SMB Series Effective Customer Relationship Management Software for Small to Medium-sized Businesses
EﬀecƟve CRM soluƟons The unique needs of the SMB for small to medium sized A SMB company (or division of a large company) is deﬁned many diﬀerent businesses ways. One way is in terms of company revenue. The SMB organizaƟon has sales of $10M-$1B. Another way to de- ﬁne it is in terms of the number of CRMExecuƟve Summary users. In this paper we deﬁne SMB as those companies with 5-1,000 CRM us-An eﬀecƟve CRM soluƟon for small to ers.medium sized business involves chal- The SMB has challenges of the large-lenges. The important ﬁndings of this scale enterprise, but without the luxurypaper include: of large company budget. For the SMB,• Improving business eﬃciencies and the cost and Ɵme to implement systems driving increased revenues should is criƟcal. It is not unusual for highly be the primary selecƟon criteria customized CRM projects to take many followed by high user adopƟon months to implement with costs of rates. $500K and above. These are prohibiƟve• Users should consider cloud imple- for the SMB. mentaƟons for lower overall costs The SMB has a parƟcular need to be and reduced impact on IT organiza- “quick on its feet” – able to react quick- Ɵons. ly to changing business needs. This abil-• An integrated suite of applicaƟons ity to out-maneuver a SMB company’s can improve the customer experi- compeƟtor is its primary compeƟƟve ence by geƫng departments to advantage. Any CRM soluƟon a SMB collaborate seamlessly. company implements, must meet this• How easily a business user can challenge also. make changes to the CRM system without the need for programming It is imperaƟve for the SMB organizaƟon skills is another important consider- to be able to change and adapt their aƟon. CRM system as their business grows or• ImplementaƟons should be com- as the market or compeƟƟve environ- pleted in days. ment changes. If the company is limited• And ﬁnally, the CRM soluƟon cho- in its ability to change, then it will not sen should have the ability to grow be able to maintain its compeƟƟve and adapt as a company’s needs edge. Ease of customizaƟon simple and situaƟon changes. enough for business users to implement is one consideraƟon that will help a company keep pace as well.IntroducƟonSmall to medium sized (SMB) compa- Cloud vs. on-premise CRMnies have many choices of CRM soŌ-ware opƟons, yet choosing a soluƟon In the past, CRM was implemented by ITthat actually meets their needs is a tre- departments as an on-premise applica-mendous challenge. SMB have needs Ɵon. The process was expensive andthat are as great as any large company Ɵme consuming and when end usersbut do not possess the ﬁnancial wanted changes to the applicaƟon, de-resources. Enterprise CRM soluƟons lays were inevitable. Staﬃng, mainte-are far too expensive and complex for nance and upgrades also ﬁgured intothe SMB ﬁrm. Simple systems designed the IT infrastructure decision making.for the smallest businesses do not have But the advent of hosted or cloud com-the power and depth of features that puƟng has changed the nature of howare needed. Many CRM products CRM applicaƟons are implemented.designed for the SMB oﬀer only part of Now vendors host the system in thethe soluƟon that may be needed and cloud, so SMB ﬁrms no longer have tohave limited capabiliƟes for a 360-degree view of the customer and com- make expensive hardware or billed investments. Companies are soŌwarepany-wide CRM iniƟaƟve. This paperreviews the challenges faced and bene- monthly perlowerand depending imple- the vendor, user overall cost of uponﬁts received when a SMB companyselects and implements a cost-eﬀecƟve, mentaƟon can be achieved if the CRM applicaƟon is easily customizable byintegrated CRM soluƟon. business users. A robust soŌware en- gine designed for customizaƟon can also drive down implementaƟon costs.
