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How to Become a CRM Specialist

Do you like helping others? Can you easily determine cause and effect relationships? Are you generally a happy person? 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 the different ways they can provide better customer service to ultimately keep the customers they are currently serving. 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 out different ways to properly serve customers. 

Sample job description

We are on the lookout for a superior CRM specialist to join our team.  We’re looking for someone who would be able to collaborate with sales and marketing to identify customer support problems and how to better serve our customers. They need to know how to manage user workshops to understand our customers better. Most importantly, we are looking for someone with an optimistic view who is eager to learn and happy to help others feel good about their purchasing decisions.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Act as a point-of-resource to other departments in the company relating to customers and the CRM software
  • Maximize characteristics and benefits of the CRM system
  • Create and interpret data from the software
  • Grant user access to the CRM system
  • Work with different employees to enhance customer care, sales, and marketing based on the CRM data
  • Make sure the CRM’s data is accurate and reliable
  • Customize reports from the CRM
  • Troubleshoot software errors
  • Collaborate with sales and marketing to analyze business trends
  • Conduct user workshops
  • Create training materials and troubleshooting documents
  • Conduct user testing and upgrade CRM system
  • Begin CRM initiative by implementing enterprise standards, policies, and procedures
  • Stay on top of relevant statistics, including customer retention rate and customer satisfaction

Education and experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in computer science, information systems, or another related field
  • 2+ years of experience with CRM software 

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Adaptability 
  • Customer-driven
  • Ability to work with others well 
  • Proficiency in the CRM software 
  • Exceptional problem-solving skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Ability to resolve technical CRM issues
  • Great organization skills
  • Leadership skills
  • High self-management 
  • Analytical mindset

Preferred qualifications

  • Willingness to continue to learn how to navigate different programs and resources
  • Previous experience in sales or marketing
  • High tenacity 

Typical work environment

CRM Specialists are usually found working in an office setting, however, their environment can change based on the company they’re working for. CRM specialists generally are working on their computers overseeing the CRM software for their company. However, there are times CRM specialists 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, it is important for them to develop strong communication and teamwork skills in order to succeed in this position. 

Typical 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. 

Available certifications

There are many skills that CRM Specialists need to be proficient in to succeed in their position. The following certifications are great options for anyone interested in becoming a CRM Specialist: 

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fundamentals (CRM). Earning the Dynamics 365 Fundamentals 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 Dynamics 365 will be critical in your career as a CRM Specialist, so this certification is perfect to earn for all aspiring CRM Specialists. This course also teaches relevant skills pertaining to marketing, sales, and customer service. 
  • Zoho CRM Training for Administrators. Zoho is one of the most popular CRM software programs used in the workforce, so taking this course and earning the certificate will help you become an expert in using the Zoho software. Participants won’t only learn the ins and outs of the Zoho program, they’ll learn about data security, how to manage multiple business processes with custom layouts, and how to bring different interactions with customers into one platform. This certification will demonstrate to employers your advanced knowledge of the Zoho software. 
  • 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, but ultimately 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 in order to draw conclusions about customers and their needs. This certification will teach prospect 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 to do. 

Career path

Most employers are looking for someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems for CRM specialist roles. Since the job requires significant knowledge of different customers, many companies want someone who has previous experience in sales or a customer service role. CRM specialists typically learn most of the skills needed for the job in school and by earning different certifications, where they become experts in the CRM programs they’ll use. CRM specialists work with a variety of different companies where there will be different target markets, so CRM specialists will have to utilize different aspects of CRM to stay in line with the company’s ultimate objectives. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1245

2020 Employment168,000
Projected Employment in 2030181,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 8% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift13,200 increase

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 to have customers in order 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 new customers. As more companies pop up and grow, there will be more of a need for CRM specialists.