Customer Management Articles

What Is a CRM and How to Choose a CRM App?

by Aina Neva
Published on 20 September 2013

CRM experts customer centric strategyBusinesses rely on CRM software to simplify their customer service, sales and marketing functions. The software is offered on two basic platforms, namely, in-house and cloud-based applications.

It is imperative that you select the platform that is ideal for your specific business needs, with regard to the pricing, technical know-how and size of business. Here is a very quick guide on how to choose your CRM.

In-house CRM vs. Cloud-based CRM Applications

In-house CRM solutions are commonly referred to as On-premise applications because the CRM software is hosted on servers that are located within your business premises. In this case, you incur capital expenditure to purchase the necessary hardware, as well as the relevant software licenses. You will need to hire qualified personnel with the technical skills to manage the software on a day-to-day basis.

Cloud-based CRM solutions operate on the Software as a Service (SaaS) model, whereby the CRM applications are hosted remotely, on an internet server. You won't incur any capital expenditure to purchase hardware or software since cloud hosting is a monthly operational expense.

The Benefits of cloud based CRM solutions

Easy Implementation : A cloud-based CRM solution is the best option for your small business since it is easy to implement. Once you learn what is a cloud based CRM system and purchase a monthly license, the service provider will get you up and running within no time.

Accessibility : A cloud-based system gives you remote access to your data, regardless of the time or geographical location. To access your data, you only need a computer or internet-enabled device, and internet access. This is particularly important if you have an off-site sales team that need to access the data while they are on the move.

Cost-Effective : A cloud-based CRM system is relatively affordable, compared to an in-house solution. First, you do not require any upfront capital for purchasing hardware or software licenses in order to implement the system. SaaS is rather an operational expense, for which you make monthly payments for renting the software license. Secondly, you have total control over the costs of operating the system since the service provider charges a fixed monthly cost. You do not pay any extra fees for maintenance or upgrades, regardless of how often the procedures are carried out.

Technical Support : With SaaS, you are only required to know what is a cloud based CRM solution, as well as a few basic tips for operating the system. The service provider handles all the technical aspects including data management, backup, migration, maintenance, and support. You are not required to have technical skills, or even hire on-site personnel to handle technical support.

Flexibility : A cloud-based CRM system is very flexible. It allows you to easily, upgrade its features to meet the needs of your growing business. For this reason, you may choose to start with a small budget and pay for the basic CRM features only. As your business grows, you can set aside a larger budget and increase the number features to meet the growing demand.

You can check the Thinkaboutcrm website to get more information about how to choose a CRM app for your needs or compare the most popular CRM and SocialCRM apps on GetApp.