Cloud CRM Solutions – It would be a trite banality to state that cloud CRM brings major cost savings with it; but as it is with so many truths that “stare you in the face”, how true is this one? True, to a large extent, particularly for smaller businesses that can save on all the assorted IT costs concomitant with having on-site CRM.
But how accurate have the calculations been? Over time, many businesses have realized that as they grow so do the costs with cloud CRM solutions. Consider the following costs and think if your business has factored them in its cost-benefit analysis – subscription fees, software integration fees, upgrade fees, data storage charges, mobility costs, and service charges. What will these costs be for your business five years for now given its present growth rate and how does that cost compare with the cost of having an on-premise CRM? For example, NetSuite CRM costs more than $1500 / year per user. Can it even be an option for a small business that employs say thirty five people and wants all of them to have user access?
While it may be true that most businesses are currently interested in using sales force automation as offered by online CRM; expansion to the use of other modules is inevitable.
It is worth remembering that the technology is not new, the delivery model is. No, I’m not saying that this is old wine in a new bottle. Ease of configuration and accessibility are big pluses. Anywhere access is indeed a big plus. It helps in real-time data updates and decision making.
When appraising cloud CRM solutions check if the provider allows downgrades; will make a big difference to your monthly expenses and overall benefits that you can extract from CRM in the cloud. It is not uncommon for small businesses to get drawn in by the range of functionality and the myriad apps that cloud CRM solutions offer. But in time, you realize that you are not making optimum use of the facilities on offer even though you are paying for them. The money can be better utilized, for instance you can sign up more employees for user access. This can add real value to the CRM chain in your company.
Here is some food for thought for those of you that may be considering a shift to CRM in the cloud:
Cloud CRM Solutions Tips
- Begin by giving free online CRM a try but don’t stay too long with it. Your decision making has to be quick. For the simple reason that in case you make the decision to switch to a paid model, it will involve data migration and you don’t want to be doing a lot of it, because it attracts cost. Make full use of the trial period, because that gives a feel for what you’ll be working with for a long time.
- Question the vendor about all the costs that you can think of. It’s a hard fact that there may be hidden costs which vendors may not be upfront about; and these will keep giving you small shocks every now and then. Ask about costs associated with adding extra fields to databases. As mentioned above, the cost of importing data will vary with the amount of data and the format from which it is to be imported. What is the total time required for implementing the system? Your time too is money, ask how much of it will you need to invest in order to get the web-based CRM up and running?
- Finally do not forget to ask about what the exit barriers are; what if you wish to move on to another vendor’s product? What are the costs associated with that.
That’s all for Cloud CRM Solutions – Thougts on Considerations.
You might also like:
How Can Cloud Applications Make Small Businesses Successful? http://www.thinkaboutcrm.com/cloud-applications-for-small-businesses
CRM eBook: Powerful Customer Relationship Management for Small Business http://www.thinkaboutcrm.com/crm-ebook-powerful-customer-relationship-management-small-business
How Can Small Business Benefit from a Change in their CRM Strategy? http://www.thinkaboutcrm.com/how-can-small-business-benefit-change-their-crm-strategy