A successful business is the product of a hard working team that excels in customer service, making customers come back or never want to leave. Corporate history is full with stories about large companies that made their way to the top using old-fashion customer practices, but CRM is built for the growth across all sizes of business, small and large alike.
Even though CRM has evolved along with sales and marketing ideas, the main objective for a company who offers services is to provide a memorable experience to customers. While a small business grows, the manual methods don’t support this experience and become expensive and not manageable. The foundations for building scale in business are sensible and clearly defined practices wide adopted by company’s employees, efficiently executed using appropriate tools and monitored by management. This is when the Small & Mid-Size CRM comes in.
The adopters of this CRM system experience transformations in terms of attitude, business processes, and IT infrastructure. Some of this include problem solving as excessive cost implementations and high project failure rates. Some ideal solution attributes for CRM are:
Simplicity: Easy installation, maintenance and upgrade.
Scalability: Start small, scale up users and functionality as the needs arises.
Affordability: Low total cost of ownership (TCO).
Simple CRM: Web-based
Simplicity and Web-based goes together. The Web-based comes from the inexpensive, anytime, anywhere availability from the internet. Today this both are the preferred software architecture for CRM that is used to support e-business strategies. Web-based solutions lead to the following benefits:
- No implementation and maintenance on user machines; installation and customization on a central based CRM server brings savings of IT staff time and expense.
- Upgraded functionality can be rolled out to users at zero cost, as simple as emailing a URL to them.
- Integration with other applications easier and managed at the server end.
- Access to application extended to anyone with internet access, such as employees, external partners or suppliers.
- Simpler user interfaces and ease-of-use; low training cost
- Standards-based infrastructure
Scalability it’s a very popular term, but very misunderstood. It has two major dimension: The more common one refers to the number of users than can be supported simultaneously (User Scalability), and the less referred to the ability of a solution to accommodate increasing scope and complexity of CRM needs as the organization grows over time, (Functional Scalability). User Scalability is more easily solved by using suitable Web Architecture and standards-based technology. In other hand the Functional Scalability is the ability of a solution to evolve and continue to remain relevant for the company over a long period of time and making it important for the SMB segment.
No longer are companies willing to pay $4.000 to $10.000 per user for business applications. Comprehensive CRM functionality will be around $1.000 to $1.500 price points. These solutions have lower TCO because of their standards-based infrastructure, Web-based architecture, reduced integration requirements, and ease of use and training.
Small & Mid-Size businesses are very heterogeneous, and CRM benefits for this segment must be designed and delivered with a different approach that recognizes this characteristics. The key attributes that need to be present in a right-sized SMB solution are Simplicity, Scalability and Affordability. The solution architecture and functionality must allow an integration with conventional businesses and be suitable for a wide range if SMB requirements.