The advantages to the web based CRM interface for small businesses are many, ease of deployment, standardized interfaced and a single software server as opposed to multiple instances of software on multiple machines. Cloud computing and Software as a service has become more common and many more businesses are turning to remotely hosted CRM s which are not purchased per se, but instead are charged on a per use basis.
This can be ideal for a small business which has no staff to spare to maintain their own in-house server and web based CRM. It can also work for a medium sized business that needs scalability or predictability in costs or is not in a position to expand the available workforce to include a dedicated IT department.
While a larger business might choose to maintain an in-house web based CRM, they may also be merely diverting already existing IT staff to this new duty. On the other hand, the smaller business may not have that staff or the resources to hire that staff.
The choice of a web based CRM software means that any device capable of supporting a recent browser can usually access the CRM software. Changes in contacts, leads or sales can be placed into the database by the representative on the road with little delay. Companies with employees who frequently work on-site or from home can still maintain up to date and accurate customer tracking records. Everyone in the workgroup can have access to that data as it changes.
One more advantage of the web based CRM for the small business is that data can be gathered, contacts can be consolidated, customer relationships can be tracked, updated and analyzed using the same software that much larger businesses have. The business advantage of having information on customer habits, experience and tracking and analyzing this data is no longer with the company that can afford to maintain their own IT department. Now the smaller business can compete on even terms with customer relationship management software scaled to their business needs.
At this point it should be noted that the choice of web based CRM should be made on the basis not only of return on investment for the short term but also with a view to expansion. A company that finds a SaaS (software as a service) CRM solution viable during their initial growth stages may later decide that an in-house or on site CRM solution might be better. There are many CRM programs to choose from, but it is usually a good idea to ensure that the software solution chosen can be used in both venues. Changing the CRM software drastically can mean increased costs not only in software purchase and maintenance but in employee training.
It is unrealistic to expect employees to fully utilize a brand new CRM instantly or even after a few hours training. Choosing a web based CRM that can be remotely hosted and then deployed in-house when the time is right, can benefit the small business with plans for growth and eliminate or decrease the learning curve employees may experience when learning to use new software.