DSC Tech Library
Customer Relationship Management
This section of our technical library presents information and documentation relating to CRM Solutions and customer relationship management software and products.
Providing timely customer service information is vital to maintaining a successful business. Accurate information provided in an organized and thoughtful manner is key to business success.
TELEMATION, our CRM and contact center software, was originally built on this foundation. The ability to modify Customer Relationship Management software is important in this ever changing business environment.
Telemation Customer Relationship Management solution and contact center software is ideally suited for call centers throughout the world.
Benefits of an ‘On-Demand’ CRM solution over a software based integration solution
2002-2004 Salesboom.com Inc.
If you’re a small-medium sized business, chances are you’ve heard the new CRM catch-phrase being tossed around frequently. Perhaps you’ve even looked in to some of the options available on the market. In the following article, we’ll discuss some of the pitfalls of traditional software based CRM solutions, while exploring the benefits of a new ‘on-demand’ implementation.
One of the main pitfalls of a software based CRM solution is the cost factor. Most small-medium sized business can’t afford the enormous software acquisition fees, upgrading all of their existing (if it even exists) IT infrastructure, hiring and training new IT staff to maintain this infrastructure, training all existing staff to use the software efficiently, et cetera. The list is almost endless, and most of these costs, save for the up-front acquisition fees, are generally hidden. When a company is setting up a budget for a project of that magnitude, they will generally have to see a guarantee potential for a large ROI (Return on Investment) for that project before undertaking. The problem is, of course, that return can be often difficult to predict for software based solutions.
This cost is also compounded by the extensive time it takes to implement an on-premise based CRM/SFA solution. Some companies have taken upwards of 8-12 months to get a fully functional solution in place and usable. Frequently, more than half of this time is all billable to consultants – before any implementation even begins to take place. This extensive time sink is not only detrimental to the timeframe it takes to begin seeing a positive ROI on your CRM/SFA solution, but when all your IT consultants and Systems Analysts are charging you by the hour to discuss how to implement your software based system – it all adds up quite quickly.
The general idea behind any business is to grow and prosper. A CRM solution will help accelerate that process by increasing the LTV (LifeTime Value) of your current customer base. However, as your company grows, your CRM needs will change in many areas. As these needs become more and more essential, a software based solution will cease to be everything that it was when it was first implemented. Eventually, it will become a necessity to overhaul the entire system. This is of course going to factor back into the cost of implementation, as you’ll have to acquire new or upgraded software licenses, re-train your staff with the new changes so that they can again be as productive as possible, and possibly upgrade your IT infrastructure again, depending on how out-of-date the previous implementation has become.
With no room for potential growth (unless you wish to re-acquire enough software licenses for your entire company), on-premise based CRM solutions just simply refuse to grow with your business. While they may solve your needs for the first little while, be careful in the future. The entire premise behind a CRM/SFA solution is to help your business grow and prosper – what good is the solution if it doesn’t grow with you?
Software updates are one big headache. These days, software development companies are producing newer versions faster than ever before, to stay competitive on a saturated market. Often times, there will be a new update available for use before the software package you just purchased is even implemented. This results in a two-option scenario:
All of this of course ends up leading to one big question on any companies mind: ‘Why am I paying extra for something that should have been included in the first place?’
- 1. Stay the course with your current software incarnation, as it’s already paid for and in the process of being implemented. It still fulfills your basic CRM needs, and if you pull out now, there has been a wealth of wasted resources.
- 2. Scrap the current project and re-plan with the new update in mind. This will result in a lot of unnecessary financial waste, but will ensure that your software solution lasts longer than an older version.
Well the answer is you shouldn’t be. Chances are, your on-premise based CRM/SFA provider told you that their software suite was ‘all inclusive’ and that it would satisfy your needs. Well how can that be if they’re constantly trying to get you to purchase new updates, sometimes even as soon as before your current version is fully implemented?
Also, your software doesn’t travel with you. Some of the more advanced products do feature a mobile-friendly synchronization, but you need to have a licensed copy of the product on every computer that you use. So if you’re traveling on business-related purposes, or even taking a well-needed vacation but need to keep up with your business while away, you’ll find that the access to your software solution is severely lacking. And employee productivity will not be impressive if they can’t even use your CRM implementation.
CRM/SFA are supposed to be solutions to automate your business processes. Nothing is automated if it’s not even accessible to you or your employees. Salespeople are becoming more and more mobile by the day. How can you expect them to utilize the many benefits of CRM/SFA if they can’t access it from a potential client’s home? Using paper may have been an alternative – 10 years ago – but today’s world is on-demand.
An on-demand CRM solution addresses and rectifies these issues. Developed especially for small-medium sized businesses and their budgetary needs, this approach is a ‘software as a service’ model, and means that the on-demand provider needs to earn your business on a month-to-month basis. The benefits to this are many, and the pitfalls are few and far between. The days of spending millions of dollars worth of software acquisition licenses are a thing of the past. Nobody can expect a company of 50 employees to be able to snap their fingers and make that amount of money appear. This is why software as a service is such a desirable alternative for many businesses. Without the backing of large amounts of capital and investors willing to contribute to the CRM/SFA solution, implementing the project as an on-demand service based model addresses these issues and makes it simple, even giving smaller businesses an edge in some cases, to compete.
The cost for an on-demand CRM project is negligible compared to that of a software-based solution. Almost all costs associated with the project are visible up-front, and are available to be weighed heavily against a predicted ROI. Using the service on a monthly basis means you can recognize and identify your costs and budget accordingly. Each month you can weigh the benefits against the cost and make sure that your investment in CRM is making a healthy return.
In addition to this, since the CRM provider needs to retain your business every month, if you have any new needs, problems, or feedback, they will need to adapt to your new model, or risk losing your business to a competitor. Only in a ‘service’ based environment is this type of on-the-fly adaptation possible.
You won’t have to worry about new unforeseen costs looming around any calendar date in your future with on-demand CRM – your provider will make sure you understand all your costs up-front, and if the situation changes, they will be the first to let you know. On-demand CRM providers such as Salesboom.com make sure that their sales team is focused on your needs, not pushing software.