The ways cloud-based CRM can help small businesses in our work-from-home world
by Ellen Brezniak, Chief Customer Officer, Act!
Since 2020, a work-from-home wave has washed across the country. Professionals who spent years commuting to an office and driving to in-person meetings every day, suddenly found themselves juggling their responsibilities from home. While the pandemic that sparked this remote work revolution is fading, it’s clear that many businesses will never return to the office full-time. For small business owners, managing a remote or hybrid workforce can be a balancing act. Small businesses often operate on tight margins, and many leaders have found themselves wondering if remote work will impact team productivity or hurt their bottom line. Fortunately, small businesses can lean on cloud-based CRM solutions and other tools to effectively manage their workforces no matter where they are.
Get the Basics Right
Despite the differences in venue, there are universal characteristics shared between remote and in-person work. In both cases, the quality of the work is only as good as the people who do it, and the tools they use. As a starting point, small businesses should confirm their work-from-home employees have fast internet and properly working devices to ensure they can access online resources and be seen and heard clearly on video calls. Beyond that, cloud-based applications can be utilized to ensure a team is able to work cooperatively and efficiently.
CRM and the Cloud
CRM software is often the backbone of a small business, moving client lists from Excel spreadsheets and old-fashioned rolodexes into a centralized system. CRM solutions can track every interaction a business has with its clients, providing team-wide visibility into their needs and ensuring nothing slips through the cracks. A CRM solution with marketing automation capabilities can also step-up client communications, making it easy for businesses to automate clear and personalized messages with just a few keystrokes. Many small business owners already rely on an on-premise CRM solution to help keep their business organized. Embracing the cloud means giving employees access to the organizational benefits of CRM no matter where they are.
Better Peace of Mind
Cloud computing apps are designed for business continuity and disaster recovery. While businesses of all sizes should have appropriate backup solutions in case of data loss, this often proved to be an expensive mission for small businesses and the partners they use to manage their IT infrastructure. With cloud technology, even the smallest businesses can enjoy a future-proof backup solution that saves time and reduces large upfront expenditures.
Always Up to Date
Traditional IT also requires constant upgrades of hardware and software. This “rip and replace” mentality means prohibitive costs and an overwhelming amount of work every three to five years when systems need an upgrade. Since cloud-based solutions are hosted entirely by third-party companies like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, they take care of all the maintenance, bug fixes, and other annoyances. All small business owners and their teams need to do is click on an update, restart their computers, and reap the benefits. With no hassle (or extra costs) from an IT department, small businesses can have the very latest technology available at their fingertips in seconds, whether working from home or the office.
Cloud-based apps are often designed to work nicely with each other. Most cloud-based CRM solutions have integrations that allow applications commonly used by small businesses – like QuickBooks, Calendly, and Microsoft Outlook – to easily communicate. When these tools work together, they can create a centralized hub for business operations that is accessible and easy to navigate for all employees, no matter where they are.
Making the jump to hybrid work is a challenge for businesses of all sizes. The challenge can be particularly steep for small businesses, where time and resources are often hard to come by. However, small business owners that take the time to implement a cloud-based CRM solution will reap the rewards, unlocking new levels of flexibility and productivity for themselves and their employees.
Original post here.