Sunday, January 6, 2008

How Can Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Programs Help a Small Business

In this highly competitive world, medium and small business groups struggle for survival. As they established with small capital investments, these organizations usually will not have enough money to overcome the massive promotional campaigns by their large counterparts. Thus the most effective solution they got to keep their customers and to attract new clients is to enhance customer satisfaction through better customer service methods. The mouth publicity by the satisfied customers is the most useful advertising tool for these companies. Offering some great benefits to good customers and creating new plans for infrequent customers can boost the company turnover.

Today, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs have become the most effective tools for all marketing and service providing companies to enhance their customer satisfaction. Now, there are so many CRM vendors who offer different customized customer relationship management solutions according to business needs. You can purchase a standard pre-customized CRM solution or an open source CRM solution, or can hire a hosted/on demand CRM solution. The choice mainly depends on your business structure and volume.

Customer relationship management programs enhance the customer-friendly services by automating all proceedings and procedures in a company. All CRM systems are primarily large customer databases capable of storing all customer information such as customer’s name, address, customer contacting method, ability to spend money on products, money spending per visit etc. The specific programs built in these systems integrate the stored data on demand to identify good customers and help to create better service plans for them.

CRM software systems are capable of automating every thing involved in a small business. The main features of a CRM solution include sales force automation, data tracking, data migration, data integration, contact management, account management, opportunity management, customer service training, custom reporting, product management, lead routing, lead assignment, task management, calendaring, quota management, territory management, partner tracing, sales forecasting, customization analytics, sales analytics, trouble shooting, etc.

For small sized companies, there are two popular CRM options as open source CRM and hosted or on-demand CRM. Open source CRM software programs are customizable CRM programs. These programs are available in standard formats, which can be customized according to the company needs. But the requirement with these CRM solutions is your company must have enough technical knowledge to customize the program. Also there are some pre-customized CRM versions available today.

Hosted CRM or on demand CRM is a web-based application provided by an ASP (Application Service Provider), is an example of SaaS (Software-as-a-Service). In this type of CRM solution, all your CRM needs are satisfied by a distant CRM provider. The CRM provider or host will automate all proceedings including data tracking, data integration and data migration. The provider will offer the CRM solutions on your demand and will charge a monthly fee for that. Benefits of on demand CRM include reduction in the initial cost essential for installing a CRM system and accessibility from any part of the world at any time. But before signing a contract with any on demand CRM provider, make sure that he uses special data encryption techniques for securing your data. Also check the data integration capacity of the provider.

Today an another alternative, namely open source hosted CRM, which combines the merits of both open source and hosted CRM is becoming rapidly popular. This CRM solution is proven effective in tackling specific situations. For all CRM types, most providers now offer 30 days free trail, making use of these offers can help you to find a good CRM solution for your company.

This article has been published by eSalesTrack.com, US based provider of on-demand CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and other application software such as Sales Force Automation. To learn more about CRM visit CRM Articles.

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