Customer relationship management (CRM) software keeps businesses organised and streamlines operations by effectively managing customer data. This data can include contact information, customer contact history, sales data, and more. As technology has evolved, so has CRM software. Now, businesses can take advantage of cloud computing to manage their customer relationships, operate more efficiently, boost loyalty, and grow revenue. But what is a cloud-based CRM, exactly? And how can it benefit businesses?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at cloud CRM and how it can help your business manage its customer relations more effectively.
What Is Cloud Computing?
You might be wondering, “What is the cloud?” The cloud is a term used to describe a network of remote servers you access over the Internet. When you store data or run applications in the cloud, you do so on these remote servers rather than your local computer or server.
There are many advantages to cloud computing, including the fact that you can access your data, applications, and web-based services from anywhere with an Internet connection. The proliferation of cloud computing technology has led to the emergence of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, which are software solutions delivered via the cloud.
Many of the most common software tools used by businesses have now moved to the cloud, including customer support platforms, project management software, and of course, customer relationship management software.
What Is Cloud-Based CRM?
Cloud-based CRM is simply a CRM system delivered via the cloud. This type of CRM software offers all of the same features and benefits as in-house CRM software. However, instead of accessing the software on your local computer or server, you access it via the Internet. This means your data is stored securely in the cloud, and you can access it no matter where you are.
Many businesses choose to switch to a cloud CRM provider for the flexibility and convenience they offer. The installation and set-up of an in-house CRM platform require servers to run it on, ongoing maintenance of these servers and more upfront cost.
On the other hand, setting up a cloud CRM system is typically much simpler and does not require any special hardware or large investment in computing power. Additionally, the cloud vendor handles maintenance and upgrades, so you don’t have to worry about keeping your software up-to-date yourself.
How do Businesses Use Cloud-Based CRM Solutions?
Businesses use cloud CRM systems to manage their customer information and relationships. Like any other CRM software, cloud-hosted CRM provides businesses with a centralised platform for storing and managing customer details.
Many CRM suites integrate with other business software, such as email platforms, customer support software, and task management tools. This allows businesses to get a complete view of their customer engagement history, sales data, and more. Here are some of the most common features of cloud-hosted CRMs.
This is the most basic and essential function of any CRM. Cloud CRMs allow businesses to store and manage customer contact information in one place. This includes data such as name, phone number, email address, mailing address, and social media profiles.
Sales force automation
CRM software usually includes features that help businesses automate the sales process. This can include features such as lead and sales tracking, opportunities and pipelines, quotes and invoices, and more. Efficient sales pipeline management helps businesses close more deals and increase their total revenue.
Marketing departments can use cloud CRMs to automate their marketing campaigns. This includes email marketing, social media campaigns, and targeted ads. Most CRMs will track marketing KPIs, such as open and click-through rates, to help businesses measure the success of their campaigns.
Cloud CRMs also offer automation features to help businesses streamline their processes. This includes features such as automatic task assignments, alerts and notifications, and document management. This form of automation helps companies to save time and increase efficiency.
A key function of any CRM is to help businesses provide better customer support. Cloud CRMs include features such as ticketing systems, live chat, and knowledge bases. This allows businesses to manage customer support requests in one place and provide faster, more efficient service.
Cloud CRMs also include features that help businesses forecast future sales based on data such as historical sales data, current pipeline data, and more. Sales forecasting helps companies to plan for future growth and make better decisions about resource allocation.
Analysis & reporting
Cloud CRM analytics and reporting features give businesses insights into their customer behaviour data. This helps businesses uncover behaviour trends, identify sales opportunities, enhance marketing campaigns, and optimise sales funnels.
The Benefits of Cloud-Based CRMs
Many businesses now prefer to use cloud computing solutions, as they offer several advantages over traditional CRM software. Even if you run a small business, you can still stand to benefit from a cloud CRM application. Here are some of the key advantages of cloud-based CRMs.
One of the biggest advantages of cloud CRM software is that it’s much easier to set up and use. With in-house CRM software, businesses must install it on their local servers. This can be a complex and time-consuming process, requiring the help of IT professionals. Cloud CRMs, on the other hand, can be up and running in just a few minutes. All you need is an Internet connection — there’s no need to install any additional software or hardware.
As your business grows, it can be challenging to keep up with the demand on your local servers. The best cloud-based CRM providers will allow you to scale their services up and down as required. With a cloud-based CRM application, you can simply add more users or increase your storage capacity with a few clicks in most cases. This makes it much easier for your business to grow without having to worry about your CRM keeping up with you.
Lower upfront costs
Cloud CRM software is usually more affordable than its on-premise counterparts and requires a minimal upfront investment. Because you don’t need to install any software or hardware, and the CRM vendor typically prices their cloud solutions on a per-user basis, it can be a more cost-effective option for businesses of all sizes.
Your employees are no longer tied to the office with a flexible cloud solution. As the number of businesses choosing to operate a remote business model in the wake of the global pandemic continues to rise, this has become an even more important consideration. Cloud CRMs give employees the flexibility to work from anywhere, which can be a huge advantage for businesses with remote workers.
It might seem counterintuitive, but a cloud CRM can actually offer improved data security. An on-premise solution will store your data on your local servers, meaning if your servers experience a breach, your customer database is at risk. Maintaining the security of your on-premises CRM requires an investment in security infrastructure and personnel, which is particularly challenging for small businesses.
A cloud solution will store your most sensitive data in the cloud on servers managed by a far larger team of security professionals. This means in many cases, your business data is actually more secure in the cloud than it would be on your own premises.
Reduced IT burden
Maintaining an in-house CRM can be a costly and time-consuming endeavour. With cloud platforms, however, most of the IT burden shifts to the cloud CRM company. This can lead to significant reductions in IT costs for the business owner. It also means your IT team can spend less time maintaining your CRM solution and more time working on other projects to help your business grow.
With advances in mobile technology, your employees are no longer tied to their desktops in order to access your CRM. Many cloud CRM providers have started to develop mobile apps that enable workers to access their platforms using mobile devices. This allows sales teams on the road to update customer records in real-time and customer service teams to resolve issues quickly, even if they’re outside the office.
Cloud-based solutions make it easy for employees to collaborate, no matter where they are. With traditional on-premise CRM solutions, company personnel often have to be in the same location to access the same data. With a cloud-based solution, however, staff can collaborate on projects in real-time, no matter where they are. This leads to better efficiency and productivity for businesses of all sizes.
Cloud-based CRM software integrates seamlessly with other applications. In many cases, they can even integrate with just a few clicks. In comparison, many traditional CRM platforms require significant customisations to achieve the same level of integration. This can lead to higher costs and longer implementation timelines.
Reliable disaster recovery
Sometimes, the unthinkable happens. With a non-cloud CRM tool, you could lose all your data if your servers become damaged due to a natural disaster or some other event such as a flood or a fire. However, when you opt for cloud-based software, the provider will store your customer and business data across multiple servers in different locations. If they lose one server, your essential data will remain safe and sound.
Leverage The Cloud for Improved Customer Experience
Whether you run a small business or a large enterprise, cloud-based CRM software can be a game-changer. By leveraging the power of the cloud, sales and marketing teams reap the rewards of greater productivity, higher customer satisfaction, and streamlined workflows and business processes.
Implementing a cloud-based CRM can be a smooth and easy process with the right provider. So if you’re interested in enhancing your customer interactions and relationships, consider switching to a CRM delivered via the cloud.