Make The Right Choice When Selecting CRM Software

For small business owners, customer-related data is critical. Information about customers can include everything from how to contact them, where they are in the sales cycle, their order history, and every facet that is related to how they interact with your business. Each customer in your database should have an individual profile that includes these details. However, managing these profiles is nearly impossible without the help of CRM software.

Today, there are many CRM software solutions that can archive and track these profiles for you. They allow your support and sales teams to work more efficiently and productively as your company grows. Below, we'll explore the pros and cons of using online CRM software. Plus, we'll help you decide whether you should use an in-house small business CRM software package for your company.

Should You Use Web Based CRM Software?

Software for CRM can cost a few dollars each month to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a robust in-house system. Many business owners choose to use a remotely hosted service that allows them to manage their customer profiles online. There are a number of benefits to doing so.

First, an online solution is typically less expensive than purchasing an in-house package. Second, business owners who use remotely-hosted software are not responsible for troubleshooting issues that are related to the software. It is the responsibility of the service provider. Third, costly upgrades to the system are spread across the entire user base, thereby reducing the expense for each user.

There is one potential drawback to using a web-based solution. If the service provider goes out of business, it's likely that all of your customer profiles will be lost. That said, if you implement a regular back-up routine, downloading your customers' profiles to your own hard drive or server, the impact would be minimal.

Using An In-House Solution

The main advantage of using an in-house CRM software system is the level of control you'll have. If you're adept at working with software, or have an IT staff that is, this level of control may be a substantial benefit. It allows you to upgrade and design the system so that it caters specifically to the unique needs of your business.

However, an in-house CRM solution may be expensive. Even an homogeneous Microsoft CRM software product (for example, c360) can cost thousands of dollars. Plus, you'll be responsible for installing security patches and making sure that they don't conflict with other applications on your servers. What's more, if you don't want to handle troubleshooting issues, you'll need to pay for ongoing technical support.

Choosing The Right Solution For Your Business

The CRM software industry offers a dizzying array of products that are designed to cater to different needs. Most solutions, both online and in-house packages, allow you to select from a list of modules that offer additional functionality. The more extensive your company's customer relationship management requirements are, the greater value these modules are likely to provide. Review your company's needs, determine the level of flexibility you want, and compare prices. If your needs are minimal, you may even be able to find a free CRM software package that does the job.


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