What is a Cloud-based Customer Relationship Management Software?
I will introduce the basics of CRM, the types of CRM software, and the features of the latest mainstream cloud-based CRM software for those interested in CRM but are still hesitant to try it.
Many people know the meaning of the word customer relationship management (CRM) somehow. But when it comes to explaining it in detail, they are at a loss for words.
First of all, to deepen the understanding of CRM, let's review the difference from SFA, which you often heard in combination with CRM.
- CRM: The difference between CRM and SFA
- Functions of a customer relationship management system
- Cloud-based and on-premise CRM software
- 4 Cloud-based CRM tools
CRM: The difference between CRM and SFA
As you consider how to manage your customers, the technical terms CRM and SFA will appear. There is a difference between these two terminologies, and the effect you want will change your options to consider using them.
The easy-to-understand difference between the two is what is the system that manages it.
- CRM: Data related to customers who use products and services
- SFA: Data related to the company's sales department, sales representatives, and customers
CRM stands for customer relationship management, which has the most basic functions of managing a large amount of detailed customer information and customer relationships.
The customer database in any company records quantitative data such as the company name, department name, and the person in charge's name. However, in CRM, qualitative data such as the purpose of the purchase, orientation, and needs are included and managed as customer attributes. CRM also registers information on purchased products/services, purchase performance such as transaction volume and amount, and room for expansion such as frequency, budget, and expected purchases in the next fiscal year. The role of CRM is to accumulate this information, share it internally, and analyze it to improve customer satisfaction.
On the other hand, the official name of SFA is Sales Force Automation. SFA as a sales support system includes, for example, a predictive management function that compares budgets and actuals to see the achievement rate and achievement status, a project management function that grasps the progress of each project, and the function to record and report sales activities.
The role of SFA is to strengthen the sales force by seamlessly connecting the entire sales process and visualizing sales activities and operations to eliminate omissions and omissions.
If you want to focus on the customer first, consolidate information, collect and analyze customer needs, and review and improve product development and service provision, you should consider implementing a customer relationship management system rather than SFA. However, these days, many CRMs are equipped with SFA functions. So, take this into account when considering the best CRM system for your company.
Functions of a customer relationship management system
The basis of a customer relationship management system is the aggregation of customer information, and the great benefit is the visualization of detailed customer information. By consolidating customer information (from attribute information such as company name to behavioral history information such as usage history), it becomes possible to visualize each customer's situation and utilize it for business purposes.
By doing so, not only will it be easier to take action on customers, but it will also be possible to grasp values and preferences from various histories stored in the customer management system and provide customized services.
Cloud-based and on-premise CRM software
When implementing a customer relationship management system, you may see two types of the same product: cloud-based and on-premise. There is a big difference between the two, and the one you can use depends on your company's security policy and infrastructure environment development policy.
Characteristics of cloud-based CRM software
The cloud-based system does not require you to have your servers like the on-premise system. The construction of the customer relationship management system is done entirely within the vendor that provides the service. Users only access websites provided by vendors through the Internet and use the features of the application.
Users can focus on how to use and use the service. And since there is no need to think about managing or operating servers, and there is no need to build a system, it is possible to significantly reduce initial costs and the preparation time to use it.
In the past, security was often cited as an issue when using cloud CRM. But recently, there are cloud CRM tools that use the world's most stable AWS environment and have acquired third-party certifications for security and safety to improve safety. Financial institutions are also moving to the cloud. In recent years, cloud-based CRM tools are becoming the norm, as some financial institutions are moving to the cloud.
Summary of cloud-based CRM software
Cloud-based CRM software allows you to focus on using the CRM because you can always use the latest software functions and leave the system management and maintenance to the vendor. Also, the implementation cost is relatively low, and the implementation speed is fast.
Characteristics of on-premise CRM software
On-premise CRM means that the physical server used for the system is purchased, installed, and managed by the company. Then, when building a customer relationship management system, the software is installed and set up on the server purchased by the company and made available for use.
Therefore, to use the on-premises type, it is necessary to purchase customer management system software, purchase servers, secure installation locations, and even manage servers and respond to failures after using the system. However, there is no monthly fee to purchase a license.
