The Business Benefits of Cloud CRM
From software deployment, to mobility, to wearable technology, cloud computing has transformed seemingly every aspect of modern business. Research indicates cloud applications and platforms will be at the forefront of IT spending by 2016, with half of all enterprises implementing cloud solutions by 2017.
One of the quickest markets to connect with the cloud is customer relationship management (CRM) software. In fact, cloud purchases are set to represent 50 percent of all CRM deployments this year.
The advantages of traditional CRM software are well known: tracking sales interactions and identifying patterns can increase profits, and lead to a better, more personalized experience for the customer. But combine it with the advantages of cloud computing and the business benefits are substantial. Let’s take a look at some of the ways this duo is making a positive impact on business technology.
One of the most widely touted benefits of cloud computing is lowered upfront costs. SaaS solutions are subscription-based, and usually charge per month. This eliminates the need to purchase licenses and hardware, and can decrease maintenance costs. The vendor takes care of software updates, which are included in your monthly subscription. Additionally, a cloud-based CRM requires no local installation, so it can typically be up and running in a matter of hours.
In addition to reducing costs, cloud CRM can lead to increased employee productivity, specifically among sales teams working remotely. Since the software and data are hosted in the cloud, workers can access the CRM outside the office. Meaning sales and marketing teams can work anywhere, anytime. Cloud mobility also facilitates virtual workforces and multinational teams, providing a scalable solution for growing businesses.
Cloud CRM software can also improve productivity through collaboration and project management features. When you compare CRM software, you’ll quickly find that some solutions offer more functionality than others. While not every business will need a CRM with multiple add-ons, companies with mobile employees can benefit from being able to instantly communicate, manage tasks, receive notifications, and share files without a local network infrastructure.
Advanced Data and Analytics
Many businesses are turning to cloud CRM for business intelligence. On-premise solutions generally require manual uploading, syncing, and backup, whereas cloud solutions sync in real time. Cloud CRM provides an up-to-date picture of customer data, sales pipelines, invoices, and email.
Having access to unified company information allows businesses to organize data and gain accurate insights about inventory, customer leads, and profitability. Cloud-based analytics can integrate information from multiple sources, then use data visualization or predictive modeling to support better, faster decisions. Speed to insight, as well as data sharing and collaboration is a critical benefit of cloud CRM.
As businesses shift to cloud deployment, SaaS solutions are starting to focus on simplicity. Although vendors are adding smarter tools to their CRM solutions in order to appeal to a wider audience, usability is becoming more important than ever.
If SaaS software isn’t easy to use, people won’t continue to subscribe to it month after month. An intuitive interface and effective dashboard help keep most solutions user-friendly.
Furthermore, customer retention is the key component to a SaaS vendor’s long term success. A subscription-based business model means that purchasing software isn’t a one time deal. Cloud providers are more concerned than ever about turning businesses into long term subscribers.
This means that getting their customers onboarded smoothly is their number one priority. Many cloud providers offer free trials, training and learning materials, and ongoing customer support. These resources not only help your company get started, but ensure your employees are well-trained and using the CRM properly.
Cloud CRMs offer numerous benefits. Companies of all sizes can use them to forecast trends, improve efficiency, and increase the bottom line. Cloud computing offers a scalable and affordable CRM solution that enables mobility, real time insights, and native integrations. The business benefits of a cloud-based CRM could be just the competitive advantage your company needs.
(Image Source: Shutterstock)
By Keith Cawley
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