CRM specialists usually work in an office setting. However, their environment can change based on the company they’re working for. CRM specialists generally work on their computers overseeing the CRM software for their company. However, CRM specialists sometimes need to meet with other employees to discuss actionable behaviors that will help increase customer satisfaction and retention.
Some CRM specialists may be expected to travel to other offices or stores to talk with fellow colleagues and observe the overall customer base. CRM specialists are expected to keep up with market changes and technological advances, making it a fairly fast-paced job. Since CRM specialists need to work with their company to keep customers happy, they must develop strong communication and teamwork skills to succeed in this position.
Typical work hours
CRM specialists are often working full-time with a normal 40-hour workweek. Some CRM specialists are independent contractors rather than full-time employees at a firm, so they decide whether to work full-time or part-time. If you are working for a company, you can expect fairly normal hours unless there is a strict deadline, which may lead to extended work evenings or weekends.
How to become a CRM specialist
In order to become a CRM specialist, you will need a combination of education, training, and experience. In this career guide section, we cover the steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goal:
Step 1: Earn a bachelor’s degree
After earning your high school diploma, it’s recommended to attend an accredited college or university to get a bachelor’s degree. Consider the direction you want to take in your career when you choose your major. If you want to eventually get into the development side, work on a software engineering degree. You can work towards a business degree to stay in the marketing or operations side.
Step 2: Take CRM-specific courses
There isn’t a specific college degree in customer relationship management, but there are some incredible courses where you can learn more specifics before you begin your job hunt. Here are a few recommended courses:
- The Complete CRM Course for Beginners from Udemy teaches students all about customer relationship management. It covers the different types of CRM, customer-related databases, and how to implement these systems in an organization. It’s perfect for anyone that is brand new to CRM and has no previous experience.
- Udemy also has a course called CRM: Customer Relationship Management. This course dives into the 12 most common CRM mistakes and how to avoid them. Learn the seven key ingredients of maximizing customer relationships. It reviews how to use the tools to boost recurring sales and attract new clients.
- The Sales and CRM Overview from Coursera focuses on Salesforce. You’ll learn the foundational skills to prepare you for an entry-level job in sales. Understand what value Salesforce brings to sales teams and figure out how to maximize Trailhead, the official learning platform of Salesforce.
Step 3: Earn a professional certification
Add a professional certification to your resume to boost your qualifications and increase your chances of getting an interview. Earning certification requires studying, possible coursework, and a test to prove your expertise. Here are a few that are great for CRM specialists:
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fundamentals (CRM) – Earning this certificate is perfect for anyone looking to increase their knowledge about business operations and customer relationship management (CRM). Participants will learn how to navigate through Dynamics 365, which is a popular CRM software that helps with resource planning and how to entertain certain target markets. Understanding how to use this tool will be critical in your career as a CRM specialist, so this certification is perfect for earning for all aspiring CRM specialists. This course also teaches relevant marketing, sales, and customer service skills.
- Zoho CRM Training for Administrators – Zoho is one of the most popular CRM programs used in the workforce, so taking this course and earning the certificate will help you become an expert. Participants won’t only learn the ins and outs of the Zoho program. Still, they’ll learn about data security, managing multiple business processes with custom layouts, and bringing different customer interactions into one platform.
- Salesforce Certification – While CRM specialists are primarily responsible for working with the CRM software to collect data, it is still important for them to understand the basics of sales and marketing. This certification touches on how to be a good salesman and marketer. It teaches participants to collect, analyze, and retrieve important customer information and create reports based on the information they receive. CRM specialists need to understand the basics of collecting and analyzing data through the CRM software they use to conclude customers and their needs. This will teach prospective CRM specialists how to gather data and make conclusions to share with other departments of the company, which is one of the most critical tasks a CRM specialist is assigned.
Step 4: Apply for CRM specialist jobs
Once you’ve completed the recommended coursework and have some basic understanding of CRM tools, it’s time to search for jobs. Check the popular online job search engines and job boards for openings. Reach out to any contacts you’ve made as well. Once you have some experience in entry-level roles, you can advance your career by applying for promotions or working directly for a CRM software company.
How much do CRM specialists make?
There are many variables that go into determining how much a CRM specialist makes, from company size to experience to education just to name a few.
The top-paying states for CRM specialists to work in are (shown in annual mean salary):
- New York – 102,670
- Massachusetts – 98,091
- California – 97,499
- Illinois – 91,221
- Florida – 91,118
The average national salary for a CRM specialist is:
Top skills for CRM specialists
To become a CRM specialist, you need to know CRM software, understand how to customize reports, and maximize the benefits for your company. It’s important to feel comfortable working with technology and all kinds of data. Specialists must be eager to learn and stay on top of the updates and changes. Strong communication skills are important because you’ll need to work with multiple teams and help with training. Being detail-oriented and analytical helps catch things others may have missed in setup or training. Strong and creative problem-solving skills are essential for the role to help work through any concerns that come up.
