5 essential features of an enterprise CRM

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An enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) system can help large companies store contact details, track sales pipelines, and close deals more efficiently. While organizations of any size would benefit from using a CRM, large enterprises should acquire a CRM that’s suited to their specific needs.

For instance, large companies typically have more complex team structures and bigger sales databases, so CRM features that enable customization and automation would be useful. Below, we break down the five essential features of an enterprise CRM, and how they can benefit your business.


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1. Contact and pipeline management

An enterprise CRM should cover the basics of managing contact and sales pipeline details. This includes importing contact data from third-party software and spreadsheets, categorizing contacts (into leads and clients, for example), and attributing deal stages to accounts.

The CRM should also include an unlimited or sufficiently high number of contact records, and the ability to populate them with customizable data fields that reflect the needs of your business. For example, a wealth management firm may need to create contact fields such as net worth.

You should choose an enterprise CRM that enables lead scoring, which is an automated calculation of a lead’s value based on preset rules. For example, a lead score could be based on estimated deal value, the size of their company, and their job role seniority. Leads with high scores can be prioritized by your sales team, who then provide extra care and attention.

2. Advanced reporting and analytics

Advanced reporting can be useful for an enterprise, as it helps estimate future revenues and identify the causes behind pipeline bottlenecks. Customizable reports enable you to focus on the most useful data by filtering contact details such as location and company size, or sales data such as deal stage and value. Some enterprise CRM solutions offer AI-driven sales forecasts based on available data such as your current pipeline value, and past conversion rates.

As well as reporting, look for strong analytics capabilities in your CRM. These are often analytics dashboards that draw on CRM data to create insight based on various metrics. They are typically visualized in the form of tables, charts, and diagrams that provide a bird’s-eye view of your sales performance.

An enterprise-grade analytics feature enables you to customize your dashboard. For example, you can choose to display monthly close rates over the past year, or a revenue forecast for the next 12 months. Large teams may benefit from analytics dashboards that track individual rep progress against sales targets.

3. Workflow automation

Workflow automation can help large sales teams minimize admin and increase productivity, so they can build better relationships with customers. This CRM feature can help you automate a variety of manual activities. These might include assigning leads to reps based on lead characteristics, creating tasks for reps based on customer journeys through the sales pipeline, or corresponding with prospects.

Rules and triggers are essential in automating workflows. Rules are like conditions that determine how workflows function—for example, assigning leads from large companies to one sales rep and leads from SMEs to another. Triggers are changes that precede an automation—for instance, a new lead completing a web form can trigger a welcome email from a designated rep’s email address.

Some enterprise CRM solutions include AI-driven workflow automations that analyze your most successful lead journeys and suggest next steps for maximum conversion.

4. Robust integrations

An enterprise CRM system should integrate seamlessly with as many types of business software as possible, so your organization has all its customer data in one place. At a basic level, integrating with your company’s email and calendar solutions enables reps to track calls and meetings, and log email conversations with leads. Similarly, integrating with Voice over IP (VoIP) solutions such as RingCentral or Zoom takes you from database to call in no time.

If the CRM doesn’t already include an email marketing feature, make sure it integrates with third-party software that does. Using CRM data frictionlessly to run email campaigns can save a lot of time. Some products can also integrate with Google Ads, which can help you track the pipeline journeys of customers acquired via your ad campaigns.

Furthermore, accounting and invoicing software integrations can help you bring customer engagement full circle by using sales data to streamline finances from deals. Finally, to enable collaboration and data sharing in your sales and marketing departments, ensure your chosen CRM can integrate with internal communication platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams.

5. Developer tools

If you have good in-house software development skills, enterprise CRM developer tools can offer even more automation and customizable features. While specific tools vary across providers, you’re generally able to connect external systems to your CRM using APIs (application programming interfaces), so you can get a more comprehensive view of customer data. For instance, you could connect your help desk software via APIs if it isn’t included among the standard integrations.

Some enterprise CRMs include a web and mobile software development kit (SDK) that your developers could use to build apps within the CRM itself. For example, a real estate business may require a bespoke sales pipeline layout in its CRM that separates buyers from sellers.

Developer tools often include a sandbox, which is a testing environment for code changes that haven’t gone live. This enables you to try out the new apps or features you’ve created without risking data or productivity losses.


An enterprise CRM solution caters to complex team structures and large customer databases by focusing on automating manual tasks, customizing features to suit unique business needs, and enabling collaboration across teams and business apps.

Essential tools like contact and pipeline management, advanced reporting and analytics, workflow automation, robust integrations, and developer tools provide large companies with more control and insight over their sales activities. This could lead to more deals being closed in the long-run.

Shopping around for a CRM solution? Here are our top choices for the best CRM software out there. We’ve also ranked the best CRM for real estate.

Or, go back to basics with our feature What is CRM software? and discover seven changes to a CRM for business that drive customer growth.

Ioana Andrei

Ioana holds a BSc in Business Management from King's College London and has worked for 4+ years as a management consultant in the industries of technology, media and telecoms. Ioana is also a successful entrepreneur, having launched several social enterprises. Writing interests include market research and planning, start-up culture and ethics, agile methodology, and financial modelling. No stranger to tech and hackathons, she is also an accomplished fintech and SaaS writer