Gathering customer data in one place is mission-critical when you’re closing sales and offering an unmatched customer experience. However, the latest generation of Customer Relationship Management systems varies dramatically when it comes to services, features, and benefits. Therefore, choosing the right one is no easy task. That said, the CRM systems that are gaining the most popularity now are those that are cloud-based and there are many good reasons for this.
What you will learn in this article
- What is cloud-based CRM
- How it differs from other CRM systems
- Cloud versus on-site CRM solutions
- The top 6 six reasons for a cloud-based CRM system
- How to get started with CRM
What is cloud-based CRM?
Cloud CRM systems are hosted on the internet. There’s no software to download. Instead, you log in via a standard web browser and use their software as a service.
Cloud-based systems can be accessed from any web-enabled device, allowing users, wherever they are, to access and share the same information in real-time. So what you see in the office is the same as you would see in a coffee shop in another state or country. By offering this real-time access, you can:
- Get up-to-the-minute insights
- Automate business processes like qualifying leads
- Close deals faster
- Ensure better customer service
- Improve your customer retention rates
How cloud solutions are different
A cloud-based CRM system differs from traditional on-site CRM solutions in many ways. And all for the good, which is why cloud CRMs are so popular among small business owners like you.
Cloud CRM vs on-site CRM
- Easy to set up. You can start getting the benefits from CRM straight away
- Everything is hosted on the cloud
- Updates, maintenance, and storage are all managed by the cloud CRM provider
- Easy to use and access
- Extremely affordable with minimal upfront costs
- Accessible 24/7 from anywhere
- Integrates well with your existing tools
- Traditional CRM systems at your premises are complex and take a significant amount of time to install and get running
- You are responsible for hosting servers on your premises and maintaining them with an IT team
- Again, it’s all on you and your IT team
- Typically clunky, awkward, and not user-friendly
- Requires significant upfront capital investment
- Typically, only accessible during regular working hours
- Mostly standalone systems that don’t integrate well with anything else. Integration is definitely not a strong suit
The top 6 reasons for cloud-based CRM
Cloud CRM has many benefits for small business, but here are the top 6 benefits you need to know about.
Ease of implementation
The deep-seated fear among many organizations is that a CRM implementation will be a living nightmare for those involved. While that might have held in the past, that’s no longer the case. On the contrary, modern cloud-based CRM can be up and running in no time. Subject to having a reliable internet connection, all you do is log in, and you’re good to go straight away. Moreover, you can start using the functionality from the very outset:
- There’s no hardware to set up
- No server or software maintenance
- No reliance on a dedicated in-house IT team
- Or worrying about upgrades
It’s all done by your cloud CRM provider
With a cloud-based CRM, you can access it anytime and anywhere you have an internet connection. And on any device that’s web-enabled, including smartphones and tablets. So after hours or while you are on the move, you can always access your CRM and retrieve the data you need. This accessibility is key to improving business process efficiency and providing a greatly enhanced customer experience. So whether it’s checking your notes about an important phone call, tweaking a sales proposal on the fly, or finding someone’s contact details while you are out of the office, cloud CRM has your back.
Cloud-based CRM is cost-effective as they are charged on a per-user basis, and you only pay for the features you need. This gives small businesses much-reduced risk exposure and predictable and affordable monthly costs. This is precisely the proposition you want to hear when you don’t have a barrow-load of money to allocate.
Cloud CRM systems take security very seriously. They use enterprise-grade cybersecurity allied to automatic backup and data recovery to provide their clients with class-leading data security and safety. They are also GDPR-compliant and offer two-step authentication and strong password setting.
Cloud-based CRM is highly flexible in meeting the needs of small businesses. Subscription tiers offer a range of features to suit your circumstances. You can start with basic features to match your current needs.
Cloud CRM systems acknowledge that small businesses have evolved using a mix and match approach of different standalone platforms and apps. Therefore, cloud CRM providers have made it easy to integrate your existing tools into their systems to carry out your work seamlessly.
How to get started with CRM
In a fight, traditional on-site CRM tries to duke it out with both hands tied behind its back. If there was ever an embarrassing mismatch, it’s cloud CRM versus traditional on-premises CRM. For small businesses, the clear winner on a first-round KO is cloud CRM.
The next step is to start drawing up a shortlist of your preferred vendors. Then, you can cut through the marketing blurb by going straight for a free trial. These are no-risk, no-obligation demo accounts that let you have hands-on exposure to a cloud CRM platform. Typically, a free trial will last at least 14 days, sometimes longer. In any event, you get enough time to make an informed decision based on first-hand experience.
For small businesses, there is only one unequivocal solution, and that is to be found in the cloud. Contact us today. We are the cloud CRM specialists for small business. We will guide you through the whole implementation process and do our utmost to ensure your CRM experience is positive and profitable.