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SMBs embrace the new wave of cloud CRMs

A new survey suggests that at least 56% of small businesses are now using an online CRM cloud to help manage their business operations.   This is 10% higher than last year and confirms a general trend towards increasing cloud utilization by SMBs as we approach 2016, considered a watermark year for cloud computing.

Cloud hosting is also becoming increasingly popular for small-to-medium sized businesses, which seek to reduce datacenter complexity and pursue an on-demand, utility pricing model.

The survey mentioned earlier, also stated that only 15% of respondents admitted to still having some reservations on the adoption of online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM; a vast improvement on the 23% in last year’s survey.

“From a sample of 685 respondents, the majority from small and medium-sized organizations with less than 50 employees, over half revealed that they believe online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM solutions offer better value than in-house equivalents (up on last year’s 44% to 50.1%),” said the Sacramento Bee.

The survey said that confidence in online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM solutions overall has increased substantially, with 72% of respondents claiming to have more confidence generally that a year ago and 80% saying they thought online CRM, web CRM and small business CRM solutions required less IT support.

LinkedIn has emerged as the most popular tool, capturing nearly 80% of the survey results. Overall, 67% said they used social marketing and nearly 34% said they got a positive ROI from the effort. Nearly 59% said they were unable to measure the success of their social marketing efforts.

A CRM is a valuable contact management and sales progression tool for small businesses that wish to keep track of their customers and sales pipelines.  While Saleforce.com has captured the market in terms of cloud leadership, it can also be expensive. Other players such as ZohoCRM.com offer a free version, which is proving very popular with SMBs.

A cloud CRM can be used as the backoffice tool for an SMB collecting web leads off a cloud hosting platform from Westhost which costs as little as $50 per month for a dedicated 1.2GHz CPU, 752MB of RAM, and 20 GB of storage. In many instances, the cloud CRM will allow you to automate web lead capture by deploying a custom form generated from the CRM on the website.

The incoming inquiries are then automatically deposited in the CRM lead pipeline where sales can work on converting that prospect into a paying customer.   Increasingly, automation is becoming a key goal for both smaller and bigger companies as they seek to reduce staff overhead and increase revenues.  A cloud CRM in tandem with a cloud business website can help with this pursuit.

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