During the past decade the CRM industry has seen a consistent migration from desktop CRM solutions to CRM online. There are several technology and business changes that are driving this migration beginning with the growth of the mobile workforce. The economy has created an environment that often includes sales and service personnel who work from remote or home offices. In addition, many of these people travel quite a bit and require access to customer data while on the road. They are not tethered to a desktop PC like office personnel and as such, access to customer data can be very difficult.
Another challenge facing companies today is a lack of standardization. Unlike years ago where people standardized on desktop PCs running a Microsoft operating system, today’s workforce may be using Apple Macs, tablets or smartphones like an iPhone or Android device. New devices are entering the market every six months and people simply expect that they can use these devices to access their data. It’s not an unreasonable request but it’s much more difficult to achieve with desktop software than with CRM online systems that are designed to support remote data access.
Is desktop CRM dead? Of course not, because not every company has remote employees or requires remote access. In addition, many desktop database applications have been tailored to meet unique business requirements that CRM online solutions do not provide without additional programming. As the industry continues to evolve and new mobile devices enter the market it does appear that CRM online software programs will continue to be the solution of choice into the future.
There are a lot of frustrated users of online CRM solutions who perhaps have higher expectations than the typical low cost solutions can meet. Online CRM software is often marketed as “completely customizable” and many of them are, but to what degree? You can typically add a custom field or run ad-hoc reports. But you cannot modify the data input screens or relate one table to another like you can in more mature desktop CRM solutions.
Higher end online CRM solutions do offer more flexibility, but you either have to be a programmer in Java, .NET or PHP to make these customizations. One online CRM company that is taking a somewhat different approach to customization is Commence Corporation, makers of Commence CRM. Commence CRM provides the end user with a higher degree of customization by including customization features right within the product’s user interface.
For example, the dashboard is completely customizable by each user with a single click. End users can also create custom views of account and contact data, generate and save custom searches, build custom reports and relate data without creating new tables. These end user customizations are more in line with what end users expect from a customizable CRM solution. Commence plans to continue down this path which has served to be a significant differentiator between this online CRM solution and others at similar price points.
If you have been avoiding making the transition to online CRM software because the topic seems intimidating, then you should know that CRM applications are incredibly easy to use. Well, at least some of them are!
Online CRM, such as the software offered by Commence, has been designed to make it easy to analyze and control all areas of your business. This includes a wide variety of tasks, such as market research, forecasting future sales, customer follow-up, project evaluation and more.
Our Customer Software is Designed for the Busy Professional
Some people stay away from customer management software simply because they assume it will be too technical for them to use. They may think that it will take an entire weekend to find their way around the product so they are comfortable it. Commence is a lot different. Our web CRM has been designed for busy professionals, so the interface is easy to navigate, even for those who are not all that computer savvy.
If you have asked other people if seamless email integration is a feature you can expect to find in an online CRM, this answer was probably “No!” This is because it typically is not a feature included in every CRM, simply because it is not necessarily the easiest thing to integrate, nor is it cost effective to spend the time perfecting. This single feature is one of the primary things that distinguishes Commence from the rest.
Our Online CRM Includes Email Integration
Although most people will tell you to just forget about trying to find email integration included with an online CRM, we are here to tell you that you really can have it all. Commence was designed for the busy professional with a small business. We wanted to make sure that we designed a CRM product that would make your day a little easier; email integration certainly succeeds with that.
Also, it is so advanced that it not only works with the popular platforms like Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook, it also integrates flawlessly with Entourage for Apple Mac.
If you have been looking for an online CRM, you may have been surprised, disappointed — and even turned off — by the cost of some of them. Pricing on many of these solutions is realistically only affordable for larger corporations. Coincidentally, this is for whom these platforms are traditionally made, as well. Fortunately, there is a solution for you.
We Offer an Affordable Online CRM
Here at Commence, we are proud to say that our online CRM is made for a smaller business owner. Therefore, it is packed full of thoughtful features that you will actually use, and it is easy to navigate through. Above everything else, it is affordable. You should not have to break the bank to better your business, improve customer relations and get more organized. If you are looking for an affordable CRM solution that is easy to use, trust the name that others have turned to for more than two decades.
If you are the owner or operator of a small business, you’ve probably wondered if you really need customer management software – after all, you’ve gotten this far by relying on your current system. Well, CRM software might be the missing ingredient to helping you grow your business, streamline your workflow, and making your hectic life a little bit easier.
