What is CRM?
Customers or clients are the most important part of any business. All businesses are targeted towards a customer base which they need to sustain and earn profits. In such a scenario it becomes very important to organize, manage and synchronize the customer-client interactions on a real time basis. The technique to organize and manage this vast amount of data and information is termed as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and the tool to do this is CRM Software.
WHO NEEDS A CRM SYSTEM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems are the need of the hour to manage the massive data of any serious business that meets the following criterion:
- Customer facing businesses that need to interact with customers on a daily basis
- Businesses that employ sales and marketing techniques to acquire and retain customers
- Businesses that need to raise invoices and make business quotes to acquire and conduct trade
- Businesses that are looking to increase efficiency in their systems and reduce their costs
There are different types of CRM Software which provide customized features depending on the needs of your business. For example, Cloud CRM lets you store your company’s data on the CRM service provider’s server whereas on-Premise CRM keeps the data on the business server only.
HOW A CRM SYSTEM BENEFITS YOU?
A comprehensive and well devised CRM system has great benefits including the monitoring and organizing of information related client and customer interactions for any business which handles massive data on a daily basis. Following are the main features of a CRM system and what a CRM system can do for your business:
- A good CRM tool helps in projecting and forecasting the customer growth as well as the sales growth of a company by analyzing the trends of demand along with applying the variables to manage unpredictability.
- Aggregating data at one place helps in efficient data mining, identifying performance indicators and conducting real time data management with the help of technology.
- CRM tools can be helpful in analyzing customers’ behavior by analyzing and understanding the customer history so as to accordingly plan and manage the demand and supply.
- CRM lets you access your data with ease so that you do not waste most of your precious time tracking information from vast piles of data.
- The best feature of CRM tools is the ability to provide one to one customer solutions through efficient communication and customer servicing.
CRM systems not only help you in taking smart decisions and increase the efficiency of conducting businesses but also have the capability to taking you a step ahead from your competition. CRM systems not only benefit the businesses but also are a great tool of effective customer service resulting into happy and repeat customers and clients. And everybody knows that a happy customer is a live advertisement of your business. So forget the age old methods of managing data through excel sheets and scribble pads but switch to the efficient and very useful CRM system and see your business catch the momentum and grow better.
A CRM is a system to aid you to manage your customer relationships. So you need to know your current and past relationship, and plan for the future. It is one of the worst experience where you dealt with a business and their systems seem to make that relationship worse? Was it a pleasant experience? To avoid these sort of bad CRM system, start with defining your business processes and goals. What can you improve, to improve that process?
Our consulting services are to here to help you define that customer relationship, your internal processes, and define a CRM system that benefits both the customer and your business. Our team will:
• Analyse your business processes
• Match the processes of data within your business. A CRM will help break down those structures into manageable segments.
• Understand and document the workflows between you and your customer. As well as internal team members.
• Provide a design for development.
• Provide an estimate of the investment. Now with cloud solution you can get up and running within a matter of days not months.
• As much as possible, use the Zoho CRM configuration processes and apply best practices so your application becomes efficient, scalable.
• Implement and configure the system to your needs
• Assist you to train your users.
For a simple business process, the whole process can take as little as a week, but for complex businesses where you want to get rid multiple systems then it will take a little longer subject to details scope of the project.
CLOUD VS ON-PREMISE CRM TOOLS
Cloud computing is the next big step in the evolution of the internet. In the most basic terms, it can be defined as provision through the internet of all computing services. It is the most advanced version of the client-server architecture and takes that system to a very high level of resource sharing and scaling. In a cloud computing network, all the data including the processing software of a computer or other mobile devices will be stored and run from a remote server farm and can be accessed from that device from anywhere in the world. The data is stored in an encrypted form and is made available on a terminal only on provision of the correct username and password.
Accessing the data and using the resources on such servers will be possible for the user by using any terminal connected to the network. This is pretty much like the way power is supplied to any particular region in a grid, as per the demand. Similarly, the resources made available on terminals in the network will be as per the demand. This is the reason why the ‘cloud’ in cloud computing can also be called as the Internet.
So, rather than installing a software on your own computer, you can access the same software as an internet based application through a web browser. What this does is allows you to access and save your work or data on the network’s server, which completely eliminates the need to store it on your own computer. This also provides you with unlimited freedom to access your data from any terminal you want. All the terminal needs is the capability to remotely connect with the server network.
Cloud computing is possible only because of the high speed internet connectivity that has reached even remote locations on earth. This power and reach of the internet has been effectively used to share data on the cloud computing network.
