Web-based or hosted Customer Relationship Management applications have come as a major boon for small businesses that till now were loath to even consider CRM for their businesses. This was because the cost of on-premise CRM was simply too much for SMBs.

The advent of web-based CRM has enabled SMBs to enjoy the benefits of CRM at a fraction of the cost of on-premise CRM. Businesses, big or small essentially have the same requirements from a CRM system. SMBs now have an application suite at their disposal which enables them to take on the big players in their business.

Earlier, small businesses were forced to run their businesses based on thumb rules and play by the ear as far as marketing strategies for customers were concerned. SMBs had to make do with spreadsheets and discrete software loaded on different machines which made it very difficult to extract information out of data.

Benefits of web-based CRM software for an SMB include

1) Low cost of installation and low TCO – The most attractive proposition for an SMB. Low entry costs since costs depend upon number of users and modules selected. Also, the costs get defrayed across a number of users who use the hosted software.

2) Ease of implementation – Far easier to implement as compared to on-premise CRM. You can select the modules best suited for your business. There are vendors that offer pre-customized hosted CRM for different verticals. Businesses get more time to secure user buy-in.

3) Accessibility – A huge plus with hosted CRM is that you can conduct business on the move so long as you have internet connectivity. Salespersons have the right data at the right time. Lead conversion can be streamlined. Telemarketing is facilitated.

4) Minimum or no server requirements – Web-based CRM does not make any infrastructure demands of an SMB. This frees space which can be used for other purposes. IT staff requirement is minimized, which is an additional cost saving.

5) Data security – An SMB may not be best equipped to handle the security of sensitive business information and customer data. But a hosted CRM provider has the capabilities to encrypt data and ensure data security through prevention of hack attacks of any kind.

SMBs now have the means to conduct business on the move with the help of online CRM. So, whether you are a high-growth or a mid-market company, an e-tailer or a service provider you have access to a CRM that will empower your business. Look around before you decide on the CRM best suited for your business. Many online CRM solutions, especially the open source ones are offered free. Some vendors offer a single-user solution for free.

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