Should you use a free CRM?

Do you need a cloud CRM?

You can genuinely ask yourself if a cloud CRM is worth using.

Here are the main scenarios which you could currently be experiencing:

 

 The 3 scenarios:

1) Your company’s strength is in delivering great goods or services to the market, not maintain and secure servers and databases, let alone run updates, backups and restores.
2) You do not want a CRM which will take over 3 months to install and implement.
3) You need a CRM which will keep up with latest technology trends and update itself automaticaly, at no extra cost and without affecting the work you made on it.

 

You are convinced of its usefulness, you even know what a CRM is and the features you need.

 

In principle, not having the budget to buy a CRM infrastructure is very common.

You may represent a young company that must obviously make financial “choices” in terms of investment. Hardware, OS and Database Software is clearly not your priority. Internet and the SAAS model have democratized the access and use of digital tools so much, that it becomes almost inconceivable that a on-premise CRM pays itself off on its purchased version.

Take emailing campaigns for example. A free tool like Mailchimp does the job very well when you have a reduced contact base (less than 2000 contacts) and only need to send a monthly newsletter to these contacts.

But by digging a little deeper through your quest for the ideal cloud CRM (“ideal” meaning 100% matching your needs ), you are gradually becoming aware of the features you may need on short and longterm – if you forsee your future business needs (indeed, we encourage your business to grow!). For the record, all Customer Relationship Management (CRM) have the same purpose: the management of the customer relations. More precisely, allowing to centralize and manage all your contacts, record your interactions, manage and feed a sales forecast (pipeline). 

You do not have an unlimited budget

If your needs and processes are simple then you’ll be spoiled for choice among the many cloud CRM tools available. However, be careful not to oversee the word “simple”. A CRM will allow you to streamline your business processes, save time and productivity, improve your prospection. Short-term benefits that will help optimize the quality of your relationship customer and mechanically increase your revenue or margins. You will be undeniably more efficient everyday. A CRM, when cloud, is a very smart choice. This tool is not only reserved for the SME who must manage a sales team. It is highly recommended and widely available to the small businesses or even the sole trader. 

You do not want to invest in additional employees for such a tool

There are two main reasons why you may not want to invest in a on-premise CRM: you either do not perceive the profitability of such Equipment in the short/medium term, or you do not have the necessary budget. In both cases, the cloud CRM will suit you perfectly to the extent that it requires no investment. In terms of choice, select the one you like the most “ergonomically speaking” and get started! If you are “looking for a price”, by basing your argument on the high cost of some market leading CRM, compare with what is comparable. Start by listing the features you are looking for in the tool and make a quick overview of software prices on the market. It is clear that many paid CRMs are quite affordable. The SAAS model has significantly reduced the investment. It is now possible to equip an advanced CRM less than 20 € / month … 240 € / year per user. If you are reluctant to invest, here is some perspective: this investment is cheaper than a monthly mobile phone subscription. It is therefore important to clearly define your needs and of understand what you get for this price. All CRMs are not for all companies: BtoB, BtoC, multi structure, billing, franchise and many other features will .    

You need a simple CRM (Does simple mean cheap?)

Every user wants his CRM to be easy to use. We mean simple: intuitive, easy to use and specially easy to setup and evolve. Let’s be clear, cheap does not mean that the CRM will be simple but rather “simplified”. Functional coverage will be reduced to its simplest use: managing a limited base of contacts and a sales pipeline. If the volume of your contacts is low (less than 200), the cheap CRM will do more than enough. If you do not want to automate certain actions and you are alone, the collaborative aspect of the software will not matter to you. You will not require your CRM to connect your other tools (ERP/ Support/ Project Management) … In short, cheap means, limited in functionality and number of contacts. The cheap CRM will track your customers and possibly your quotes and invoices and in a very limited way.  Updates might require a re-installation and your webserver’s php version might not be compatible with your updated CRM.

Summary:

Try to think long-term when choosing your CRM. You may be a sole trader today, but what about tomorrow? How will the CRM support your growth? What is the cost implication of taking additional licenses or importing a large volume of contacts? Will you need to add a pay-for-play tool for email marketing? Getting started on a cheaper tool can be a good idea but anticipating the evolution of your business can save you a lot of trouble later.

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