Programmatic solutions for customer relationship management (CRM) have become a top choice for businesses across diverse industries. According to IBISWorld, the US CRM market size has already reached 46.2bn in 2023, growing faster than the whole technology sector. 

A CRM system is the backbone of many businesses that helps streamline sales and marketing processes. It can also provide valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. However, your CRM should be properly tested and implemented to give you maximum benefits. Let’s see what it takes. 

Why should you test CRM?

The fact that CRM software is often an out-of-the-box (OOTB) solution provokes a  misconception that if a trustworthy CRM vendor has already tested the tool, you don’t need to do it anymore. However, CRM solutions require customisations or new code to fit particular business requirements. Logically, adding new code lines calls for thorough testing of new features and their interactions with the existing functionality. 

How to test a CRM in six steps

CRM is a multi-module system with complex interactions across different components. Therefore, we offer a comprehensive six-step guide to help you make the testing process efficient. 

Step 1 Designing test data

Test data for CRM testing should be well-drafted. For example, you shouldn’t use confidential customers’ information from your databases. Instead, use test data that resembles the actual data from the system. For example, you can add the formats of addresses, zip codes, or phone numbers that are typical of your country or region. Using such test data helps avoid UI issues commonly caused by random test data – wrong address or currency rendering.

Step 2 Functional testing

Functional CRM testing usually involves checking how well the system correlates with user requirements. It’s critical to verify that the program has all the required features and that all its components work together as planned.

Functional testing is based on customer requirements. Hence, it checks features and their performance and also helps verify the established workflows for different user roles. Moreover, functional testing helps prevent data mismatch for users with similar personal names, task names, etc.

It’s also essential to ensure that the introduced configurations and settings don’t provoke any malfunctions in the application.

Step 3 Integration testing

After successfully migrating to a new CRM, you must check if the data can travel throughout the system according to the established business rules. To test the integration between the CRM and other internal systems, you can use the inbuilt search function. Employing targeted search queries, you’ll check how input and output data correlate and assess workflow implementation. In case input and output data coincide the workflow works well. If not, it requires bug fixing.

Cross-system integration

Many CRM platforms leverage integrations with other systems for more efficient operation. For example, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has a solid link to SharePoint. However, for such integration, you should also check the following:

  • if the data is synced across the systems
  • if user permissions transfer smoothly across the systems
  • if document sharing across the system works in two directions without CRM access

CRM data should remain consistent during cross-system transfers. Therefore, any adjustments made to the data through user actions or automated processes should be securely documented for future reference. Furthermore, the modifications should be visible to all system users who could track the history of changes.

Step 4 Performance testing

Performance testing will help you check if your CRM is scalable enough to manage large amounts of data. To attain the desired performance, you can simulate various scenarios by adding or editing a significant amount of records. What’s more, many employees usually use a CRM system simultaneously. Hence, the system should sustain a high load without sudden outages or data loss. Therefore, you should test the CRM work under peak and minimal loads. When testing, monitor the system response time and loading speed.

Step 5 Security testing

As CRM software hosts business-critical information, its bulletproof security should be among your top priorities. As a rule, such systems have several security levels:

  1. Role-based access and multi-factor authentication. These measures help protect the application from third-party’s logins effectively. On the other hand, they ensure that each user has access to the data they need for work and not more.
  2. Vulnerability scanning. Cybersecurity experts will study the system and find weak links prone to leakages. As a rule, such specialists provide tips on the enhancements necessary to patch the loopholes.
  3. Penetration testing. CRM software is not immune to hacking attacks. In December 2022, such an attack occurred in SevenRooms, a restaurant CRM platform from New York. After the attack, malicious actors threatened to sell 427GB of the stolen customer data on hacking sites, providing data samples. Penetration testing can help prevent such incidents. Ethical hackers simulate attacks using the same tools and techniques malicious actors employ. They do so to detect some dangerous weaknesses hackers can exploit and fix them before an attack breaks out.

Step 6 Regression testing

Regression testing is a critical step that helps ensure that none of the previously delivered functions get broken after a new feature deployment. This testing type also helps verify that the system is stable and runs smoothly after all the modifications. 

Regression testing is a top candidate for automation due to its monotonous character. In this case, automation is a reasonable effort, which helps reduce testing time and the rate of mistakes due to the human factor. 

Conclusions

Testing a CRM system thoroughly before implementing it in your organisation is crucial for the solution’s future performance. To make sure the CRM software works well, you should prepare realistic test data and run the following testing types:

  • Functional testing to check if the system works as required.
  • Integration testing to ensure all modules process data correctly. 
  • Performance testing to test if the system handles different user loads efficiently.
  • Security testing to ensure the system data is securely stored and protected from outside threats.
  • Regression testing to ensure new features don’t cause malfunctions in previously added functions or the whole system. 

CRM testing will help you identify any potential issues before they can cause any damage or disruption in operations.

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Elena Yakimova is the Head of department at a1qa ― a software testing company. She started her career in QA in 2008. Now, Elena manages an in-house QA team of 160+ skilled engineers who have successfully completed more than 250 projects across telecom, IT and software development, eCommerce, eHealth, and other industries.

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