“Putting the customer first” is classic adage businesses of all sizes have been standing behind for decades. But today, thanks to modern technology, “putting the customer first” is more than an anchor for a company’s mission or the backbone of its sales and service philosophy. Being a customer-first organization means making the customer experience the driving force behind technology adoption. And this day and age, that means the adoption of cloud-based customer relation management (CRM) solutions.
CRM: Not Just for Sales and Marketing Anymore
Most organizations operating in competitive environments—B2B or B2C—simply can’t effectively cater to its customers needs without a unified (and digitized!) front and back office. This helps explains Gartner’s finding that CRM finally surpassed database management systems as the largest software market in 2017 and the fastest-growing software market in 2018.
While CRM systems were once seen as (simply) a company’s sales and marketing must-have, they’re now serving organizations on a deeper, more foundational and all-encompassing level. By leveraging cloud computing, companies can put their CRM data to work with and alongside other business systems (e.g. ERP) to power a winning end-to-end customer experience and contribute to improved top- and bottom-line performance.
And More than Just Customers-First
Indeed, CRM systems enable companies to enhance customer and vendor relationships, market more effectively, take advantage point-of-sale opportunities, and other revenue-increasing activities, but they’re integral to providing a better customer experience from a base level, operational standpoint. Think “faster order fulfillment” and “more informed customer service reps” as a result of real-time data and interconnected front and back office systems.
In other words, modern CRMs allow companies to be data-first, too. And doesn’t data line the path toward true customer centricity?
The key here is cloud computing. Technology is changing quickly, and it has to be affordable and scalable for growing businesses whose needs can change practically overnight. Not only can companies no longer afford to manage the volume of customer and operational data when it’s sitting in silos, but many can’t afford the hassle or expense of maintaining on-premise business systems. And they don’t have to.
The Right CRM Solution is in the Cloud
Here’s why cloud-based CRM software the ideal solution for most growing businesses today:
It’s Easy to Deploy
According to Forrester, midmarket organizations demand cloud as their primary deployment model. And in fact, Forrester analysts expect that in the next five years, newer cloud solutions will replace most on-premises installations. This helps make the case for cloud solutions for both first-time and replacement CRM implementations. But what makes it easy?
- Cloud solutions don’t require up-front investment in hardware (e.g. computers and servers) to “run” the software because your users access their data and tools through the internet on any web-connected computer or device.
- Cloud CRM system vendors and/or IT partners—not your internal IT team—handle all of the maintenance and support of the software, which includes getting your data, system, and users up-and-running.
It Meets Your Evolving Needs
Cloud-based CRM software, like other business software “living” in the cloud, is flexible. You can get started with core functionality and extend your software with new capabilities, which include integration with your ERP or other cloud-based business systems and apps. Here’s what you can expect from your CRM:
- Salesforce automation – Gain better visibility into your sales and marketing efforts
- Marketing automation – Automate email marketing, social listening and other digital channels.
- Service management – Track customer services cases, assign staff and manage resources with ease.
- Executive dashboards – View business performance metrics, 24/7 from anywhere in the world.
- Workflow controls – Eliminate bottlenecks, automate alerts and work more efficiently.
- xRM – Manage any type of structured relationship, beyond just people
Plan For Cloud-based CRM Success
An article in Destination CRM cites a study finding that 91% of North American firms with 10 or more employees already have CRM systems in place—and of these, less than a third feel adequately equipped with the tools they need to actually be successful.
While cloud-based CRM software in inherently user-friendly, it’s important to work with your implementation partner and vendor to make sure you’re prepared to make the most of your investment. Don’t miss How Strategy Can Ensure a Secure and Efficient Move to the Cloud.
Feel free to contact us to learn more about getting started with the right CRM solution for your company today.