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Cloud-based CRM Guide

Spending on cloud-based CRM is growing significantly; in fact, businesses spent 24% more on their cloud system.

The market for cloud-based CRM providers is extremely crowded. In this article, we take a look at what you need to know about cloud-based CRMs then look at some of the key providers.

What is a cloud-based CRM?

Using a CRM to manage relationships with customers and potential customers is critical to ensuring high-level performance for most teams. 

The CRM market caters to a wide range of businesses; from sole entrepreneurs to companies with 100,000 employees, CRMs help businesses deliver exceptional ROI.

Cloud-based CRM is a type of CRM that is hosted in the cloud, meaning that data is stored on servers away from the business premises and accessible through the internet. This has multiple benefits, for example, the business doesn’t need to worry about data management or storage.

On-premise is the alternative to cloud-based CRM and requires installation and maintenance of hardware and software – normally by an onsite technical team.

Before the advent of cloud-based CRM, it was difficult for smaller businesses to leverage technology because they didn’t have the expertise to build and run on-premise CRM. Cloud-based CRM gives smaller businesses access to sophisticated technology at an affordable price, without the need for an onsite technical team.

Before we look at cloud-based CRM in more detail let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of cloud-based CRM versus on-premise CRM.

Cloud-based CRM v On-premise CRM

  Cloud-based CRM On-premise CRM
Price

Much lower upfront cost and then paid monthly.

Upfront cost to install and maintain. Normally an onsite team is required to maintain the system.

Setup Difficulty

Simple to start using and migrate data.

Requires time to plan and build.

 Security

Cloud protocol, including: backups, SSL and encryption.

Managed by in-house team.

Cross Platform Compatibility

Included as a standard feature in most CRMs.

Requirement to build this bespoke.

Integrations

Normally at least some integrations are built in.

Requirement to build this bespoke and possible need for licenses.

Apps 

Most cloud-based systems have some form of third party app repository. 

New features normally need to be built from scratch.

Upgrades

Users have access to upgrades automatically. 

Any upgrades need to be developed by a development team.

Storage 

Extra storage can be added to a package and data is kept in the cloud.

Requires internal storage, like hard drives and servers.

Reliability 

Most cloud-based CRMs are highly reliable.

Will depend on the quality of the software and the technical team managing it.

Four key benefits of cloud-based CRM

Let’s dig into the benefits of cloud-based CRM in a little more detail.

Simple 

This needs to be qualified: setting up a CRM is never trouble-free, there are always decisions to be made – not least which cloud-based CRM will you choose.

But compared to on-premise CRM setting up a cloud-based CRM is relatively simple. The software has already been built so once you buy the license you get immediate access to the full feature-set and can start using straight away.

There is normally a setup process where data needs to be migrated and decisions need to be made on which features to use. But you can get to work using your CRM straight away.

Most cloud-based CRM providers have an onboarding team that can help configure the CRM to your specifications. This sometimes carries a small cost but is moderate and means the setup can be quickly done to a high level.

Many cloud-based CRM providers have setups already configured for different industries and a ton of online resources – everything is designed to get you up and running quickly as a new customer.

Accessible

Cloud-based CRMs are normally compatible across different devices, most have an app for mobile and tablet which is highly useful for field-based sales teams.

This automatic accessibility improves sales team output. One report suggests 65% of salespeople that adopt mobile CRM hit their quota.

The importance of quick and easy accessibility is due to sales teams receiving lots of incoming work: a lead return asks a question or a question regarding a contract lands. Because activity is hard to predict sales teams need the ability to react quickly and away from their desks.

Flexible

Theoretically, on-premise CRM offers more flexibility because you can build a solution that is completely bespoke. However, cloud-based CRM has made incredible progress in the last five years. The modern CRM has a huge suite of features and configurations that work for different sectors.

Many leading cloud-based CRM providers launch marketplaces so developers can add solutions to their customers, greatly increasing the features that customers can access. The Zoho Marketplace is one example of a well-stocked marketplace that gives customers a range of extra options.

Affordable

Cloud-based CRMs are very affordable, with many starting at a few dollars per seat per month. Of course, prices increase a lot once you start using advanced features and adding multiple users.

Also, there are hidden costs to using a cloud-based CRM like training, setup and future cost hikes. However, if you plan carefully and have a good idea of what feature-set you need then the cost can be affordable.

Conclusion 

Choosing the right cloud-based CRM for your business is challenging but we’re here to help. Read some of our guides here:

Read on to see detailed profiles of all the marketing leading cloud-CRM solutions on the market.