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CRM specialists can advance to a manager position and lead a team of other CRM specialists. With in-depth knowledge of the CRM tool, you can also advance to a higher level in marketing or sales departments and utilize the skills and knowledge from the CRM specialist role.
Within the CRM space, there are many roles that you could work towards with additional education. Become a developer or analyst for the CRM software company and bring your real-life experience directly to the source. Learn more about artificial intelligence and its impact on CRM tools to become part of the future of the technology.
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Position trends and outlook
Positions for CRM specialists are projected to increase over the next few years due to companies increased technological use. Companies that sell various products or services need customers to survive, so CRM specialists are needed to support companies in making customers happy. CRM specialists use different CRM software to collect and analyze data about customers. They then use that data to predict and share with the rest of the company different ways to increase customer satisfaction. CRM specialists are a huge asset to companies since they help with customer retention and help bring in new customers. As more companies pop up and grow, there will be more of a need for CRM specialists.
Employment projections for CRM specialists
CRM software is the biggest software market in the world, and it’s growing every year. Jobs in this space will continue to increase at a faster rate. Companies will continue to require specialists as the software programs improve and move to more mobile options.
CRM specialist career tips
Soft skills and traits for CRM specialists
CRM specialists need to be excellent problem-solvers. The role works with multiple departments to make the software work the best for the company and its goals. It’s important to have good organizational skills and the ability to collaborate well. There will be a lot of communication in the role, both written and verbal. CRM specialists need to be able to document processes and update training information, and present and get feedback from different groups and departments.
Commonly required skills and qualifications
- At least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, business, or another related field
- 2+ years of experience with CRM software
- Professional certificates in at least one CRM software program
- Adaptability and ability to manage multiple projects
- Leadership skills and a professional demeanor
- Experience in customer service or an understanding of the customer experience
Develop a professional network
Join online or in-person communities with others who work with CRM software. This will help you continue learning and network with others who do similar work. Here are some to check out as a CRM specialist:
- LinkedIn Connections and Groups
- CRM Network HE
- The Trainer’s Advisory Network – CRM Professionals
- Trailblazer Community Groups
Where the jobs are
- Monday Sales CRM
- Oracle NetSuite
What are good careers in CRM if I’m not a developer?
Many roles in CRM are not developers. CRM specialists help companies utilize and maximize their CRM software as much as possible to improve the customer experience and sales numbers. These roles work with the operations side of the business more than engineers.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for customer relationship management. It’s a process that a company uses to manage interactions with customers and collect data. Most companies now utilize a software program for this, so that’s what CRM refers to.
How long does it take to get a CRM certification?
Many different CRM certification programs are available through websites like Udemy and Coursera. You can filter the options to find the best option for the jobs you’re applying for. Some companies might even require a specific course. Usually, these courses can be completed in a few weeks.
What should I study to become a CRM specialist?
To become a CRM specialist, you’ll want to earn your bachelor’s degree. Choose a field like business administration, IT, finance, computer science, or something related. These will set you up with a strong base to learn the information.
What jobs can I get with a Salesforce certification?
Salesforce is a specific CRM software program that many companies use. It’s one of the most popular, so if you’re getting certified in a specific program, it’s a good one to use. Some companies will still require experience, so an internship or entry-level job where you use Salesforce is good.
Are CRM jobs in demand?
The rapid growth of CRM software has created a demand for workers who have skills and experience with these programs. The industry is expected to double in size by 2027, so it’s a great career path to get started on.
What is the job path for CRM roles?
CRM specialists can get promoted to CRM managers, Senior CRM managers, and eventually leadership roles in marketing and sales or customer experience. Expert knowledge of the CRM and how the company utilizes it will help you earn promotions and increase your knowledge and skillsets.
Does a CRM specialist do data entry?
There might be some data entry work for CRM specialists as they get comfortable with the systems. Often, they will be granted new users access and need to input their information into the system.
How long does it take to learn CRM?
If you’re just starting your work in CRM software, take one hour a day to learn more and practice what you’re learning. You’ll be able to understand the basics in the first week or so. To get more in-depth, you can sign up for courses and certifications which will be beneficial to advance your career.
What are the best CRM programs to learn?
The best CRM program to learn is the one that your company is using. If you aren’t employed yet, Salesforce is one of the most popular, so it’s a great place to start. You could also familiarize yourself with Monday, Zendesk, and Oracle NetSuite CRM.
How many types of CRM software are there?
There are dozens of fantastic software programs, but CRM platforms all fall under three types – analytical, operational, or collaborative. Each one serves a unique purpose, and companies will decide which model works best for them.