The marketplace for cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software continues to pick up steam, yet some businesses haven’t caught “CRM fever.” It’s possible they’re keeping up with customers and sales opportunities using traditional manual processes, or they haven’t decided to make the shift over to cloud computing. Of course, they may also be holding on to a common cloud CRM myth or two—and in the process, they’re holding themselves back.
The fact is that increased organizational focus on delivering a stellar customer experience—even in B2B markets—is driving many companies to invest in cloud-based business software. CRM solutions serve the important role of not only arming marketing and sales teams with real-time customer insights, but they also connect other customer-facing employees with critical back-office data that’s critical for account management and financial decision-making tasks.
Here, we’ll untangle some of the most prevalent cloud CRM myths and provide some peace of mind reality you can use to make informed, future-focused decisions.
Myth: CRMs are Outdated Technology
Forget about the CRMs of the 80s and 90s. Just because companies have been using CRM software for decades to help manage leads and organize their customer data doesn’t mean that today’s systems are limited to the same functionality. They’re certainly not built on yesterday’s technology (e.g. clunky servers), either.
We’re operating in a digital world. Decision-makers need a 360-degree view of customers, and they need more than contact information and a view of a “communications history” to inform decisions. But that’s why modern CRMs offer robust functionality and integrate with back-end business systems. CRMs deliver the full customer picture.
Reality: CRM Functionality is More Relevant than Ever Before
CRM would not have become the largest software market in 2017 if companies weren’t investing in the CRM solutions. Today’s cloud-based CRM software, now the norm in the industry, is helping organizations address a combination of their increasing (and ever more complex) data challenges and rising customer expectations—and doing so cost-effectively, efficiently, and securely.
In addition to providing a central place for customer profiles and calendar information, modern CRMs track and enable sales, house marketing results, and integrate with accounting and ERP software to deliver dependable big-picture business intelligence insights. These are the capabilities decision-makers need and want today, and the benefits of a modern CRM will continue leading more organizations to make the investment.
Myth: Implementation Will Take a Long Time
Once again, think back to the 80s and 90s, when on-premise software installations could take months (even years, all things considered) to “get right.” Indeed, getting some modern enterprise software—cloud-based, on-premise, or in a hybrid configuration—up-and-running involves a lengthy and complex implementation process. That’s just the nature of technology that’s designed to manage an entire organization’s data. (Read How Long Does It Take to Deploy a Cloud Computing Strategy? for more insights.)
Reality: Cloud-Based Software Boasts a Relatively Simple Set-up
Thanks to their underlying architecture and service models, cloud-based CRM implementations tend to be more streamlined. Vendors want to make the process as easy as possible—and implementation partners, like MIBAR, work closely with the customer and vendor IT teams to ensure a smooth (and timely) experience, from data migration to software testing, user training, and post-implementation support.
As a reminder, SaaS solutions are web-based and remarkably flexible: they’re accessible via any computer or device with an internet connection. This means organizations don’t need to invest in new hardware to “run” their programs; they’re housed on vendor servers. They also don’t have to depend on internal IT resources to maintain them; the vendor handles updates and user support. These factors, among others, help make the case for a “quicker,” and certainly more convenient, set-up.
Myth: New Systems Are Too Expensive
Investing in new business systems for your company is serious business—it takes strategic commitment and a slice of the budget. This is especially true of software you install on-premise and run using your internal resources. Plus, introducing new software and tools to your business users requires an investment of time (and change management energy) that you have to factor in to your time-to-ROI expectations. But are they “too” expensive? Not necessarily.
Reality: Modern CRMs Are Within Every Budget’s Reach
There are a few reasons why today’s cloud-based CRM systems are more affordable—and definitely less cost-prohibitive—than yesterday’s in-house solutions. They include, but aren’t limited to:
- The shared tenancy model applied by SaaS solutions uses shared resources, meaning costs are spread across all customers leveraging the technology. This makes costs significantly lower for everyone.
- SaaS CRM solutions are offered, by definition, as-a-service. This means customers are usually charged a per-user monthly fee (a pay-as-you-go subscription, essentially), that amounts to much less than standard on-premise, pay up-front software licenses. Plus, since software is accessed online, customers don’t have to pay costs associated with hardware, storage, and maintenance.
- Solutions are typically offered in “modules” so customers can add new functionality as they grow. Microsoft Dynamics 365, for example, is comprised of 5 individual apps (sales, customer service, field service, project service automation, and marketing) that work seamlessly together yet can be purchased separately, over time.
And let’s call forth the concept of opportunity cost: can you afford to manage your customer data any other way? Here’s What Your Competitors Don’t Want You To Know About Cloud Computing.
Are You Ready For A Cloud-Based CRM?
Contact us for a free consultation to find out how we help assess your organization’s “readiness” for modern CRM software. Check out this Case Study to learn how MIBAR helped a customer in the manufacturing industry take control of their data and keep track of their projects through a customized implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365.