- Data security – depending on the types of data your CRM uses, the level of security required can vary. On- premise CRM offers the highest level of data security over the cloud
- Ease of accessibility – cloud CRM can be accessed easily from anywhere
- Cost – cloud is much more cost efficient than installing on- premise, which is why more small businesses choose this option
- Integration with other systems – if you need to integrate with existing ERP systems then on premise would fit the bill”
Not all Customer Relationship Management software (CRMs) are created equal. And, that’s okay, because not all businesses have the same needs. In the last year, The Miller Group went through its own torturous CRM evaluation process, so we truly the hours you and your client management team can spend stuck in a quagmire of demo calls, trying to differentiate among services, evaluating costs, and wondering whether the interface is as intuitive as it seems. We’ve found that before you reach out to any CRM solution, you should find a point of view: enter the process with a clear definition of why you’re looking for a CRM, the goals you want to reach; and the plan to achieve them. If you’re not prepared to answer those questions, every CRM will look like a good fit, because each CRM provider is going to highlight their strengths. So, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, you won’t know what to ask for. Answering these not-so-simple questions can help determine which CRM is best for your business: Who is your customer and what are their preferences? Remember that CRMs are Customer Relationship Management software. The purpose is not to help you better manage your database of contacts; it’s to better understand, and communicate with, your customers. Conduct some light qualitative, and quantitative research to find what channels of communication work best for your customers – is it newsletters, chat, text or phone calls? When you understand what your customer wants, your list of needed functionalities narrows. What is your overall growth strategy and milestones? What are you trying to accomplish- long term and short term- as a business? The answer to this question should lead to some functionality requirements, either in analytics or communication. Are you focusing on tradeshows to build your business? Look for a CRM with robust marketing automation capabilities to optimize your booth attendance. Are you looking for more investors? Make sure your CRM has advanced analytics so that you’re prepared to report on the “health” of your business – what’s your average open rate? How old is your customer? What’s their average spend per purchase? What business tools are you currently using? Making a list of the suite of tools you’re currently using (MailChimp, Visual Visitor, GoogleSheets) and their capabilities will help you assess what you can streamline with a CRM. Use these questions about each tool: What do you use it for? (not what are its capabilities, what does your team use the tool for?) Is this tool useful in reaching your strategic goals? Are there any gaps or redundancies in your suite of tools? Do you want this tool to integrate with your CRM? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re prepared to start talking to CRM providers, and attending software demos. But, there are additional characteristics that matter to your business. To gain an expert opinion, we reached out to April Folger, Director of Data Analytics at McKesson Health Solutions. April has plenty of experience with CRMs, at one point, helping develop an in-house CRM solution for a client of ours. What are the pros and cons of cloud-based versus on- premise CRM software? “It seems that data of all types are being moved to the cloud and CRM platforms are no exception. There are several items to keep in mind when determining whether cloud based or on- premise CRM is right for your organization.