A customer relationship management (CRM) system is a business-oriented solution centered on facilitating, tracking, organizing and cultivating the different types of transactions that sales companies have with sales leads and existing clients. These systems are built around improving business processes and providing salespeople with the tools necessary to successfully find sales leads and turn these leads into sales. CRM systems manage sales prospect and client databases and help ensure that they are handled properly and efficiently.
The salesperson/client relationship is perhaps the most important part of the sales process. Developing and maintaining this relationship is crucial to successfully closing sales. Maintaining a customer list (including sales leads and existing customers) is one of the most important processes for a sales company. Contacting sales leads in appropriate time periods, checking in and following up with existing clients helps in developing communication, trust and rapport. There is no doubt that a quality CRM system is one of the best investments that a sales company can make to improve productivity and customer relationships.
The Cloud Movement
Cloud computing is gaining momentum in many different industries due to the ease and cost-effectiveness of implementation. The basic idea behind cloud computing is that overhead costs are minimized because the hardware for the system is located off-site, usually at a vendor or third party site. This is beneficial because it eliminates the need for the client company to purchase and maintain expensive dedicated servers. It is an on-demand model where users usually access the system without having to install any software on their devices.
What does cloud computing do for customer relationship management? Sales companies can now implement a web-based cloud CRM solution:
- In less time (sometimes in a matter of days)
- With less overhead
- With more customized “on-demand” functionality for less price
- Accessible to more platforms
- That automates and speeds up the updating process
The evolution of the cloud CRM has reduced CRM costs to the point where it is now economically feasible for literally every sales company to implement it. In most cases all the sales company needs to purchase is the CRM package (usually user licenses that allow access to the system) and the devices that are used to access the system. Access devices are commonly any internet-enabled devices that can hit a web site such as:
- Desktop computers
- Tablet computers
The Future of Cloud CRM
Currently many CRM vendors offer hybrid systems that allow companies to go from an on-premise CRM system to a cloud CRM system and vice versa. It is believed that cloud CRM systems will soon dominate the market and on-premise systems will slowly be phased out. Cloud CRM has a huge advantage over on-premise systems because of its ability to dynamically grow and handle increased system demand without service interruption or hardware costs. Sales companies with a geographically dispersed workforce also gravitate towards web-based cloud CRM solutions because of the ease of communication and feeling of community it promotes.
Cloud CRM systems are consistently proven to bring growth in sales revenue, reduce overhead costs and to streamline business processes making them invaluable tools in a competitive industry.