Customer Relations Management programs and spreadsheets—like so many other applications in today’s business world—are going online. You’ve probably heard the terms “in the cloud” or “SaaS (Software as a Service),” or even “hosted applications,” but maybe you don’t have a clear idea what that can mean for your CRM applications. First, let’s begin by defining that almost surreal term, “in the cloud.”
In the cloud, in terms of CRM applications, means that everything you need for customer relations management is stored in one integrated program on the Internet. It’s “hosted” by the service provider on the Web. What are the benefits of online CRM to you, your sales team, and your company?
- You can access your online CRM applications from anywhere. On the road? Not a problem. Using a netbook? No worries. Internet and electricity down due to a bad storm? Business doesn’t have to stop when you can make calls and track all your information through online CRM applications via your smartphone.
- Online CRM provides an automatic back-up of all your data. With online CRM, you don’t have to worry about local systems failure wiping out all the data in your CRM applications. Everything is stored online, so you can access it from any machine with Internet access — any time.
- Online CRM is fully secure. People today use the Internet for shopping online, backing, bill pay and the storage of all types of sensitive data. While not the data stored within your CRM applications? Online CRM data, when you use CRM applications from a reputable company like Intuit, is fully secure and protected. It may even be more secure than your local hard drive or any other in-house back-up method. Your information is also protected from theft, fire, and natural disaster when it’s stored on the Web.
Sales and Marketing: No More Great Divide with Online CRM
One issue many companies face is a disconnect between the sales and marketing teams. This often results in duplicated efforts (sales prospecting for leads, or marketing trying to close sales), miscommunications that make the company look disorganized, or missed opportunities for the sales staff. And you know, when you’re in sales, missed opportunities equals lost dollars. Avoid this issue with online CRM that can be accessed at any time of day or night, from any location, from authorized personnel in the sales or marketing departments.
Leave the marketing team to qualify prospects, so the sales team can track the results easily online and then follow up with the hottest prospects. Members of the marketing team never have to wonder what happened with that hot lead, which is often a source of frustration and makes it difficult for marketing to track the effectiveness of their sales funnel techniques. The information is easy to access through online CRM applications.
For their part, the sales team never has to wonder about the status of a prospect (warm, hot, cold?) because all the information is in living color on their LED monitor through online CRM applications.
Sold on moving your CRM applications “in the cloud?” Remember, online CRM applications offer:
- Instant access, anytime, anywhere
- No need to worry about back-ups
- Real-time updates
- Enhanced communication between the sales and marketing team, in real-time
- Fewer dropped leads