Benefits of Cloud CRM for Small Businesses

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a concept all businesses practice day in and day out. In fact, a business is found on managing customers and hence CRM ought to be the business strategy instead of being a part of business strategy. If you are a small business owner, it is vital that you get repeat business since attracting new customers entails more costs than retaining existing customers.

To make this happen, your CRM system must be a cutting edge solution geared to deliver superior value. And maintaining a CRM system involves technology costs which include maintenance of IT infrastructure, software license fee and upgrade costs. What if these can be done away with partially or fully and instead, you need to pay per user or per seat fee to have a managed CRM solution.

This is precisely what “Cloud CRM” promises with its emphasis on remote hosting of data and shared use of applications. Before we launch into the benefits of cloud CRM for small businesses, let us examine what cloud CRM means. Simply put, any solution that offers remote hosting of your customer data, project data and shared access of the workflow applications can be construed as using software as service instead of as a product.

And when the CRM software that your small business uses is hosted and managed remotely and your employees can access it for a fee which your company pays, you are effectively using cloud CRM.

Further, if you can hire a company like Google or Amazon to lease their server space for hosting your customer data or their computing capacity to power your CRM software, you are into the cloud CRM bandwagon.

So, how does this benefit you ? For starters, you need not invest in expensive IT infrastructure like servers, data centers, software for PC’s and hardware for computing power. If you keep in mind the fact that software and hardware usually require maintenance and upgrades which are becoming more expensive with each passing year, your potential savings grow exponentially.

Next, when you do not need these investments, you can also do away with your IT staff which often is an overhead for small businesses. It is often the case that the IT budget is a significant expense item in the overall budget for small businesses. There are many small business owners who rue the skyrocketing costs of buying new CRM software and maintaining it. So, when you are given an opportunity to reduce your costs significantly, it is the obvious choice to go in for cloud CRM solutions.

Of course, using cloud CRM is not without its downsides. For instance, security of confidential customer and project data is something that worries small business owners. And given some recent incidents where customer data was hacked (as in the incident involving Sony) the anxieties are not entirely misplaced.

But, small businesses often spend a packet on the latest security software and patches and to ease your concerns, there are cloud CRM providers like that have a high rating from users in matters related to security. And the other concern of outages is something that is addressed by many cloud CRM providers who provide backup links if the main link goes down. And many small businesses anyway have a line item expense for taking backups of data. So, why not save on that and invest in a secure and reliable cloud CRM solution ?

Small businesses typically fall into two categories as far as customer base is concerned. There are those who have dispersed customers where maintaining customer relationships is a challenge and those who have a small customer base from which the bulk of their revenues are generated. In both cases, CRM solutions are essential to small businesses and when there is the option of getting a cloud CRM solution without the attendant costs which a regular CRM solution has, the smart thing to do would be to prefer the cloud CRM.

It would be pertinent to note that small businesses often have limited resources at their disposal and hence are always looking to cut costs. In this respect, having a cloud CRM solution makes eminent sense. When you subscribe to a cloud CRM solution, you can run your business on a few computers and internet capabilities. Cloud CRM’s benefits cannot be better captured than these aspects. In conclusion, while these are early days for cloud CRM solutions for small businesses, the trends indicate that the future might very well belong to it.

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Customer Relationship Management