The only way to effectively build a customer base is by identifying and understanding the needs of each customer. In order to succeed in doing this, all customer interaction must have some type of tractability and meaningful tools to evaluate the data.
Recent advancements in online contact management software technology, CRM, have given business owners the ability to meet both of those objectives with a reliable web based CRM software option.
An effective web based contact management system will provide all the necessary features a business needs to stay on top of its customer base.
Those features need enough flexibility to offer businesses the ability to customize its CRM system based on its specific business model.
Ultimately, a web-based CRM solution has to be a value adding component in the business’ arsenal. Any business that can implement its webcrm and use that tool to its full potential is going to be positioned to improve its sales figures and customer retention numbers.
Best Cloud CRM Providers
Meaningful online CRM reviews must evaluate each provider based on its product’s features, flexibility, price and ease of use. Based on those criteria, here are a few of the best cloud CRM providers on the market.
With simplicity as one of the company’s major objectives, Oracle provides a dynamic option for smaller companies with a focus on sales and customer service.
For its customers, the company has designed a user interface that is both logical and very easy to use. The product provides fully integrated sales, marketing and customer service modules. One of the primary benefits of this solution is the powerful analysis tools that are available. These tools are flexible and can be used to develop customized reports.
At a price of $70-$120 per user, the product is ideal for budget conscious customers.
- Reporting capabilities allow customers to make use of over 40 stock reports, or develop their own using the software’s easy-to-understand report writer.
- Navigating through the sales module has been made easy, requiring only a click or two to reach the most relevant data
- Hosting options include both a “multi-tenant” and “single-tenant” options
- Batch processing of data prevents access to real-time data.
- Compared to other CRM providers, the feature set is somewhat limited, which might be problematic for larger companies
For larger companies that require a feature-rich CRM solution, SalesForce is one of the best solutions.
The user interface is not the easiest to navigate, but the payoff comes in the form of available data and flexibility. The company provides businesses with strong capabilities related to customer interaction. The product also allows businesses a great deal of latitude if they wish to customize the oft complicated interface.
One of the best features is real-time mobile app access that allows users to effectively use the software from any location using iOS, Android or Windows Phone.
- The customer tracking capabilities are powerful, allowing for in-depth sales-targeting and marketing strategies
- The software’s flexibility allows for easy customization of each module.
- Pricing plans are complicated and often amongst the highest in the industry.
- The marketing module is lacking in integration and options compared to other providers.
SAP Business ByDesign
SAP has designed its product with a focus on mid-sized companies.
Through an easy-to-use interface, users can easily manipulate data and perform extensive analysis. The software has one of the stronger marketing modules in the industry, which allows clients to develop efficient, cost-saving marketing programs.
The site also allows customers to effectively use social media for customer service interaction and tracking. As one of the largest CRM providers, customers benefit from economies of scale with the pricing, which remains very competitive.
- Real-time processing allows users to make customer service and sales decisions based on constantly changing information.
- With one of the best marketing modules in the industry, customers are able to create unique and effective marketing campaigns
- When ever the company begins a version update, the process seems to take too much time and not go very smoothly.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM
One of the most immediate advantages of using any one of Microsoft’s platforms is the ability to integrate with many of the other Microsoft products.
Microsoft is a master at developing software that has a logical workflow, and this product in no different. The ability to accumulate, access and interpret customer data is particularly strong in the latest update.
The combination of a feature-rich environment and the ability to customize those features make the overall CRM experience rewarding and beneficial to the end-users.
- Ability to integrate reporting with Excel and PowerPivot gives the user flexibility as to how they can use data.
- Customers have a large variety of hosting options, all at very reasonable prices.
- Microsoft still hasn’t figured out how to integrate social media into its product line.
- Microsoft continues to accommodate Outlook users, forcing other format users to seek third-party solutions in order to use the company’s CRM
Choosing the Proper CRM Provider
No matter what a company’s goals may be, there is a CRM solution available for any situation.
A budget-minded company will most likely benefit more by using the cloud environment as opposed to bringing an IT solution in-house.
A company that requires heavy customer support will want to focus on CRM providers with robust customer service modules.
If sales people spend a lot of time away from the office, a CRM that offers real-time mobile access is the best solution.
These are all specific business tasks that must be considered before making a decision.
The process of choosing the most appropriate web-based CRM provider begins with identifying one’s business needs and goals. With so many options to consider, the task of choosing one provider may seem daunting. If that’s the case, there are several quality providers that offer a great deal of design flexibility.