Friday, March 16, 2012

Faster, Bigger, Better: Growing Your Business with Cloud-Based CRM

Cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) software provides businesses with flexibility for marketing, sales, and support teams. Because all of the company’s applications operate in the cloud—which is simply another term for the Internet—the applications can be accessed from anywhere. Sales teams may access CRM software in the office, from their Blackberry, or from a laptop at a remote location. Cloud-based CRM tools require only an Internet connection; each team member simply logs into their website and the applications instantaneously appear.

Cloud-based CRM applications allow business owners to automate functions such as lead generation, sales analysis, sales reports, sales forecasting, opportunity analysis, competitor analysis and other useful metrics. When these metrics are automated, salespeople may focus on relationship building, customer retention and customer loyalty. Cloud-based CRM saves the reps time, because the process is more efficient. Many businesses report saving 20 or more hours per week by automating tasks that were once completed manually. That time, of course, can be used to focus on closing the sale and getting new deals. Consequently, prospects are closed faster because managers recognize through reports how to allocate resources and funds to maximize profits. Companies waste less time pursuing opportunities that may never convert to a sale.
Cloud-based CRM applications allow salespeople to review the customer’s account before visiting them. By reviewing the data that is captured by these apps, salespeople can determine other products or services to offer the client based upon their current order, or offer them discounts based on current promotions. Additionally, they can predict problems that may occur in the sales process in the future.

CRM software also assists with customer support. Through the software, customer service tickets may be addressed, emails received and archived, and sales activity tracked. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and knowledge bases may also be integrated in order to provide solutions for common problems. Customers may be allowed to view these features by setting up a special login in access for customers. This will allow customers limited access to the data. Sales and purchase orders may also be processed through the software.
Goodman Jones is a chartered accountants company in the United Kingdom that utilizes cloud-based CRM products to retain customers and reduce costs. The company chose this platform for its security, reasonable cost, collaborative efforts, and for being maintenance and installation free. Since the company is an international organization, they needed an architecture that included both multiple languages and currencies. The cloud-based CRM they chose possessed each of these features. Because they have clients in Dubai and Ireland, they need to be able to connect to their clients from any location around the world. Cloud-based CRM allowed them to accomplish this goal, whereas traditional solutions did not.

Goodman Jones also created a blogging platform to allow their partners and directors to collaborate and discuss topics to improve the organization. The company created wikis for their clients and other instrumental social networking and communicating ideas. After the implementation of CRM software, the company became a finalist in the Accountancy Age Award for Best Use of the Internet by a Practice in 2008. This is a prime example of how CRM best practices and associated software can improve business.
Would you like to grow your business, and become bigger, better and faster? Cloud-based CRM is the ticket.