The purchasing process of 27% • Decreased sales and markeƟngThe purchase decision process has also costs of 23%changed dramaƟcally. In the past ex- • Improved proﬁt margins of over 2%pensive on-premise versions requiredthe IT department to spend months an- An eﬀecƟve CRM soluƟon can deliveralyzing proposals from vendors. De- these business producƟvity increases.pending upon the CRM applicaƟon, they The crux is in choosing the right applica-would also have to ﬁgure out the Ɵme Ɵon for a SMB company.to integrate expensive add-on applica-Ɵons to deliver a completely integratedsoluƟon that would get departments Choosing the right CRM soŌwareacross the company seamlessly collabo-raƟng. There are many quality soŌware com- panies that oﬀer CRM applicaƟons.For a CRM to be eﬀecƟve, sales, mar- However when reviewing the capabili-keƟng, customer service and operaƟons Ɵes companies need to be aware of the-should all be involved to maximize a se common limitaƟons.company’s investment in the system.Today’s purchasing decision for the SMBis more likely to be made by a company Search for complete cloud soluƟonspresident or line manager. The primarydriving reason for purchase is end user The cloud arena has received muchadopƟon rates and how the system will aƩenƟon in the press and is a good ap-improve business eﬃciencies and drive proach for many companies. Beneﬁtsincreased revenues. include a lower iniƟal cost of geƫng started and the reduced impact on a company’s internal IT resources.CRM systems – the compeƟƟve ad- Unfortunately, most products in thevantage for the SMB cloud market have major limitaƟons.The SMB is oŌen where the compeƟƟve Some are strong in sales and markeƟngpressures are most extreme. SMB or- but not in customer support or helpganizaƟons need to eﬀecƟvely focus on desk. Some are strong in customer sup-its customers to get the most from each port, but weak in sales and markeƟng orcustomer relaƟonship. Sales especially project management. Others don’t pro-need an easy to use and navigate CRM vide access for the company’s custom-if they are to adopt the system and ers and partners.boost producƟvity. Moreover, many cloud CRM applica-The lead generaƟon process needs to Ɵons require expensive add-on productsconvert these leads successfully into from mulƟple vendors to round outcustomers. With those SMB organiza- their funcƟonality. This increases theƟons that uƟlize channel partners, they CRM cost and complexity requiringneed ways to channel leads to them in companies to managing mulƟple invoic-a Ɵmely manner. They need a system es and coordinate system upgrades. Ato coordinate with the partners to iden- complete cloud soluƟon needs to oﬀer aƟfy and close new business quickly. single system that delivers all the func- Ɵonality a company needs.Moreover, SMB companies need to beable to manage their customer supportcosts and enable customer support over Chose a simple-to-use system thatthe web to increase customer saƟsfac- drives end user adopƟonƟon and inﬂuence retenƟon rates. Mo-bile CRM soluƟons are growing expo- It may be that a company’s needs arenenƟally in importance as more of a quite speciﬁc and a system that has lim-workforce is mobile and needs access its in other areas will provide good val-to the CRM system on the road. ue. One of the most poorly understood facts about CRM implementaƟons are that unless it’s simple to use, end userCRM drives business producƟvity adopƟon will fail and the beneﬁts will never be seen to a company’s boƩomRecent benchmark studies reveal that line.CRM applicaƟons account for:• Revenue increases of up to 41% per sales person Plan for easy customizaƟon and• Decreased sales cycles of over 24% growth• Lead conversion rate improvements of over 300% Keep in mind too that such a system• Customer retenƟon improvements may require signiﬁcant customizaƟon to actually meet a company’s require-
ments. The easier a CRM is to custom- expensive versions of their soŌware andize by business users, the higher the users have discovered too late that toadopƟon rate. Users who can adapt the get all the funcƟonality they need thatsystem themselves to meet their unique cost per user has skyrocketed well be-needs are more likely to keep using a yond iniƟal budget consideraƟons.CRM system. Also, make certain to planfor growth, as the system chosen should On the other hand, vendors that havebe ﬂexible enough to grow as compa- focused on the smaller businesses fornies grow and change. This is especially years are trying to serve the SMB with atrue as more departments come to use less scalable version. They primarilythe CRM system. have oﬀered ‘contact management sys- tems’ which are too small for company- wide implementaƟons and can’t oﬀer robust system insights into a 360-viewLook for ease of integraƟon of the customer. They can’t match theSome CRM systems are good for one needs of selling into larger accountsbusiness unit but have liƩle capability either.for another. As a result some compa- Conclusionnies have two systems, one for businessunits like markeƟng and sales, and an- SMB ﬁrms face special CRM challenges,other customer support which aren’t yet their need for eﬀecƟve, robust CRMwell integrated. Look for systems that systems is great. It takes much Ɵme forcan provide a soluƟon that is well inte- a ﬁrm to navigate through the choicesgrated and equally strong across a com- available but it’s criƟcal to ﬁnd one thatpany-wide iniƟaƟve. Avoid needing to meets the need of a company. Keypurchase expensive add-on modules or things to remember include:applicaƟons as use of the CRM grows. • End