An important aspect of business growth is the ability to effectively track and prioritize your leads, relationships, and opportunities. In the early phases of a company, these activities are often tracked manually. However, as your business grows and you acquire more leads, clients, or customers, a manual approach to organizing and tracking such vital information within your company will no longer serve your growth initiatives effectively.
If your company needs a more efficient, reliable, and time-effective solution for managing your business opportunities and customer relationships, then investing in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is great business decision, no matter the size of your company.
The two main types of CRM systems that you should research and compare are: Open Source CRMs and Paid CRMs. To help you decide which CRM system will best benefit you and your business, here are the pros and cons of each type of CRM.
Open Source CRM
Open Source CRM systems are growing in popularity, particularly among small and medium sized businesses. An Open Source CRM operates in a hosted, cloud environment that makes the system easy to access and use through a mere internet connection.
The pros to contemplate while conducting your research of free CRM systems include:
1. Free CRM solution setup with affordable monthly licensing fees
One of the most appealing aspects of an Open Source CRM system is that you do not have to factor upfront hardware costs or ongoing server maintenance into your budget. Open Source solutions are free to set up, and offer affordable monthly fees based on the number of licenses you need for users.
2. Simple customization for your business needs
Open Source CRMs are easy to customize to your business needs, and help you stay organized and on track in your client relations.
3. No contracts or costly commitments
Commercial CRM companies typically require a contract in order to use their system and programs. However, with Open Source CRM solutions, you are not under contract, and do not have to continue using the system if it is not working for your business.
There are some downsides, however, to free CRM.
1. Dependency on uptime and support
One of the disadvantages of using an Open Source CRM system is that you are dependent on the uptime and support of a third party.
2. Fewer fancy functions and options
Open Source CRM systems are not yet known for their aesthetics, but changes and advances are happening frequently that could soon alter this.
A paid CRM is ideal for larger companies who have adequate and knowledgeable IT staff to manage and maintain the on-site hardware that is required with this type of CRM solution.
There are also other pros and cons to consider in preparing for a paid CRM system integration, including:
The advantages of a paid CRM can be great, and, depending on your business needs, can make a world of difference.
1. Increased infrastructure and data control
A paid CRM is an attractive option for companies that desire increased data control or must abide by stringent compliance regulations for managing and storing large amounts of very sensitive or private date.
2. On-premise hardware
Purchasing and housing all the hardware for a commercial CRM system can be costly, but it also gives you full control over your system through your own IT employees.
3. Dedicated support
When you purchase a CRM system for your business, you will have access to a dedicated support team who can help you navigate complex integrations, troubleshoot issues, and answer any questions you have as you use the system.
Here are a few of the downsides of a paid CRM system.
1. Significant upfront costs
Perhaps the most significant disadvantage of using a paid CRM is the upfront funds needed to purchase all the hardware and begin using the system. While such an expense may feasibly fit into the budget of a larger company, many smaller businesses are not able to afford this option at their current level.
2. Hardware and server maintenance
A paid CRM solution requires your company to maintain all the hardware and manage the servers. If you do not have a skilled IT staff, then this type of solution will be much more difficult to implement, manage, and use to your benefit.
There are numerous CRM systems available, and to select the one that best suits your needs it is a good practice to define the manual work that is slowing down your team’s productivity, research all the options, and deliberate the pros and cons of each solution. Our TopAdvisor CRM Buyer’s Guide is a great tool to reference as you make your CRM decisions come to life in your business.