According to Wikipedia, Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers.
I am quite sure any quote I might paraphrase here will be clichéd or overused, but I just cannot over-emphasise the importance of customers and customer satisfaction in this digital age. Nowadays, you have to start with the assumption that every customer you interact with is already connected to your entire potential customer base, and a single customer can make or break your business model.
Earlier, MIS systems were used for data entry and data management; today, CRM tools are intuitive, adaptive, and sometimes scarily accurate with their machine learning and predictions. CRM has become an integral part of Sales, Marketing and Service interactions with your customer. And that is exactly why a company should adopt CRM at an early stage.
While trying to adopt a CRM system, the plethora of choices can sometimes put off the customer. To make things easier, let’s first break this clutter in to two broad categories: CRM On-premise and CRM On-cloud.
On-premise CRMs are hosted on a private network. They are generally bulky and better suited to larger enterprises. On-premise CRMs offer good security, but in a digital age where mobility, easy access to information, open APIs and user experience define a software’s adoption rate, on-premise systems fail miserably. On the other hand, On-cloud based CRMs are easy to set up and are cheaper. The subscription-based model ensures that a startup gets the same functionalities and features as a large enterprise and scalability is never an issue. Thus for small business, CRM on cloud is the way to go and there are plenty of applications available to choose from. The big names include Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle (Siebel) etc.
So, if you are a startup owner, should you consider CRM and invest in it?
There are definitive advantages to using a CRM at an early stage.
Abbreviations used (for foot notes):
API - Application Programming Interface
SME - Small and Medium Enterprise
MIS - Management Information Systems
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)