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Cloud CRM in the Small Business World

There’s an old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” You are a small business owner who manages less than 10,000 records. You don’t have any performance issues, or any complex business processes that are difficult to maintain. Your business is running well and you are achieving your sales targets. Then, why should a small business owner like you invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) solution?

A few good reasons to use SaaS-based CRM

Just because things are running smoothly now doesn’t mean this will always be the case. It’s all about scalability. The history of the enterprise software industry shows that migration to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models is increasing as older applications and systems become too difficult and costly to maintain and upgrade. As your processes increase in complexity and the number of records grows exponentially, you will outgrow your current applications and systems.

While we often think of outsourcing as a strategy reserved for big businesses, technology has made it more accessible for small businesses. Businesses that fail to graduate to a software-as-a-service model end up spending more on internal management. Meanwhile successful businesses focus on what they do best and leave the design, development and maintenance of software to the experts. They reap the rewards of growth, productivity, and healthier bottom lines.

For example, imagine if you had all your data stored in Excel with multiple tabs and data filters. You may currently be satisfied with the features available. But as your company grows, the complexity of this file grows as well. Before you know it, you have 20 worksheets in Excel workbook and are trying to explain to a new sales rep how to use this file to provide a quote.

Consider instead, what S-a-a-S can do to streamline the process. You can guide your sales rep one screen at a time, following help menus, to create a quote for your client. You could even access your data from mobile devices, enabling you to update the data, search for content, approve a high volume order, and more – all with a mobile app.

An SaaS CRM solution make it a breeze to schedule appointments with your clients, send an e-newsletter to a large list, set up reminders, generate custom reports, and ultimately to lessen the burden on your own staff so they can be more productive.

For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), it’s all about the bottom line. The return on investment can be found in a measurable increase in response rates, lead conversions, and sales.

So what the concern? Typically, resistance to this solution comes from managers of SMBs being hesitant to store their data on a third-party cloud. But studies show cloud data is safer and better managed than their own data centers. Think about it. If a cloud service provider ever experienced a data breach, they would be ruined. For this reason, cloud service providers obtain the highest level of security certification in order to sustain a reputation of trustworthiness in the market place. Cloud service providers can afford the investment in security and have IT engineers dedicated to managing it – something SMBs would struggle with providing. And if providers like Salesforce, Google Apps, are good enough for the world’s largest organizations like Cisco, GE, Capital and E*Trade to run their mission critical applications, then they should be good enough for you too.

Even for managers of small businesses who feel like they have everything under control, switching to a cloud-based CRM solution could be the organization’s smartest move. But only if they invest in the right CRM software. The right solution for you should enable you to experiment on a small set of users. This allows you to evaluate the long term investment without paying the upfront costs.

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