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Original Post From Shadra Bruce

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a top priority for most midsize businesses, and it often falls to IT to determine and implement the best customer relationship management solutions to meet the company's goals. Ultimately, CRM can be used to engage with customers, increase loyalty, improve service response, and grow business - goals every business must consider to remain competitive and viable in a globally connected marketplace.

Choosing a CRM Solution

Many factors go in to deciding what CRM solution will work best in a midsize business environment. There are multiple options, from desktop software models to cloud-based services. Cloud-based (hosted) CRMs are the fastest-growing segment, offering highly flexible and customizable solutions. When choosing a CRM, consider which of the following services will be needed:

A comprehensive lead management resource that tracks incoming leads through every stage of the marketing process
Contact management and tracking
Easy conversion of leads to active accounts once sales are made
Robust data collection capability
Thorough reporting and analytics
Calendar and scheduling options to drive marketing efforts
Customer service tools that improve response time and access to information
Automation of laborious marketing and communication tasks

Benefits of Employing Customer Relationship Management Solutions

The proliferation of the Internet and social media, which has revolutionized customer interaction, has also brought along with it the intimidating issue of how to handle all the different platforms through which midsize businesses connect with their customers and all the different pieces of information collected. How do IT managers at midsize businesses manage all the culled data and use it to grow business and increase brand loyalty? How can IT prevent the business from simply drowning in data and becoming ineffective?

The true power of a CRM solution is its ability to expand reach without increasing labor costs. Many of the marketing and data management functions that would otherwise be done manually are automated using CRM, from data collection and reporting to lead follow up. This in turn will free resources - both in IT and in marketing - to refine focus. Midsize business IT departments can focus on enhancing and customizing the CRM solution and improving business analytics and reporting to gain even better perspective on targets, while marketing can spend more time nurturing the best leads without wasting as much time vetting them.

Ultimately, the CRM solution implemented will be determined based on budget and integration capability, and the flexibility of the CRM to be customized for the industry or business. But consider as well the importance of choosing a solution that offers the external support needed to properly leverage the power of the chosen CRM.

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Vijay Nachimuthu

By Vijay Nachimuthu

Vijay Nachimuthu is a Managing Principal of AltaFlux. His blogs mainly focuses on latest cloud technology trends and its impact on enterprises.