Contact Management or CRM- The essence and the difference

Contact Management Solutions and Customer Relationship Management Solutions are two solutions which help organizations to gain better control over customer information and processes. CRM solutions allow companies to automate sales processes, gain better control over sales opportunities and centralize contact information at a single location. CRM on the other hand are process workflow driven solutions, have multiple modules including customer service management module. Lack of standard definition of a CM and CRM have many organizations in a tizzy as to which solution will meet their needs in the most apt manner.

A contact management solution manages

Contacts

– Opportunities

– Accounts

– Notes and History

 

A CRM Solution is a workflow driven system that would integrate multiple departments of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service. Also a CRM solution has greater customization features and can integrate with ERP applications to give the organization a 360 degree view of the company operations.

An organization which has sales teams and wants to manage client relationships, track sales leads and opportunities, follows a simple sales process can opt for a Contact Management Solution. If an organization has multiple departments of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service and have a complex sales process and organizational hierarchy should opt for a CRM solution.

Also if requirement such as advance integration (quotes, order, inventory), customizations and back office integrations are important an organization should opt for a CRM solution. Also the nature of relationship determines which solution which solution will be an ideal fit. For instance:

a)          One individual selling to a single job role example insurance agents and brokers- CM Solution

b)           One individual selling to multiple job roles- CM solution

c)          Multiple individuals like Sales, Marketing and Customer Service interacting with single job role

d)          Multiple individual interacting with multiple job roles which requires inter departmental knowledge sharing and collaboration.

Finally budget to spend on a solution will also determine the choice. A full blown CRM solution will be expensive as compared to a contact management solution. An organization can choose to start with a contact management solution and later on migrate to a CRM solution.

For more information please visit CRM Solutions

Onsite Vs On Demand CRM- Make your choice

With the onset of concepts like (SAAS) and cloud computing customers have multiple choices of choosing a platform which suits their requirements and meet their budgets. The On Demand CRM application has become the buzzword in the CRM application industry. All the leading vendors have either launched or our about to launch the cloud format of their CRM applications. The On Demand CRM software has multiple advantages including quick deployment, no infrastructure investment and pay per use.

However as an organization while making your choice you should keep the following points in mind which will help you to choose between an On Demand and an On Site CRM

–         User Requirements

–         Budgets and TCO

–         Data Sensitivity

–         Internal IT Team

–         Integration Requirements

User Requirements- The CRM which you choose should meet the functional requirements of the organization. Also depending upon requirements the customization capability of the solution should be also looked upon. On Demand solutions are configurable which means you can add fields, modify workflows and set user profiles. On premise solutions offer more scope for customizations like adding custom entities, screens, tabs and tables.

Budgets and TCO- While choosing a solution the TCO and budget should be studied. If the deployment is to be done for a big team at a national level On Premise option can be looked at. Initial investment will be higher but recurring costs will be lower. Also if an organization feels that number of incremental users will increase quickly this model can be looked upon. The On Demand model can suit companies which has relatively smaller teams, are looking at no capital expenditure upfront and don’t have a long term CRM roadmap. Also the ability to migrate from one option to the other will help you take advantage of both the models from a cost perspective.

Data Sensitivity- In an On Demand CRM customer data resides on the server of the service provider as no hardware or software infrastructure is maintained by the client. For some organizations data sensitivity is of prime importance therefore hosting data on a 3rd party server needs to be judged properly. However for an SMB this can be an advantage because they might not have a secured data storage facility in house for such companies it can be beneficial to host information in a secure data centre.

Internal IT Team- For an SMB appointing an internal IT team which is a combination of database and network experts can be an expensive proposition. In such a scenario the On Demand model of CRM makes more sense as the IT infrastructure and various crucial aspects like database back-ups, firewalls, and antivirus installation is taken care by the service provider. Since in an On Demand model the CRM is deployed in house on company’s IT infrastructure, system administrators are required for the upkeep of the infrastructure.

Integration Requirements- On Premise CRM applications provide point to point integration with external systems like ERP software’s. On Demand CRM applications are more suitable when used as independent systems. However the scenario is changing now with the availability of web service API’s, On Demand CRM’s are opening up to integration possibilities.

For more information please visit CRM Software