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What is CRM?
A customer relationship management (CRM) solution makes it easier to manage your business' interactions with your customers and leads within an organized interface. CRMs makes it easier to connect with your prospects and leads. This is especially important in our ever changing business world where how your customers get their information and ultimately communicate is constantly evolving. Easily keep track of your contact's calls, emails, live chats, service requests and more within your CRM. This is crucial in larger organizations where multiple employees are talking to a customer or lead. It's crucial so you are providing current, accurate information to your customers and leads each time you speak with them.
There's a lot of things that can make or break CRM hosting, but some of the absolute most essential elements include:
1) Mobile Friendly - because salespeople can be road warriors and need to access up to the minute information before a face to face meeting.
2) 24x7x365 Availability - again because the sales team, management and finance management will want access anywhere, anytime.
3) Performance - no one wants to wait for pages to load. Speed makes or breaks a CRM system.
4) Management & Support - the system needs to be operational, with minimal downtime, and any issues quickly resolved by someone at the web host.
5) Backups - without a backup that can be restored easily, you're risking the entire sales operation, which is a ridiculous risk to take.
6) Choice - different CRM's have varying strengths, so you need a selection of choices to find the perfect one to fit your company and situation.
7) Smooth Upgrades - when you grow, it must be no big deal to upgrade your plan - no downtime, no headaches, no excuses.
What is Cloud CRM?
Simply put, cloud CRM (or CRM cloud) is a customer relationship management system that is completely hosted in the cloud. Customer data is stored securely and is accessible through the Internet.
Most companies have migrated CRM technology to the cloud as it is flexible and cost-effective. Users can easily access CRM applications through web-based tools or browsers. Team members of an organization can log in to the CRM software from anywhere in the world, from any Internet-enabled device.
Benefits of Cloud-Based CRM Technology
Cloud-based CRM software enables organizations to provide customers an exceptional experience. They offer integrated functionality and features that allow businesses to compete effectively and retain clients. Here are some significant benefits of cloud CRM systems:
Cloud CRM solutions are incredibly user-friendly and navigable. They have simple drag-and-drop interfaces, interactive dashboards, and intuitive applications. This makes it easy for new users to embrace technology and use all the features to their advantage.
Cloud-based CRM applications are accessible from anywhere - this increases mobility and keeps teams connected remotely. Since most CRM software is highly mobile-friendly, sales teams can access contact information on-the-move!
3) Seamless Installation
With cloud CRM software, organizations do not need to worry about complicated installation processes and technical glitches. All that is required is a stable internet connection - there is no requirement to pay for external servers, maintenance, or hardware components.
Security is a crucial concern for cloud-based CRM service providers. Automated back-up policies and data recovery plans ensure that there is no chance of any data loss or theft. Password protection, data encryption, and two-factor authentication further ensure data security in cloud CRM systems.
There is no concept of one-size-fits-all in CRM technology. Organizations can customize cloud CRM software to meet their business requirements. Most service providers allow companies to purchase additional modules, features, and business modules as they grow, making it a flexible solution.
6) Third-party Integrations
CRM software can easily integrate with existing applications that organizations already use for routine workflow. This helps in the smooth exchange of data, task continuity, and enhances visibility across the entire sales pipeline.
7) Cost Savings
A cloud CRM solution is a long term investment that reaps tangible benefits. It saves time by automating repetitive tasks, and this leaves team members free to focus on core sales activities, ultimately generating higher revenue.
Cloud-based CRM solutions are scalable. Hence they can accommodate the needs of your growing business. Most service vendors allow organizations to purchase additional modules so that you only pay for required features and functionality.
9) Anytime Availability
Cloud CRM ensures that customers can get in touch with support agents at any time of their convenience. It enhances accessibility broadly, which ultimately leads to better customer service and higher satisfaction.
Cloud CRMs are affordable as service vendors provide various pricing packages. It is a one-time investment that leads to long-term results and can be afforded even by startups and small businesses.
A CRM system gives everyone — from sales, customer service, business development, recruiting, marketing, or any other line of business — a better way to manage the external interactions and relationships that drive success. A CRM tool lets you store customer and prospect contact information, identify sales opportunities, record service issues, and manage marketing campaigns, all in one central location — and make information about every customer interaction available to anyone at your company who might need it.