The most important aspect of any business is your customers, and a CRM will help you manage your customers contact information so that there’s no searching for their phone numbers or email addresses, you have it all in one place. It also allows you to record information such as contact times and dates and any notes or other information you need to access.
Another major benefit of adopting a CRM is that it makes sharing information amongst your employees much easier. A CRM online allows for remote access at all hours, so that you and your employees can work from home, work at night, or just save yourselves the trip to the main office to retrieve data. A CRM is an investment that can seem intimidating to a lot of small business owners that don’t have any resources to waste on unnecessary items, however it will pay for itself within a matter of months, and your life and the life of your employees will be better for it.
Does CRM Improve Business Performance?
Cloud based CRM software solutions are now a dime a dozen and despite the plethora of options available, small to mid-size businesses continue to struggle with realizing value from them. Sure the contact and account management features are being used and people are entering notes and history items. But when it comes to using CRM for lead management, sales opportunity management and marketing campaign management forget about it.
Why is this happening? Well there are a few reasons. First and foremost, smaller businesses do not have the maturity of larger organizations. They often lack mature business processes and experienced sales management to implement change. The failure comes not from the CRM software itself, but the inability to implement internal policies that effect change. Many small businesses I speak with don’t have a sales process. The sales staff makes calls every day and tries to sell a product or service. The successful ones are considered good salesmen, the unsuccessful ones are not. This seems pretty simple and a large number of small business executives simply accept this. Why? Because they don’t know better, but help is not far away and in fact may actually come from the CRM solution provider itself.
How Small Businesses Benefit from CRM
Companies like Commence Corporation have differentiated themselves by providing small businesses with not only a top rated online CRM solution, but couple this with a set of best practices for lead management, lead qualification and sales opportunity management. Commence CRM comes with a proven sales methodology built right into the CRM software that guides each sales representative through each stage of the selling cycle. The CRM software provides the sale team with a roadmap from introduction to closure making sure every sales opportunity is efficiently managed. The results are dramatic with customers reporting 20-30% increases in revenue.
Image “Sink or Swim” by John on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
Image “Life Preserver, Bondi” by Heather Champ on Flickr under Creative Commons license.
It does not matter if you are a new or established business, online CRM software will strengthen your customer relationships and make your job a lot easier. Some established owners feel that this software is only for new businesses because they don’t even want to think about inputting all of their essential data again. Fortunately, our software at Commence integrates effortlessly; this even includes email and QuickBooks, and it also works with Apple Mac computers in a mixed environment.
Then, there are new business owners who assume they do not have a need for such software yet and figure they will get it later when they do need it.
All Businesses Can Benefit From Our Online CRM Software
Unlike many other software that are designed solely for the larger and established company, our online CRM software is designed to accommodate the needs of a large variety of businesses. It is a versatile platform that is easy to use, so you will not have to spend your entire weekend just trying to navigate your way around so you can make better use of your time come Monday morning.
Hosted CRM seems to be the topic of conversation today in businesses of every size. Some wonder what it is, and if they need it while others question whether it can be as reliable as having a program stored on their hard drive.
Simply put, hosted CRM is stored online rather than your computer. It is completely secure and allows you to access information from anywhere. If you are wondering if a hosted platform can be as reliable as a traditional one, ask that question to anyone who has ever had their computer crash, or data stolen from their hard drive.
Is Hosted CRM Hard to Use?
Some people are intrigued by hosted CRM, but stay away from it because it seems a little intimidating. The truth of the matter is, the hosting has nothing to do with the difficulty level, and you don’t even need to fully understand how it works to make it work for you.
Here at Commence, we have designed our software to be user-friendly and focused toward the small business owner who does not have time to spend days finding their way around a platform. It offers a multitude of features, but each one is thoughtfully created in a way that allows you to make the most of it immediately.
You may think that the current system you use to manage your customers and other aspects of your business is getting you along just fine, but do you really want to be “fine?” CRM online allows you to integrate functional departments of your company with customer service and share data in real time. This means that any new development with a customer will always be current and available for the next person to review who is making contact.
CRM Online Makes Administrative Tasks Easier
Business owners and managers of small to medium-sized companies have a lot on their plate at all times. They often take on the responsibilities that several employees in a larger corporation would handle. Therefore, while they are interacting with customers, working on a marketing campaign and handling every other aspect of the business, paperwork often gets neglected until it turns into a monster swallowing the desk. CRM online eliminates the need for several programs or endless notepads. Plus, if you choose Commence, our product integrates with QuickBooks, so you can stay right in the same program, even if you are writing bills, processing payments or working on payroll.