Hosted CRM FAQ

Updated: April 30, 2009

What are the benefits of a hosted solution?

A hosted solution can offer the following benefits:

  • Helps companies move into the call center quickly
  • Saves the time of installing and troubleshooting a new system
  • Is already tried and tested by other clients
  • Doesn't require additional staff to implement and maintain
  • Offers extensive features at a lower price than an on-site solution
  • Can help the call center increase its ROI (return on investment) by increasing efficiency and helping a business better measure its successes and potential weaknesses

What are the disadvantages to a hosted CRM product?

The potential downsides to a hosted solution aren't to be ignored. For the benefits of rapid deployment and cost savings, business must sacrifice an extra layer of granular control and customization of the product. Additionally, a hosted solution requires a third party to maintain databases of company and customer information, which can create privacy concerns.

What features are essential?

Think carefully about what kind of CRM product you're looking for — are you managing sales lists, making a certain number of calls per day and evaluating your sales agents on their ability to close a sale? If so, you'll need strong outgoing-call features, such as predictive dialing and the potential to monitor your marketing lists.

Many vendors focus exclusively on inbound calling and offer meager outgoing-call features, if any at all. This serves the needs of organizations that only need the capability to provide customer service to inbound callers and are not engaged in telemarketing. If you're helping clients with their billing accounts or providing technical support, you'll need inbound-call features such as IVR (Integrated Voice Response), intelligent call routing and the ability to monitor how effective your agents are at serving customer needs.

While there's no one-size-fits-all checklist, you can start by reading this list of the top 10 hosted CRM features .

How does my company evaluate vendors?

In addition to reviewing the costs and features lists, you'll want to think about your relationship with the vendor. How well are they regarded, and how satisfied are their other customers? If you can learn the names of other companies using the solution, try calling their customer-support line and see how easily you get routed through the system. Then, talk to the agents about their experience. Although the purchase of a hosted solution gets made through management, it's the agents who have the day-to-day hands-on experience and know whether the software is helping them out or making their jobs more challenging.

Other factors to keep in mind include the technical support and training provided, the license or contract requirements, and privacy issues. If you're concerned about any of these, ask the provider about it before you sign a contract.

What else does my business need to think about?

Keep in mind that CRM is more than just a software solution — it's a commitment toward serving your customers efficiently and effectively. If you rely solely on the functions in your solution, you might find yourself disappointed. Focus instead on how to use those features to their maximum benefit for your customers — that's the way to satisfy your customer needs, make the next sale and improve the ROI of your CRM solution.

Featured Research
  • The New 2016 SMB CRM Comparison Guide

    Selecting a CRM system is not easy. That's why our CRM expert has compiled this new SMB CRM comparison guide to provide you with the information you need on the top 40 CRM software solutions available on the market. more

  • How to Get the Most out of CRM

    Studies suggest that 63% of CRM projects fail. But your business doesn’t have to be among the failures. You can see ROI on your investment in CRM by implementing an effective plan. more

  • CRM on a Budget in 2017

    With some businesses spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on CRM, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need a hefty budget in order to purchase a quality CRM solution. Not so. more

  • 2017 CRM Buyer's Guide

    Customer Relationship (CRM) software has become one of the most important business tools in today’s world. By allowing you to better connect with new and existing customers, CRM is an indispensable tool for sales teams and customer service teams alike. But with so many choices available, it can be difficult to decide on a solution. more

  • The New 2016 CRM Comparison Guide

    Our new 2016 Q4 CRM Comparison Guide includes all the information you need to make the best purchase for your business. With relevant information on over 40 CRM vendors, you can learn what solution offers the features and pricing you need. more