With visibility and easy access to data, it's easier to collaborate and increase productivity. Everyone in your company can see how customers have been communicated with, what they’ve bought, when they last purchased, what they paid, and so much more. CRM can help companies of all sizes drive business growth, and it can be especially beneficial to a small business, where teams often need to find ways to do more with less.
Here’s why CRM matters to your business.
CRM is the largest and fastest-growing enterprise application software category, and worldwide spending on CRM is expected to reach USD $114.4 billion by the year 2027. If your business is going to last, you need a strategy for the future that’s centered around your customers, and enabled by the right technology. You have targets for sales, business objectives, and profitability. But getting up-to-date, reliable information on your progress can be tricky. How do you translate the many streams of data coming in from sales, customer service, marketing, and social media monitoring into useful business information?
A CRM system can give you a clear overview of your customers. You can see everything in one place — a simple, customizable dashboard that can tell you a customer’s previous history with you, the status of their orders, any outstanding customer service issues, and more. You can even choose to include information from their public social media activity — their likes and dislikes, what they are saying and sharing about you or your competitors. Marketers can use a CRM solution to manage and optimize campaigns and lead journeys with a data-driven approach, and better understand the pipeline of sales or prospects coming in, making forecasting simpler and more accurate. You’ll have clear visibility of every opportunity or lead, showing you a clear path from inquiries to sales. Some of the biggest gains in productivity and in making a whole-company shift to customer-centricity can come from moving beyond CRM as just a sales and marketing tool, and embedding it in your business — from finance to customer services and supply chain management. This helps to ensure that customer needs are at the forefront of business process and innovation cycles.
Though CRM systems have traditionally been used as sales and marketing tools, customer service and support is a rising segment of CRM and a critical piece in managing a holistic customer relationship. Today’s customer might raise an issue in one channel — say, Twitter — and then switch to email or telephone to resolve it in private. A CRM platform lets you manage the inquiry across channels without losing track, and gives sales, service, and marketing a single view of the customer to inform their activities. The ability to connect these three functions, and the teams that deliver them, on one platform and with one view to the customer, is invaluable for delivering relevant, connected experiences.
Running a business without CRM can cost you real money.
More administration means less time for everything else. An active sales team can generate a flood of data. Reps are out on the road talking to customers, meeting prospects, and finding out valuable information — but all too often this information gets stored in handwritten notes, laptops, or inside the heads of your salespeople.
Details can get lost, meetings are not followed up on promptly, and prioritizing customers can be a matter of guesswork rather than a rigorous exercise based on data. And it can all be compounded if a key salesperson moves on. But it's not just sales that suffers without CRM.
Your customers may be contacting you on a range of different platforms — including phone, email, or social media — asking questions, following up on orders, or contacting you about an issue. Without a common platform for customer interactions, communications can be missed or lost in the flood of information, leading to a slow or unsatisfactory response.
Even if you do successfully collect all this data, you’re faced with the challenge of making sense of it. It can be difficult to extract intelligence. Reports can be hard to create, and they can waste valuable selling time. Managers can lose sight of what their teams are up to, which means that they can’t offer the right support at the right time — while a lack of oversight can also result in a lack of accountability from the team.
A customer relationship management (CRM) solution helps you find new customers, win their business, and keep them happy by organizing customer and prospect information in a way that helps you build stronger relationships with them and grow your business faster. CRM systems start by collecting a customer's website, email, telephone, and social media data — and more — across multiple sources and channels. It may also automatically pull in other information, such as recent news about the company's activity, and it can store personal details, such as a client's personal preferences on communications. The CRM tool organizes this information to give you a complete record of individuals and companies overall, so you can better understand your relationship over time.
With a consolidated view of every prospect and customer, a CRM system is then used to manage day-to-day customer activities and interactions. From a marketing perspective, this means engaging your prospects with the right message, at the right time, through targeted digital marketing campaigns and journeys. For sales, reps can work faster and smarter with a clear view of their pipeline and accomplish more accurate forecasting. Commerce teams can quickly launch and scale ecommerce — from online orders to curbside pickup — for their consumer shoppers (B2C commerce) and business buyers (B2B commerce). And customer service agents can respond to customer needs on any channel — from home, in the field, or in the office.
