For any marketing team in any business domain, the customer is the focus area of the business. After all, they are the ones who pay your bills and employee salaries.
Ask any Manager about the most valuable asset for their business; their responses would be centered about assets including brands, trademarks, technology, products, or employees, all of which are focused towards a single objective: acquiring more customers.
While 34% of customer loss for any business is due to factors such customers going out of business or switching to a better competitor product, a major 66% leave due to poor customer engagement or customer support. Industry figures estimate that while 80% of companies believe that they are providing exceptional customer service, only 8% of their customers agree with this.
This article outlines the importance of customer relationship management (or CRM) to business, along with the popular and cost-effective solutions that are available in the market.
Importance of CRM
Customer Relationship Management (or CRM) is a technology-based solution which is designed to improve business relationship with existing customers, along with finding new customers and regaining former customers.
An effective CRM solution, when implemented properly, can help in:
• Improving your customer relationship
Ensuring customer satisfaction is among the primary benefits of CRM, which can be done by executing product selling & marketing, along with customer servicing in an organized manner. Additional measures to ensure customer satisfaction is through continuous customer feedback and communication. Customer service provides value by connecting with customers using innovative methods.
• Increasing customer revenues
As a marketing personnel, CRM can enable you to increase customer revenues for your company. Use of Lead-to-Revenue Management (L2RM) focuses on generating higher revenue by identifying sales opportunities through a customer lifecycle.
• Additional uses
Additional uses and benefits of a CRM implementation include the opportunity to maximize product upselling and cross-selling based on previous purchases, along with estimated the right time to market your product based on the customer’s behaviour and needs.
While most businesses and marketing teams agree on the importance of CRM solutions to achieve customer focus, they are unable to justify their investment into the right solution due to cost factors.
The following section evaluates the best of free or cost-effective CRM solutions that business enterprise can consider.
Best of the cost-effective CRM solutions
Primarily, there are two types of CRM solutions available in the market, categorized as:
• Free CRM solutions, which are free but place limits or caps on the number of licensed users, allowed storage, or features.
• Open source CRM solutions where customer support is priced and offers fully-functional CRM features and are easily configurable for business.
Listed below are the most feature-rich and cost-effective CRM solutions:
Positioned as the open source alternative to SugarCRM, SuiteCRM combines the features of the SugarCRM Community Edition and Open Source add-ons to make it fully functional in capabilities. Priced at around $2,000 for a year of dedicated customer support, SuiteCRM offers free support through online forums. SuiteCRM version 7.10, released in February 2018 is packed with enhanced features including a Refined SuiteP theme, the Survey Management module, and a new set of API functions.
Free to use for two users along with 10MB of storage and 250 contacts, CapsuleCRM is available for upgrade at $12 per user for a month. Among its best features, CapsuleCRM has an expanding API architecture, which enables this CRM tool to integrate seamlessly with external software programs including MailChimp, FreshBooks, and Gmail.
Marketed as the leading vendor for online small businesses, the Insightly CRM solution is free for two users, along with 200MB of storage and 2,500 customer records. Economical to upgrade at $12 per user for a month, Insightly offers an efficient Email marketing module as compared to other CRM solutions.
• Really Simple Systems
Rated highly for its superior customer support, Really Simple Systems, as the name suggests, is easy and intuitive to use and is free to download and install for two users, which also includes 100 business accounts along with unlimited contacts, 100MB of storage, and free customer support.
Among the most affordable CRM solutions available in the market, FreeCRM is a web-based solution, meaning business does not need an expensive and time-consuming infrastructure to
host this solution. The free version is available for 100 users, along with 1 million contacts, with the upgrade priced at around $30 per user for a month.
Implementing an effective CRM strategy is critical for business enterprises in a dynamic business world with evolving customer expectations. Companies can follow the recommendations, made in this article, to invest in the right CRM solution that can help them devise the right approach towards their customers.
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