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With so many on-premise CRM providers scrambling to develop an online version of their product, it’s clear that cloud-based CRM solutions are now the industry standard. Oh, you haven’t moved to the cloud yet? Um...well...this is awkward. 

Ok we’ve regrouped. It’s ok. You still have time, just. Here’s the reality: your competitors are already experiencing the benefits of an online CRM solution, are probably crushing you in deals, and are streamlining their businesses at the same time. 

So if you're still evaluating the benefits of a new CRM solution, or even worse have never had a CRM, here’s 5 reasons why taking your CRM online makes sense.

1. A single view of the customer

If you adopt an online CRM system you'll immediately avoid some of the problems of legacy solutions. You'll no longer have different versions of the same spreadsheet being used by different people; everyone has access to up-to-date contact details. Cloud computing keeps all your data and documents in one place, with everyone working on the same version – reducing potential errors and mismatches. It can even encourage collaboration in your business.

Reports can quickly be generated and dashboards can help you keep an eye on events and changes day-to-day – making sure you are getting a realistic picture of your business circumstances. Collecting the information together in one place makes it easier to forecast sales and track pipeline figures too, giving you a global view of how the business is performing.

2. CRM anywhere, anytime

Sales teams are now more mobile than ever. Whether it’s meeting with clients or simply working remotely, they are rarely stuck at their desks. With on-premise CRM, you might find sales teams only update information when they return to the office. This task can be neglected when work gets busy, and by the time your staff get around to it, the information may not be fresh in their memory. As a result, valuable information about clients could be delayed, out of sync or lost. 

An online CRM system is available on mobile, desktop, tablet – any device that has a data connection. So it’s simple for staff to keep information about prospects and customers up to date, whenever and wherever. Your team members can get the latest information about a market or client before they go into a meeting; they'll have the latest new opportunities at their fingertips, along with an at-a-glance reminder of the client's history and notes from previous meetings and other salespeople. 

3. Lower setup costs and easy implementation

A cloud-based CRM system doesn't need any installation and there's no additional hardware to buy and maintain, helping to keep infrastructure costs low. You'll avoid the headache of version control and having to manage scheduled downtime for software updates. As a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product, it’s priced based on the number of licences and the features required, so you only pay for the service you use – no additional overheads for hardware that you have to manage and maintain. 

Using a cloud-based CRM system is easy too. It works within a browser window, so the interface is familiar and intuitive for staff. Updating and growing your system is a breeze – new features and functions can be switched on and made instantly available to users, with no installation work required. And while we can’t guarantee all online CRM solutions come with everything you need to get started, Salesforce certainly does. You’ll find a huge wealth of information and documentation on the same cloud-based platform, including plenty of guides, training, videos and webinars for you and your users. 

4. Scalable online systems can grow with you

Every business wants to grow, and new technology means that the path from a start-up project to a global company is shorter than ever. A key advantage of online CRM systems is the opportunity to add more and more users as your business grows – without replacing or upgrading your software. 

You can also increase the number of features you use as your business becomes more sophisticated and workflows change. A suite of powerful and versatile apps allow you to expand and evolve the scope of your CRM. You can even create custom apps if required to deliver the exact functionality your growing business needs.

5. Disaster recovery is built in

With an online CRM system it's not just your own backup systems that are off site; the software and data are too. While we can’t speak for other providers, with Salesforce you'll have the reassurance of knowing that security, maintenance and disaster recovery are managed to the highest possible standards. That means your senior IT managers can focus on strategic decisions rather than managing routine backup tasks.

If you're considering CRM systems you'll discover that moving to the cloud brings a wide range of benefits, whether you’re looking for a more joined-up workflow for your teams, the ability to automate more routine tasks, or you simply want a deeper understanding of your customers’ needs and preferences. Online CRM from Salesforce gives your business a customer-first focus from marketing and sales right through to customer service. 

Find out more about why choosing an online cloud-based system could work for your business and everything you need to get started in your complete CRM handbook