user adopƟon rates and howPlus built-in integraƟon with back oﬃce the system will improve businessapplicaƟons such as QuickBooks may be eﬃciencies and drive increased rev-important. CompaƟbility with Outlook enues should be the primary criteriais another feature to consider. for selecƟng a CRM system. • Cloud CRM system beneﬁts include a lower iniƟal cost of geƫng startedLook for lower cost of implementa- and the reduced impact on a com-Ɵon, ease of customizability, strong pany’s internal IT resources.support services • A totally integrated applicaƟonSoluƟons from value-added resellers should be used across an organiza-while highly customized and speciﬁc to Ɵon to get departments collabo-a parƟcular industry are expensive and raƟng seamlessly to improve theoŌen require an addiƟonal degree of customer experience.customizaƟon contribuƟng to long im- • Business users need to be able toplementaƟon. Without a strong sup- easily make changes to the CRMport strategy and team in place, a delay system without a need for program-in implementaƟon or downƟme aŌer ming skills to adapt it to their usabil-the soŌware has been released to the ity needs.end user could result. • ImplementaƟons are to be complet- ed in weeks, not months and should reduce Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).Demand stability, experience and • The CRM soluƟon should grow aslongevity in the SMB the company’s needs and situaƟonMake certain the soluƟon being consid- changes.ered is from a company experienced inthe SMB. Select a vendor who has im-plemented many CRM systems for com- Soﬀront SoŌware: MeeƟngpanies in this market. That experience the challenges in the SMBcan make a diﬀerence between successand failure of a CRM iniƟaƟve. A completely integrated cloud CRM Soﬀront oﬀers a totally integrated cloud CRM. ApplicaƟons include sales auto-Watch pricing and scalability maƟon, markeƟng automaƟon, custom-Many large enterprise vendors are en- er service and operaƟons asSMB com- tomer and partner portals. well as cus-tering the market with a watered down panies see the advantages immediatelyversion in an aƩempt to match pricingpoints but have liƩle experience with a with an applicaƟon that can be usedSMB soluƟon. Others, in an eﬀort to across an organizaƟon to get depart-match pricing of compeƟtors oﬀer less ments collaboraƟng seamlessly. No ad- diƟonal add-on products are required.
With drag and drop customizaƟon built- a large number successful SMB installa-in to the Soﬀront’s CRM, business users Ɵons in over 15 countries, Soﬀrontcan easily make changes without any brings a degree of experƟse Soﬀrontneed for programming skills. The load is well needed by the SMB. A single sub-reduced on the IT infrastructure and scripƟon price of Soﬀront’s integratedfrustraƟng delays for end users are CRM oﬀers customers a fully funcƟonaleliminated. system to boost business-wide produc- Ɵvity and improve the customer experi- ence.High end user adopƟon ratesSoﬀront features one click updates to Customer TesƟmonials:record a contact with a customer orprospect. This can boost producƟvity “Soﬀront is the central nervous system85% over other CRM systems which of the business… we were able to seemay require as many as 20 clicks for the ways to save Ɵme and become moresame acƟvity. Ease of navigaƟon; single producƟve in every area of our business.view screens to view an account record; We witnessed a quantum leap in ourand all communicaƟon viewable in a eﬃciency.” Monroe Diefendorf, Jr.,one screen are factors that drive end- CEO, Diefendorf Capital Planning Associ-user of adopƟon of Soﬀront’s soluƟon. ates.Soﬀront is easily adaptable to uniquebusiness models and changing work-ﬂows with drag and drop customizaƟon “We selected Soﬀront primarily for twobuilt-in. reasons: speed of implementaƟon and cost. The enƟre system was available online, and we did not have to purchaseLower total cost of ownership any hardware or third party soŌware to get started.” - Mark Herrington, Manag-Soﬀront’s a fully featured integrated er of client hardware installaƟon andCRM suite oﬀering with sales automa- support, Central Service AssociaƟon.Ɵon, markeƟng automaƟon, customerservice, help desk, project managementand other modules work together todeliver maximum producƟvity with min- “You don’t need to be a developer toimum IT involvement. Soﬀront oﬀers make this system hum. Soﬀront’s new-the most extensive suite of integrated est version is quite possibly the bestCRM modules for the SMB. Soﬀront’s CRM that I have ever used.” - Evanexperienced implementaƟon team can Rosenﬁeld, Director of MarkeƟng,help integrate with all types of back American Security Programs, Inc.oﬃce applicaƟons. All of this translatesinto lower cost of total ownership. For more informaƟon, please visit the Soﬀront website, www.soﬀront.com.Lower implementaƟon cost, ease of Or call the company headquarters in Fremont, California at 1-800-763-3766.customizabilitySoﬀront’s engine is extremely robustand designed to be easily customizable,so Soﬀront implementaƟons are com-pleted in days. With implementaƟoncosts well below industry norms,Soﬀront is well posiƟoned to serve theSMB. AŌer the successful launching,Soﬀront customers are well supportedby the most skilled engineers, 24 hoursa day, 7 days a week. Soﬀront’s pricingis some of the most compeƟƟve in theindustry, giving users a high return ontheir investment.A CRM pioneer in the SMBFew companies can match Soﬀront’slength and breadth of service to theSMB. Soﬀront has been serving thismarket since 1992 and oﬀering cloudbased soluƟons for the last seven. With