CRM Solutions that are Web-Based

By Stan Baldwin
Updated: August 23, 2011

Up-front cost, ease and speed of deployment, lots of features to chose from, are all among the important benefits offered by web-based CRM solutions. While concerns over having valuable customer data stashed out across the web on someone else's server haven't gone away, they have diminished substantially. More than enough for small to medium size businesses (SMBs) to put their trust in one of the many web-based CRM systems currently on offer.and take advantage of the impressive array of feature available. The prices are compelling, too.

Simple systems track each customer from sales call, through follow-up calls, to sales completion and on to after-sales support. More complex web-based CRM systems manage e-mail marketing programs, track performance of sales groups and individual sales persons, integrate a document library with the sales process, integrate customer data with accounting, ERP and customer support departments, and much more. Though the majority of web-based CRM solutions do not provide for serious customization, the range of things the major packages can do is close to mind-boggling. And the ability to customize portions of some of these services is already beginning to emerge.

An especially attractive ability provided by most web-based systems is the support for any web-capable device. If the employee has access to a high band-width internet connection, they have access to the full capabilities of the CRM system. As the trend toward dispersed or mobile staff continues to expand, having every member of the sales and support team working from the same database and under the same CRM management policies is a great advantage. Being able to distribute customer information rapidly, consistently and accurately, to whichever company resource appropriate to the situation, can be a powerful tool in customer satisfaction and retention.

As with making a choice for any business tool, deciding what services your business needs before starting the search is wise. Web-based CRM solutions come in many flavors, with emphasis on various components, depending upon the type of business or industry targeted. Typical focused CRM versions include those for Real Estate, Finance (mortgages, loans, insurance), lead tracking, small business support, and sales process management.

Depending upon the dynamics of a business, the capacity for some of the more full-featured web-based CRM solutions to be both web-based and on-site may be attractive. The capacity to provide a relatively simple implementation initially, and allow the company using the service to add features, building on their initial tools, means growth without undue trauma. Costs only increase only when the needed enhancements are added. Staff training is incremental, the customer database evolves rather than needing to migrate, efficiency is improved.

Web-based CRM solutions are the solution of choice for many SMBs. The growing list of integrated features will make them attractive to an even broader range of organizations in the future.

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