“Our IT group doesn’t seem to be serving our Sales and Marketing teams very well, and we don’t know how to fix it.” (Stephen M., C.E.O., Technology Company)
We have heard this complaint many times, and we at Beyond Revenue believe the solution is not to ‘fix’ IT. Frequently the problem is not with the IT group, but with the systems and infrastructure they are forced to manage and the Sales, Marketing, and Customer Support teams are required to use. In a number of cases, we determined that a Cloud based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution would ameliorate most of the issues. Let’s examine some common problems and learn how a SaaS solution can be a powerful improvement.
Multiple Teams Need Unique Deployments: Many companies have multiple sales, marketing, professional services and customer service teams. Their CRM system requirements vary based on product lines, pricing and discount policies, geographies, roles and responsibilities, job requirements, languages, work locations (office, field, customer site, home base, etc.), and other factors. Likely, each team requires a different library of formsets (screens they work in) to enter and manage different kinds of information and data. Most CRM systems have role based logins that provide the user with those formsets required to do their job, but even within work teams there can be variations. For the IT group responsible for administering that software, it can be extremely difficult when multiple on-premise client-server installations are required to run the CRM software. All multiple location software applications require far more IT effort and are more likely to falter or fail at a much higher rate. To modify, integrate, upgrade and maintain multiple deployments of any system is expensive in the beginning, and remains a high risk variable in managing fluid and successful customer relationships. Cloud based SaaS systems allow IT teams to deploy, manage and update/upgrade multiple versions and iterations of a robust CRM application while making the Cloud provider responsible for all server functions and availability. All software application tasks are executed at one site by a team trained to manage the deployments, integrations, modifications, upgrades. Further, the server infrastructure maintenance is handed over to the Cloud vendor, removing a significant portion of the IT load. That alone allows the IT resources to focus on the business execution, rather than the functional execution. Where do you make money? In customer acquisition and retention? Or on server room and software maintenance?
Prospects and Customers Need Your Company to Respond at the Speed of Business: Lead development, demand generation, and successful opportunity execution all require mobility, flexibility, swift responsiveness, and team coordination. As market conditions change, product marketing and sales tools need to adapt to the new environment. The best and most effective way to push new and tailored sales and marketing information to your teams is to do so from a single administration point of a SaaS application, at the speed of the Internet. The same is true for any data about YOU and your competition that makes you most valuable in your markets. Because the whole process of gaining and retaining customers is founded on the ability of your company to understand its customers and their needs, anything less than that will hinder your success. Any changes to product specifications, pricing, and market requirements (think HIPPA in the medical field as an easy example) require your company to push this information to your teams and partners immediately, and an on-premise system are hard pressed to do that. A CRM tool that does not allow you to be aware, trustworthy, open and useful –immediately- is no longer acceptable.
Cloud Based Applications Are More Secure and Reliable than Yours Are: A common concern is and has been that Cloud based applications are vulnerable to security ricks, hacking incursions, and down time. While this was true years ago, the typical Cloud data center today is far more secure and reliable than your on-premise system. Yes, there are notable examples of failures we have all read about, but the overall fail rates for security and availability are amazingly and admirably small. We suggest that you do your own research on this issue, with a portion of your research devoted to the track record of businesses with internal data centers that experienced system availability failures, security breaches, customer confidentiality incidences, and public humiliation. Yes, humiliation and also costly fixes.
Social Media and Its Impact Require You to Change Your Business Model: There is a rich and useful conversation going on about YOU at this very minute, and you may not be aware of it, or its impact. It is between your customers, your prospects, your competitors, and even your employees. The content of the conversation will shape the future of your company in either a good way, or a bad way. This dialogue is very helpful if you can hear it and share it with your teams, and very likely you are not taking full advantage of what social media conversations are offering. Most SaaS vendors have been cognizant of the need to tap into these resources for some time, and they have built all the integrations and links to various sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter et al. You can manage the way this information is used and shared in your company to make the most of this knowledge. Because of the architecture of Cloud systems and SaaS applications, this information is, again, immediate and thus useful. While the experience of joining this conversation can be humbling and sometimes daunting, it is necessary and can be compelling.
We at Beyond Revenue hope that this information proves useful. Much of our professional lives has been devoted to making companies fluent and profitable. Cloud computing and SaaS applications are provocative and compelling topics for any company, large or small, into which you may invest time, thought, and energy. We wish you a productive outcome.
Beyond Revenue Partners, LLC