Taking a close look at online CRM.
With more and more companies turning to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions for their businesses many are making an effort to find the cheapest CRM. Some are trying the online CRM companies because on their face they appear to be cheaper then Outlook CRM for example. However, the online CRM has a number of disadvantages when compared to Outlook CRM. These online CRM problems may manifest themselves in ways that can prove very detrimental to businesses.
Outlook based CRM provides compatibility that online CRM doesn’t have.
Most businesses use Microsoft Outlook for their computer business needs. For many years there were CRM systems that were expensive and hard to use because they were not really compatible with outlook. Now there are good Outlook based CRM systems available, but the online CRM systems have many of the same problems as the older systems. With online CRM there is the problem of such functions as e-mails and reporting not being in sync with Outlook.
The online CRM systems provide remote storage of data.
With Outlook based CRM the software provides immediate access to such data as contact information and good sales force automation. With online CRM systems all of the data is stored in a remote host that is entirely dependent on the Internet. The purpose of any CRM including online CRM is to allow sales teams and managers to keep up with sales leads and follow them from initial contact to closing. Much of the follow up is fully automated and with online CRM this can be useless if the Internet goes down.
Very little data is available without the Internet on online CRM systems.
Many companies that offer online CRM provide for the availability of some data if the Internet is down. However, these online CRM companies charge extra for such services. This makes online CRM more expensive then it may look at first glance. If follow ups are needed on a sales lead and something is calendared in the online CRM system it may not be available for some time with online CRM.
Good reporting is essential to a sales force and may be limited with online CRM.
The question for many sales managers using online CRM is what happens if a report is needed immediately and the online CRM is unavailable. The answer is that the manager may just have to wait until the Internet is back up. The same is true if the online CRM host is having problems and is down for repairs. With Outlook based CRM systems many reports are generated automatically and can be easily customized. This won’t be the case if they are not available with an online CRM host.
Opportunities to close sales may be lost with online CRM.
Timing can often be everything when it comes to closing sales. If a customer sends an e-mail to a company to place an immediate order the sales personnel may not know about it if the online CRM is not available because the host is down. Many businesses have encountered this or similar problems with online CRM. The fact is that the online CRM systems are not as reliable as the Outlook based systems.
The online CRM may not always be the cheapest alternative.
There are good Outlook based CRM systems available that in the long run will actually cost less than online CRM. This is because they are more reliable and provide the information to process sales and close sales that may not always be available with online CRM. Many companies are familiar with the disaster that can be caused by lost data. With an online CRM system irreplaceable data could be immediately lost if the company providing the online CRM system suddenly goes out of business.
The online CRM doesn’t provide the same competitive edge as the Outlook based CRM.
In today’s highly competitive economy businesses can get a competitive edge with Outlook based CRM like the Prophet system from Avidian that is not available with online CRM. The online CRM is not as easy to use as it may first appear and the online CRM often proves to be unreliable. Users of online CRM are reporting numerous problems that don’t occur with Outlook based CRM. For a company to be successful they need CRM that is always operating and that is not the case with online CRM.