It’s essential that you have a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) for managing customer data. Deciding which type will best fit the needs of your business will depend on various aspects of your company, including your budget and who’ll be using it.
There are three general types of CRM systems to choose from.
Implementing a basic CRM system
A basic CRM system is your general cloud-based implementation. The configuration would be limited to UI layout, with built-in configuration that would edit necessary fields. This type of CRM typically does not include any type of customized coding or involve any extensive processes.
This is a basic cloud solution that can provide standard functions, yet is still powerful enough to make a difference for your company.
Using this type of CRM system, you would likely focus on one single component of the modules such as sales, which would further limit the scope. Pre-built additions can be added to the basic CRM.
A basic CRM also involves transferring data of your accounts, contacts and leads into a CRM application. It won’t be necessary for the user to have all the data entered manually before using the application. With a basic CRM, a company can implement and use the CRM solution with a minimum amount of costs and in the shortest time. Some of the benefits include saving time in tracking and consolidating customer information.
Choosing a standalone CRM system
Standalone CRM is considered the superset of a basic CRM system.
This will involve the implementation of more complex processes including custom reporting, custom views, customized workflows and add-ons. Some of the benefits include the following:
- Send automated emails or notifications
- Gather and accurately maintain customer information
- Analyze data and uncover various trends
- Improve your customer service
It’s important to note that the data migration sometimes involves multiple sources which can require the need for data cleansing.
For a company that decides to use a standalone CRM, employee training will be required. CRM training for administrators will also be required if the business plans to self-maintain this kind of CRM application. This training will help those using the system gain greater efficiency and enable your company to better understand and meet the needs of your customers.
The benefits of an integrated CRM system
Integrated CRM includes the range of a standalone solution while integrating the CRM application with an external system. An external system could include an ERP application, different websites or some type of home-grown application.
This enables the systems to share data.
The integration of systems can be accomplished by either using some type of commercial off-the-shelf middleware application or by custom programming. By creating your own website to function seamlessly with the CRM system you’ll find there are several benefits for your business.
- Maximize the company’s overall operational efficiency
- Increase and improve the automation process
- Spend less time on administrative duties
- Increase employees’ time spent marketing and servicing customers
- Eliminate the duplication of data entry
- Provide synchronization for all your data
- Provide better leads for your sales team
Companies using an integrated CRM solution will need to provide training for their employees. And, like a standalone CRM system, administrator training for an integrated CRM will also be needed if the company plans to self-maintain the CRM application.
We recommend finding an experienced technology company to assist with both implementation and maintenance of your CRM system, no matter which type you choose. Many managed IT services providers can help with your CRM, in addition to other critical areas like cloud solutions, enterprise resource planning, security services and basic IT support.