Customer relationship management is an integral part of the business. Software designed to aid companies with CRM provides invaluable tools for improving their business process and helps them make meaningful decisions with an immediate and profound impact on their bottom line.
Implementing CRM software has become crucial for the majority of businesses nowadays. The information it provides is just too useful to pass up. But what type of tool to use?
Ten to fifteen years ago, there was just one possible answer to that question. Cloud technology was in its infancy, and very few companies were providing services of this type. This forced businesses that needed it to either develop or at least implement it in house.
So what caused this paradigm shift? What are the benefits of both types of CRM systems, and which one is better for you?
Benefits of Cloud CRM
Cloud-based CRM has many advantages, but by far, their biggest selling point seems to be their accessibility. Cloud-based solutions are incredibly convenient because of how easy it is to access them, regardless of your current location.
It doesn’t matter if the company’s employees are currently working at the office, locked tight at home, or traveling abroad. Sales representatives, management, and regular employees alike can gain instant access to all the data they may need on any device that they may have on hand.
Still, while accessibility is the main thing that draws companies to cloud-based CRM, there are myriad other factors that make it preferable to the alternative for many companies.
One such factor is its cost. Online-based CRM services provided by specialized companies tend to cost just a fraction of what it takes to get an in-house team of specialists to create or even implement and support an on-location CRM system.
Nowadays, CRM certainly doesn’t have to break the bank – there are plenty of incredibly useful and affordable options that any business can take advantage of.
Some CRM solutions even have free versions that may be handy for small businesses but generally have key features restricted to incentivize companies to purchase the product or subscribe to the service.
Security is a serious concern when it comes to online services involving a company’s customers or employees. The veritable deluge of data leaks, hacks, and cyberattacks that keep affecting companies great and small is certainly something that businesses should consider.
Companies are right to be concerned about trusting yet another cloud service provider with sensitive data and should do their best to make sure said data is safe. However, this doesn’t have to come at the expense of useful tools.
The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of data breaches, leaks, and malicious attacks happen due to human error. Both online and office CRM solutions are equally vulnerable to that because they share a vital component – the humans that maintain and use them.
It’s difficult to say whether one type is safer than the other, but one thing is certain – in order to secure your office systems, you will have to invest heavily in IT. It costs just a fraction of the cost to educate your employees on how to use an online CRM product safely.
Last but not least, cloud-based systems are easier to deploy and implement. Since all the physical components needed to make them run are stored away somewhere else, they don’t have to clutter your expensive office space.
Creating and maintaining the infrastructure to facilitate this particular business process is none of your concern when you’re using online CRM tools. You just pay an upfront fee or subscribe to the service and then get to enjoy the benefits of a useful product without further having to deal with tedious organizational details.
Advantages of On-site CRM
The only real edge on-premise CRM systems have over cloud-based CRM is that they provide the company with a greater degree of independence. The cost of developing and maintaining them is likely to be prohibitive for most businesses.
Still, if you absolutely must have complete control over every step of your business processes, this may be the only option you get.
Ultimately, it’s up to each individual company to decide which type of CRM system is right for them and their needs. Some would doubtlessly prefer to take advantage of the benefits on-site CRM systems provide.
However, for most small to medium-sized companies that are just looking for ways to maintain or improve their business during this time of crisis, a cloud-based CRM system is clearly the way to go.