CRM systems have come a long way since their inception over a decade and a half ago. These days, namely due to the rapid advancements in technology, CRM systems are better coined as all-in-one software solutions that are ultimately inspired by pioneers like those behind the intuitive Apple user interface.
As technology expands to meet the needs of end users, and as it certainly becomes more affordable, more end users are relying upon SaaS to help meet or exceed their small business goals. In enters CRM systems and the laundry list of features and functionality that they offer.
But not all CRM systems are equal by any means. Forbes advises that one be scrupulous and diligent when seeking the right system for their needs. With so many different solutions out there, it begs the question: What features and functionality of CRM are serving to attract this influx of small business users?
Previous CRM systems that were not hosted in the cloud struggled with updates, a slow and sluggish operating system, at behest of the user, and the inability to store files in the safety of the cloud. With newer cloud hosting options, all of these woes vanish in favor of a more capable system.
The CRM systems of the present day are replete with software integrations to suit any small business’ needs. This includes things like accounting modules, inventory management, shipping and returns software, analytics and just about everything in between.
With social integrations being at the forefront of new CRM systems, the ability to find and nurture leads has never been better. Being able to monitor social streams, find trending hash tags and integrate directly from one platform with the ability to post network-wide status updates is unprecedented.
Email marketing is a still a very viable and popular choice for businesses of all sizes. Whether that’s list outreach via opt-in lists or by using an organic newsletter subscribe list. Having the ability to manage and contact prospective customers via email from one platform is uncannily useful.
Branding is everything these days. But a lot of businesses struggle to monitor their brand online. Newer CRM systems help you improve your branding and reputation while keeping you informed of what is being said about your business online, so you can respond and mediate in a timely manner.
The ability to back-up and securely store files and applications in the cloud is game changing for technology. Never before have files been more secure and more accessible than they are today. And it’s all because of the cloud.
Let’s not overlook project management, a key staple of CRM. But the newer systems take it to a whole different level. With real-time chat, video and photo sharing, file sharing, calendars and task lists, the entire organization can be on the same page at all times.
Last but certainly not least, there are smartphone integrations. No longer does a person have to be in front of their laptop or desktop computer just to access their CRM files. Rather, with smartphone integration, this can all be done via their handset. One can imagine how useful this simple feature can turn out to be for any networker.
As you can see, CRM systems have come a long way in just 10 years or so. As more time passes, and as technology progresses, it’s anyone’s guess at what the next evolution will bring.