When entrepreneurs with small and midsize businesses (SMBs) hear the words “enterprise software,” they often envision complex corporate applications they won’t need (and can’t afford) yet. Unfortunately, this is a common misperception that often leaves capable business owners without the tools they need for continuing success.
Customer relationship management (CRM) solutions are among the most vital of these tools. And the recent increase in options could offer the extra edge to take your business to the next level.
Here are some of the key considerations in selecting the right CRM for your SMB.
Onsite vs. cloud
One of the biggest concerns in implementing new business technology is whether to use an onsite solution or software as a service (SaaS) in the cloud. While there is plenty of factual information about the cloud available, there are just as many myths.
Control over data is often a concern with the cloud. But experts in the field state that using the same security measures as with onsite solutions can result in even safer data storage. Since your CRM for SMB solution will contain all of your prospect, client and sales information, the safer option is the way to go. This, along with countless other benefits, makes CRM in the cloud the best choice.
Scalability for change
When you choose the right tech tools for your growing business, one of the most important considerations is scalability. After all, some CRM providers cater to small businesses, while others tailor their tools for larger organizations.
Many companies already spend upwards of 80 percent of their IT budgets on simply keeping their systems going. So, it can be disturbing if, after unexpected growth or a shift in the market, you suddenly need to invest in a different CRM solution.
Explore your current needs and near-term plans against the CRMs for SMB you are considering. Ensure you will be able to adjust for more users, features, functionality and even billing options as your company grows and changes.
Support after the sale
Most of us don’t expect much help from Microsoft when we install Word or PowerPoint on our personal computers. But for enterprise and SMB IT solutions, this lack of support is simply unacceptable. Find out up front what kind of support, onboarding and training resources are available for potential CRM for SMB solutions.
In reality, there are a variety of reasons your organization may also need professional IT services. And if companies provide this in conjunction with the CRM solution, it’s a good bet that they’ll be helpful in a jam. Even the best enterprise solutions may be useless without a little pro assistance, so do your homework in this area.
By mid-2017, data breaches were occurring at the fastest rate in history. This means security features should also be a priority when choosing your CRM for SMB solution. And because many instances of data loss are due to employee error in addition to malicious attacks, your CRM solution should also accommodate frequent backups.
If your sales team works remotely or travels, it also makes sense for any CRM solution you choose to offer full-featured, secure mobile access that is compatible with your network systems, devices, and processes.
The biggest step to ensuring CRM security and backup reliability is choosing a respected provider. Of course, you’ll also want to train your employees in security protocols, including frequent password updates. Even the most secure CRM solutions are vulnerable to improper training or negligent employees.
The CRM for your SMB
Finding the right CRM for your SMB won’t be the same process for every company. However, the most important considerations remain consistent.
By looking at your business needs and the most common demands for customer relationship management tools, you can find the CRM that works best for your evolving organization.
From that point on, you’re the only thing that can hold you back from success.