How effective is CRM really?
Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions have become important to modern business, but how effective are they? Most of the companies are still using spreadsheets to manage their customers, are they really effective? And if they are using any other traditional standalone CRM system are those effective?
In these ever changing business dynamics corporate world will have to make a choice –
- Option 1: Keep managing customers through hard copies and spreadsheets
- Option 2 : Keep using age old standalone CRM software
- Option 3: Move to latest integrated, cloud-based CRM system
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of these options one by one.
Option1: Using spreadsheets
A start-up company may find this option cost effective initially, but as the business grows it is neither scalable nor it is flexible for expanding business needs. Company will quickly realise that they need a more scalable and flexible CRM to track customers and transactions to stay competitive. Spreadsheet has many short comings.
- Spreadsheets limits the customer data into individual computer systems
- Management will never have visibility into sales team’s activities
- Alerts, reminders and diligent follow-up are missing resulting into loss of business
- Complicated and time consuming reporting and analysis methods
- What happens when an employee leaves the job? Data is permanently gone with him or will be hard to comprehend…
These analysis leads to one simple query, is this method ideal for the rapidly growing business needs? The answer is NO.
Option2: Using Age old standalone CRM software:
Traditionally, companies have used standalone CRM software to capture client information, such as telephone numbers, addresses, and other contact information. However, the fundamental flaw of the software is that it fails to connect with customers at the right time and at the right place.
- Standalone CRM lacks in flexibility in adapting according to business needs. It forces companies to change their methods according to the system and is comparatively much more costly.
- The systems major drawback is its inability to integrate with other systems like ERP, payment gateway or any other 3rd party system as per customer requirements to give complete 3600 customer view.
- Lack of deployment flexibility and changing deployment options to meet business requirements, and geographic presence.
- Every time you need something new in your CRM it has to be developed at an extra cost. Moreover there is too much reliance on vendor’s technical support to resolve issues
- Vendor backed upgrades are also not available
- CRM is not accessible on the move such as on device like Mobile or Tab.
So it is certain that standalone CRM system is not the future, it cannot cope-up with the rapidly changing and fast paced business requirements.
Option 3: Integrated Cloud CRM
Let’s look at our 3rd option the Integrated Cloud CRM, this one no longer works on a single workstation and can be accessed from any mobile device by authorized team members. The real advantage, though, is its deployment flexibility and a wider array of information – such as customer history and complete trail of communication, calendars, emails, flexibility on modules or fields’ creation allows this system to adapt to customers business requirements.
This system is user friendly and flexible in terms of scalability and adapting to changing business requirements
- Ease of integration with 3rd party systems through Web APIs
- Centralised client information giving 3600 customer view like capturing past communication with customer, his background, past sales and support activities, past orders, alerts, reminders, scheduling calls / meetings through calendar, Reports and analytics, workflows for automatic communication with stake holders and much more.
- CRM on the move. As long as internet is available this is accessible from anywhere and on any devise like smart phones, tabs, laptop etc. Since most of the times sales and marketing people are on the move they can access cloud based system anytime anywhere with customer information at their figure tips.
- With an integrated CRM system, you can authorize appropriate team members to have access to some customer information, meaning that in seconds they can pull up information.
Modern business needs integrated systems that link core management functions, such as planning, supervising, accounting and reporting, to maximize productivity and performance. An integrated, cloud-based system helps companies not only capture vital information in one place but make use of the data at the right time. Cloud based CRM system is much more flexible, cost effective and is the future of customer relationship management.