Necessity and Applications of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing owes its success to two very important factors, viz. money and convenience. The network makes it very easy to store, access and even edit every bit of your data. You won’t need to install anything on your device and best of all; every program you use will be automatically updated. You are also free from having to go through any protocol when accessing your data. This is one of the biggest reasons for the popularity of cloud computing among individual and corporate users alike. The amount of money saved with cloud computing is enormous. You only pay the service provider for the storage and access to your data, thus saving money that goes into maintaining your own storage, backup and power bills. Cloud computing also helps corporates cut down on their carbon footprint while giving them high speed access to their data at affordable prices.
Cloud computing has several applications. You must have heard of private cloud computing, which is nothing but a cloud computing network that can be accessed by only a private group of computers. Amazon and Google have both set-ups their own cloud computing services for use by individuals. Cloud computing is finding resonance with more and more users as the network can be used to share not just information but also many services.
Advantages of Cloud Computing
- Cost Reduction: A cloud does away with the need for each user to put money in softwares or stand-alone servers that need a large start-up capital but are usually inadequately-utilized most of the time. With fast-paced technological innovations the norm today, these resources become outdated soon and need to be replaced for the best working efficiency. Cloud computing dispenses with the need for such repeated investments.
- Speed and Scalability: Companies no longer need to invest time and money in buying and installing the hardware, software and other applications necessary for the operation. Instead, they can simply scale-up or scale-down their usage of the network’s services as per their needs.
- Innovation: With the burden of managing resources off their backs, companies can concentrate on innovations that will make them more competitive. This helps in faster development, evaluation and final validation of their products and services.
- Location Freedom: Providers of the service can build their infrastructure in places with lower overhead costs and pass on the savings to their customers.
- Convenience: The only thing needed by a company to use this service is high-speed internet connectivity. The need for specialised equipment or personnel is completely eliminated. Billing is on actual consumption basis only while it’s also itemised to help the customer check costs.
- Flexibility: Users can withdraw their subscription at their will which gives a fair degree of operational flexibility. The services are provided under level agreements which ensure that the service provider is penalised for any lapse in service. The cloud network can also be accessed from any device with internet connectivity.
Disadvantages of Cloud Computing
- Dependence on Network Connectivity: This is the most glaring disadvantage as access to the network can be completely frozen if network connectivity is hampered. A slow network will also bottleneck the work output of cloud users.
- Legal Ownership of Information: Every service provider will have its own terms and conditions regarding the data stored on its server farms. Proper reading and understanding of the fine print is necessary as this often contains information on issues like data theft, server and backup failure, distribution rights and rules which if breached might prevent data access to a user.
- Cost: Cloud computing is financially quite viable in the long term. However, its cost is nowhere near cheap or affordable if you are setting it up on a smaller scale. There’s still a long way to go before cloud computing becomes a good and affordable solution for small-scale users.
In spite of a few niggles like above, there is absolutely no doubt that cloud computing is going to be the latest innovation of the computer/internet juggernaut. Cloud computing is a unique solution as it caters to environmental concerns, cost issues and overall operational flexibility.
CLOUD VS ON-PREMISE CRM TOOLS
Both these CRM software have their merits and demerits and may suit a company’s data management requirement depending upon a particular business’ need. Here are a few major distinctions between cloud and on-premise CRM software:
- The major variation between cloud and on-premise software is the location of the saved information. As discussed earlier, cloud CRM stores data on the CRM service provider’s server which makes the data more secure whereas on-premise CRM stores data on your company’s own server which lets you monitor any malicious activity and take proper measures to secure the data.
- On cloud based CRM software, information can be accessed on a go as well unlike the on-premise CRM which can make the information accessible only on the company’s server and computers which are connected with it.
- On cloud CRM offers unlimited space and thus frees your computers a lot of space by saving all the heavy data on the service provider’s server while in case of on-premise CRM your server is loaded with all the data making the work slow and cramped space in computers.
- Cloud CRM gives the opportunity to use the technical support of the CRM service provider whereas in the case of on-premise CRM, you might have to contract a separate technical support team to handle the issues related to security of your data and server.
However, the decision to choose cloud or on-premise CRM system depends upon the particular needs of a business. For example, if a company wants to save their data locally so as to restrict its access due to security concerns then they might want to go for on-premise CRM but this option does not provide the benefits of a cloud based CRM system which lets unlimited access along with lightened server and steady tech support.