It also differs from cloud computing in that you can purchase a license once and continue using the software. While using a CRM in the cloud requires you to pay a monthly fee to the service provider, an installable CRM does not have an expiration date and does not require you to pay a monthly license fee.
On the other hand, when you upgrade the software due to functional enhancements, you may have to purchase a new license again, depending on the software.
Since all the information stored in the customer management system is stored on the server in-house, there is no need to care about information leakage or specification changes by other companies, making it easier to ensure security. On the other hand, to manage servers in-house, it is necessary to secure a data center for servers and maintain an operational system that can respond to failures.
Summary of on-premise CRM software
Compared to cloud-based CRM software, on-premise CRM software requires more cost and time to implement, but it is also highly customizable.
As you can see, both cloud-based and on-premise CRM software have their advantages and disadvantages. But recently, with the improvement of cloud security and changes in corporate policies, cloud-based CRM software is becoming more mainstream.
4 Cloud-based CRM tools
Hubspot is a free CRM tool. It has a wide range of features useful for both sales and marketing professionals.
Functions that support sales include:
- Sales progress management against sales targets
- Contact information management
- Task management for each sales meeting
It can be used to share the status of negotiations within a team and organize data.
In addition, there is a full range of functions to streamline the work of marketers, such as the creation of landing pages and chatbots and bulk emailing.
Freshsales Suite is a CRM that covers a wide range of useful functions for customer management, from checking customer information to visualizing the degree of prospecting.
Based on the data in the CRM, you can visualize and rank the degree of potential for each customer.
It is also possible to send notifications to customers who have already signed a contract when the likelihood of cancellation increases. This tool enables comprehensive customer management that not only increases the closing rate by efficiently approaching high-potential customers, but also suppresses churn.
Microsoft Dynamics 365
For a company to grow, it needs to both acquire new customers and repeat business with existing customers.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps you find potential customers as well as manage customer relationships, sell, understand customer needs, and provide customer support to prevent existing customers from leaving your company. The product offers three main functions
- Standard intelligence to help close deals
- AI to optimize customer relationship management and support relationship building.
- Increased Productivity with Dynamics 365 and Office 365 Integration
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has a similar interface to Microsoft Office and can be integrated with Outlook and Excel, making it easy for business people to use.
- CRM with a variety of functions for data integration, customer relationship building, and internal management using AI.
- Improved sales capabilities by utilizing AI insights, including various analyses based on accumulated data.
- Integration with many services and Office365 is also possible.
- Multi-functional sales solution enables technological innovation.
If managed by someone who is not involved in sales analysis on a regular basis, it may not be possible to fully utilize the abundant functions, so consider this carefully before implementation.
Zoho CRM's advanced system centrally manages communications conducted via email, telephone, SNS, chat tools, etc., and measures customer behavior and assigns interests based on various data.
- It provides real-time analysis and reporting of sales and sales processes.
- Sales forecasting and improvement measures proposal by AI.
- Flexible integration with various tools such as Outlook, Twitter, Google, etc.
By making full use of these functions, you can automate customer management and routine tasks and concentrate on sales approaches. An overwhelming number of functions, yet at a low price. Registration is completely free, and a 15-day free trial is available for all plans. This tool is recommended for those who want to automate operations and increase sales at the same time.
- Cloud (SaaS) support
- Customer management function
- Inquiry management function
- Dashboard function
- Prospective customer management function
- Simultaneous mail delivery function
- Customer information de-duplication
- Customized report settings
- Smartphone application (iOS) support
- Smartphone application (Android) support
The system you should choose depends on whether you want to manage customer information or sales activities within your company. So if you need to manage customer information, you should consider implementing a customer relationship management system (CRM).
As cloud-based systems have become the mainstream among customer relationship management systems, the hurdles to implementing such CRM systems are gradually decreasing now. And the number and types of companies implementing such CRM systems are on the rise. If you are not yet serious about CRM, why don't you first clarify your company's issues and apply for a free demo of a tool you are interested in or attend a seminar or study session?