As customer data management becomes more complex, many businesses are switching to cloud-based CRM solutions. Even small businesses are beginning to adopt cloud CRM to integrate all aspects of marketing and sales. In the short period between 2008 and 2014, use of cloud-based CRM jumped from 12 percent to 87 percent, and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down.
Moving Away from On Premise Systems
Businesses that recognize the extensive benefits of cloud CRM are abandoning the old model of using a network of onsite hardware and software systems to store customer data. Although on premise CRM systems offer more control over customization, the amount of resources necessary to maintain the infrastructure is a drain that many companies can’t afford. Small businesses in particular don’t have the money or staff to devote to monitoring, troubleshooting and updating an on premise CRM platform.
Simply setting up a system onsite requires purchasing hardware, software and software licenses. Once the system is in place, routine updates are necessary to maintain security. Regular data backups must also be performed to prevent data loss. Should disaster or failure occur, equipment must be replaced at the company’s expense. Even something as basic as upgrading to a new software version can be a significant investment.
On premise CRM also offers little in the way of scalability. Expanding requires the purchase of more hardware, and, if requirements decrease, the same amount of hardware must still be maintained until demand goes back up.
Customer Management in the Cloud
Cloud CRM moves the storage and management of customer data from onsite hardware to remote servers operated by hosting companies. All of the duties that an onsite IT staff would normally be burdened with are handled by techs at the company, including:
- Software installation and updates
- Security measures
- Hardware maintenance and upgrades
- Routine backups with redundancy across locations
- Application integration and management
This frees up extensive resources within the company, making CRM more accessible to businesses of all sizes.
Cloud CRM data is accessible from anywhere using any kind of mobile device, thus enabling sales staff to break free from the limitations of on premise systems and be more productive in the field. It’s predicted that 55 percent of salespeople will take advantage of this capability to access and utilize sales apps in 2016. Data collected from any location is accessible through one user-friendly dashboard, and this access can be segmented by department through the use of unique logins with specific permissions.
Regardless of the level of access, data still flows freely from one part of the company to another, creating a comprehensive view of consumer behavior that’s invaluable when it comes to creating the targeted, personalized campaigns necessary to compete in the current market.
The Future of the Cloud
Personalization and the creation of a seamless customer experience are two top trends that will continue to grow and evolve as cloud CRM becomes more popular. Presenting a consistent voice and image for your company on every channel is crucial to building brand loyalty, and customers are increasingly coming to expect that level of cohesiveness.
The development and use of predictive analytics adds another layer to customer management and influences the development of marketing campaigns. Rather than relying exclusively on existing data, predictive tactics look at trends in consumer behavior to forecast what actions a particular market segment is likely to perform in the near future. This data has the potential to maximize ROI and increase conversions throughout every facet of marketing.
With more businesses relying on software as a service solutions, cloud CRM is moving toward offering greater integration between platforms and applications to create more streamlined workflows and offer greater opportunities for customization.
Cloud-based CRM provides an economical solution for businesses of all sizes. Thanks to trends toward more user-friendly interfaces and flexible integration, you can make the switch without the need for intense employee re-training. Seamless data incorporation ensures that all important customer information is retained, and the scalability of the cloud gives you the space you need to grow. Whether you run a small business or an extensive enterprise, moving to the cloud is a smart option for CRM management.