Quicker to Implement
Because the information on the hosted programs is stored and managed outside of the business's computers, getting the program up and running is much quicker than it would be with a traditional CRM program. For example, Prophet OnDemand, Avidian's hosted CRM program, can be installed and ready to go in just a few hours, compared to several months for a traditional program.
This also means that hosted software has a faster time-to-market. In other words, the changes that the software brings to the business will start affecting the business's customers much more quickly than they would with a traditional program. The business team will be able to improve customer service, and hopefully increase sales, much faster with hosted software.
Cheaper to Use
One of the downsides to traditional CRM software is the fact that it requires an additional server to host the numerous databases. Also, the IT staff often has to work extra hours integrate the program into the existing setup, connect the separate server, and create an entire infrastructure for the CRM programming.
With hosted CRM software, the need for the IT infrastructure and the separate server are eliminated, because the company that is hosting the software provides both of these. This greatly cuts down on the cost of getting started, making it even more appealing to small to medium sized businesses who typically work on a tight IT budget.
The fact that hosted CRM software is cheaper makes it the most appealing option for new businesses or business that are going to start using CRM software for the first time. A product like Prophet OnDemand will have the least amount of initial risk for the business owner, because of the lower up-front cost.
When using hosted CRM software, updates to the program are made automatically through the host server. The business owner does not have to worry about making updates or installing new software when it becomes available. With a hosted program, the host makes these updates with minimal interruptions to the business's service.
In addition, many hosted programs offer technical support. This means that the IT department does not have to worry about maintaining the CRM software. They can focus on keeping the business's own computers and software programs functioning properly.
Keeps Data Secure
Another benefit of hosting CRM software off site is the added security it brings. Customer contact databases, sales reports, and other data used in customer relationship management are stored on the host's server. If the business's computers ever crash, the data is still available. In addition, if the business's computers are ever hacked, the information in the databases may be protected, because it is stored elsewhere.
Using an outside host means that regular backups of a business's vital information are made. Also, because hosts use data centers designed specifically for data storage, backup Internet connections and power sources will be in place. This means that access to the information in the databases is almost always available, which may not be the case when it is stored in house. In a customer-driven business, access to customer information is essential not just for success, but also survival. Hosted CRM programs ensure that this access is always available.
Choosing Hosted CRM Software
With all of these benefits, many owners of small to medium sized businesses are turning to hosted CRM software to help them manage their contact lists and customer reports. Choosing the right program will make implementation as smooth as possible.
The first step in choosing the right CRM software for a particular business is outlining the business's needs. If you are already using Outlook to email clients, store addresses and other contact information, and track client responses, look for a program that can be implemented into Outlook. Prophet OnDemand, for example, works entirely inside Outlook. This means that team members can easily integrate the address books and other information already have stored in Outlook into the CRM program. It also eliminates the need to add contacts to two databases, toggle between programs, and constantly worry about keeping both lists updated.
Businesses that have several team members working on the same project will need CRM software that allows for sales information to be shared from one team member to another. A fully integrated program with sharing features built into its design is ideal for this situation. Even if team members do not share sales contacts and responsibilities, the ability to share sales data still help. With this setup, team members can quickly view the database and see whether or not a particular customer has been assigned to a team member, eliminating the problem of multiple contacts to the same customer, a situation that often drives customers away.
While the most important factor to look for when choosing hosted CRM software is a program that meets the business's needs, there are other features to consider. For instance, the best CRM programs will be both flexible and customizable. Businesses are growing and changing entities, and they need programs that can grow and change with them, and since no two businesses are the same, being able to customize the program to a business's unique needs is essential. In addition to flexibility, business owners need to look for support. The companies who offer the best CRM programs will include implementation and training into the price of the software.
In order to offer their customers a software program that offers all of these benefits, Avidian is now offering Prophet OnDemand. This hosted CRM software is simple to integrate, works completely in Outlook, and comes with training and support from Avidian. It is the ideal solution for small to medium sized businesses that need an affordable, easy-to-use CRM software solution.