A CRM platform can also connect to other business apps that help you to develop customer relationships. CRM solutions today are more open and can integrate with your favorite business tools, such as document signing, accounting and billing, and surveys, so that information flows both ways to give you a true 360-degree view of your customer.
And a new generation of CRM goes one step further: Built-in intelligence and AI automate administrative tasks, like data entry and lead or service case routing, so you can free up time for more valuable activities. Automatically generated insights help you understand your customers better, even predicting how they will feel and act so that you can prepare the right outreach. AI also helps you to find opportunities that may be hidden in your business data.
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What is ERP?
ERP is an abbreviation for enterprise resource planning. ERP software provides a solution to help organizations control each section of their business all within a centralized and user-friendly interface. ERP helps with essential functions including product shipment, inventory management, marketing, sales, product planning and product assembly. The goal of ERP is ultimately to keep better track of all these business functions and ultimately drive down costs. ERP solutions are often viewed as expensive or inflexible. That's not always the case however.
Components of ERP Software
All cloud-based ERP software provides core financial and accounting functionality. From there, the types of modules or applications an organization chooses to implement depend on its industry and specific business needs. Available cloud ERP modules include:
Financials and accounting
Human capital management (HCM) and/or Human resource management software (HRMS)
Customer relationship management (CRM)
Supply chain management
Material requirements planning (MRP)
ERP stands for "Enterprise Resource Planning" and refers to software and systems used to plan and manage all the core supply chain, manufacturing, services, financial and other processes of an organization. Enterprise Resource Planning software can be used to automate and simplify individual activities across a business or organization, such as accounting and procurement, project management, customer relationship management, risk management, compliance and supply chain operations.
Individual ERP applications can offer software as a service (SaaS), while a complete suite of ERP applications forms an ERP system that can be used to effectively communicate and bring together business processes to enable a flow of data between the applications, typically through common databases either on-site/on-premise or in the cloud.
ERPs connect every aspect of an enterprise. An ERP software system allows for better performance and project management that helps plan, budget, predict and accurately report on an organization’s financial health and processes.
The main purpose of an ERP system is to increase organizational efficiency of an organization by managing and improving how company resources are utilized. Improving and/or reducing the number of resources necessary without sacrificing quality and performance are keys to effectively improving business growth and profitability.
ERP systems typically cover all aspects of business operations and commonly provide:
- An integrated system
- Common database
- Real-time operation
- Support for all applications/components
- Common user interface across application/components
- On-premise, cloud hosted, or SaaS deployment
ERP software has the ability to collect and compare metrics across departments and provide a number of different reports based on roles or specific user preferences. The data collected makes finding and reporting on data faster and gives a complete view of business performance with complete insights on how resources are being spent.
ERP synchronizes reporting and automation by reducing the need to maintain separate databases and spreadsheets that would have to be manually merged to generate reports. This combined data collection and reporting offers valuable insight, such as where to cut costs and streamline processes, providing the information to make real-time business decisions.
ERP systems are used to help businesses of all sizes overcome challenges—from small businesses to massive enterprises. Early business practices may no longer keep up with growing demand and require more efficient business tools, like ERP, to effectively manage a business’ systems and resources.
ERP software systems provide many benefits to the health and growth of a business.
The Benefits and Business Value of ERP
- Cost savings and improved ROI efficiency. Increased productivity and efficiency as a result from the integration and automation that ERP software provides
- Improve business insight. Improve decision making with a single aggregated source of truth and real-time data
- Manage Regulatory Compliance. Manage and monitor compliance with regulatory standards, and even set up alerts for non-compliance
- Mitigate and reduce risk. Automate core business operations, manual tasks, and reporting. Reduce human errors, and free up employee time and resources
- Enhance collaboration. Break down communication barriers for efficient collaboration and coordination to improve job efficiency.
Improve supply chain and distribution network reliability. Use demand-driven MRP to forecast supply and demand and prepare for fluxes in orders and supply chain
- Scalability. Consistent infrastructure for streamlined operations can grow as your business grows
- Optimize customer and partner management. service, customer relationship management, as well as partner and supplier management with insight from seamless shared information