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
  • 8 CRM Tools You Need for a Winning Lead Nurture Strategy

    Does your business have an effective lead nurturing strategy? Before you answer that, keep in mind that a good strategy is different than having a few good sequences in place. This is not an area you want to overlook. The more you develop and test your lead nurturing strategy, the more sales you will enjoy - there is a direct correlation between the two. It should be no surprise that CRM tools are one of the secrets to doing this. more

  • 8 Reasons SMBs Should Invest in a CRM

    Adopting a CRM platform early offers many advantages, including the fact that it increases the odds of long-term success. While the cost of CRM software used to be prohibitive for most small businesses, this is no longer true. Cloud-based solutions have made the pricing much more competitive, and as many as 87% of companies now rely on them for their CRM software. more

  • 7 Ways Your CRM Helps Convert Leads

    Failure to convert interested leads can impact your bottom line drastically and simultaneously increase your operational costs and decrease your profits. The most common reason for this failure is lack of follow through from a sales team. Did you know that 74% of CRM users said that their CRM gave them improved access to customer data? And that by properly implementing a CRM, a business could shorten the sales cycle by 8 to 14%? more

  • Is Your CRM a Liability

    Is your CRM a liability? Before you answer too quickly with a no, just think about all the advancements that have taken place over the years regarding this technical solution. In fact, just in over the past decade there has been a dramatic shift away from on-premise systems to cloud based solutions. more

  • 12 Must-Have CRM Features

    Having a CRM is absolutely essential to any modern day business's success. In fact, 91% of companies with 11+ employees now utilize a CRM solution in their business. When making the decision to purchase or upgrade your CRM solution, it can be quite overwhelming determining which features are essential to your success versus those that pack more fluff than punch. more