What is CRM Software? Guide to Key Business Technology
Software that manages customer relationships (CRM) helps businesses and organizations improve communication with customers and prospects. You can choose from an open-source, cloud-based or on-premise solution depending on your business requirements. This article will discuss the functions of a CRM system and […]
Software that manages customer relationships (CRM) helps businesses and organizations improve communication with customers and prospects. You can choose from an open-source, cloud-based or on-premise solution depending on your business requirements. This article will discuss the functions of a CRM system and provide examples of how it is used in different business operations.
Did You Know? A CRM solution may be classified as an operational, collaborative, or analytical one. Read our article about the different types CRM to gain a better understanding of each category and their best uses.
How CRM Software Works
CRM software pulls information from your website, social media and emails. This information is organized and stored in one database, which can be accessed by everyone within your company. A few CRMs are able to analyze data and identify patterns that can be used to improve sales or forecast future trends. This is reason why you should use a CRM to improve collaboration and efficiency throughout your organization.
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CRM features can vary from one vendor to the next, and each vendor has different plans. Some platforms offer only sales tools while others provide marketing features. You can also find all-in-one options that will help you manage and improve every aspect of your CRM process.
Research shows that CRMs combine marketing, sales and automation features to help businesses target customers, increase customer access, and reduce the sales cycle. Stellaxius reports that overall CRM usage increased from 56% to 74% in 2018, according to Stellaxius . A 2020 HubSpot Report showed that 61% of high-performing leaders used CRM to automate their sales processes.
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Are you looking for a CRM solution? These CRM statistics can assist you in making your purchase decision.
Click through the tabs below to see examples of what a CRM does in these business practices.
Bitrix24 call center contacts page (Source: Bitrix24 )
Bitrix24 is an integrated contact center software that allows for inbound and outsidebound calls, call recording and interactive voice response (IVR), as well as phone number rental. You can also generate call reports, route calls and track customer interactions.
In our guide to the best Contact Management Software, you can find out about other CRM options that are great for managing contact information.
Different types of CRM Technology
Choosing a CRM solution requires that you consider several factors. You will need to consider the size of your company, the budget of your company, the amount of customization you require, and whether third-party vendors have access to your data. Below are some examples of CRM technologies that may be suitable for your business.
The basic features of a cloud-based CRM are
- External networks store data
- Subscribe monthly or annually
- Vendor supervises maintenance and installation
Also known as software-as-a-service (SaaS) or on-demand CRM, the cloud-based system stores your data in a remote network that your employees can access anytime, anywhere. The provider will also manage the maintenance and deployment of the system. This means that you can only oversee the CRM adoption, and give access to your employees to the app. As long as they have an internet connection, they can access customer data and open it.
Cloud-based CRM systems can be considered more affordable because you don’t have to spend a lot for a license. Subscription fees are all that’s required. Many CRM providers include basic support and maintenance services as part of their subscription fees. You can upgrade to a higher pricing level if you need to grow your business.
A cloud-based CRM system has a few drawbacks. Because users have access to the same features and plans, there are fewer customization options than an on-premise CRM system. Cloud storages can be hacked by anyone outside your company.
Some of the most popular cloud-based CRM providers include Salesforce and Zoho.
The basic features of an on-premise CRM are
- Infrastructure, setup, configuration, training
- User license – one-time payment
- Even offline, can be accessed
A company must purchase a license to install an on-premise CRM on its servers. You have full control over the installation, training of employees, maintenance and security of data. The vendor will provide technical support if necessary. This system doesn’t require an internet connection to access the database.
An on-premise CRM system gives you complete control of the server but your company is responsible for any additional IT staff required to maintain it. You also have to pay for software and hardware maintenance, upgrades, compliance and offsite data backup services. This type of system generally requires more capital investment and is harder to scale.
Many popular CRM providers offer their software on-premise. These companies include Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics.
Open Source CRM
The basic features of an open-source CRM:
- Access to the basic source code is free
- Highly customizable
- Open source developers communities support
Open source CRM systems allow users to download the basic code and then customize it according to their needs. The modified software can be deployed to individual users or the entire company. You can also get support from open-source developers communities for bug fixes or troubleshooting.
Open source solutions have a few drawbacks. Open source CRMs are often not intuitive and visually appealing. The free source code only has a small number of core features, so it is worth paying for a more powerful system. You will also need to rely on the support of online communities as there are no customer service centres.