I recently met “Joe”, a small business owner who is having issues with his Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Joe has a CRM software application designed for small businesses, and it is installed locally.
Over the years Joe’s customer base has increased, and so has the amount of data in his CRM system database. The software he is currently using is outdated. As the amount of data increases, the system performance decreases. In the past, when Joe upgraded the tool, he lost some data.
Joe and his team of 6 employees are too busy and don’t have time to look into another CRM software to replace this one.
When he described the situation, I realized there are probably several small business owners having similar issues. In a recent article Anita Campbell mentioned that the number one technology challenge of small business owners is to find the time to evaluate new technology.
CRM Cloud Software Options
In the last few years, several cloud based CRM software solutions targeting small and midsize businesses (SMBs) have reached the market. Cloud based solutions are great for SMBs for several reasons:
Sara Angeles’ article Best CRM Software 2015 has information on more than 50 options for small businesses.
What are your requirements?
Before you move on to a new cloud based solution:
How to Migrate to a New CRM Solution
Software migrations are challenging. Big companies hire consultants, spend a significant amount of time and resources planning it, and when they think they are ready, they flip a switch (disable the old system and enable the new one). Business is disrupted for a few days, but big companies can afford some level of disruption.
A small business, however, cannot afford disruption. It is possible to make great progress with appropriate planning and combining different approaches, such as:
What happened to Joe?
After our conversation about his challenges I sent him an email suggesting the approaches I listed here, combined with a list of CRM solutions and the yearly cost for each of them. He replied to my email, thanking me for the suggestion. He really liked the idea of moving top customers to the new system, and adding other accounts over time. He said I definitely gave him something to think about!
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