Cloud-Based CRM Solutions

What is a Cloud-Based CRM Solution?

What does it mean to have a “cloud-based” CRM solution?  Simply put, it means that your database is residing on someone else’s server.  That means someone else is responsible for ensuring the security of your CRM database as well as backups in the event of data loss.  Having your CRM database in the cloud means peace of mind – if your office has a catastrophic incident (earthquake, robbery, server crash), your database is still safe.

Salesforce.com is a Cloud Based CRM

The most popular cloud-based CRM is Salesforce.com.  And there is good reason for that as Salesforce.com provides a solid, highly reliable CRM solution.  The modules that come with Salesforce.com without any customization include Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities and Reports. 

What is Salesforce.com AppExchange?

Salesforce.com also has a huge AppExchange where there are thousands of add-on products to extend the functionality of Salesforce.com.  Think of the AppExchange like the Apple App Store – you can go there and search on things like Dashboards or ERP integration and you will find many products that allow you to connect Salesforce.com with your accounting system.

Act! vs. Salesforce.com

Act! is also a great hybrid solution.  With Act!, you can have your database in the cloud and access it in the exact same way you would access a Salesforce.com database.  But with Act!, you can also have a copy of that database on your server and/or your laptop.  When you do this, you would install the Windows-based Act! software, which gives you a lot more functionality than any browser based CRM solution.  So that means when you are in your office, you can open Act! just like you open Outlook or Excel or any other Windows-based software.  Cool functionality like Rt Click is available in Windows-based programs that isn’t available with a browser-only solution.  One of the other great benefits of having a hybrid solution is that your Windows-based copy of your Act! database will work when the Internet is down.  So, if you have a copy of the Act! database on your laptop, that means you can on a plane or anywhere were getting Internet is difficult.  These Act! databases are called syncing remote databases.  That means that they sync back to the cloud-based main database in order to send and receive changes to the Act! database.  And you can even automate these syncs using the Act! Scheduler.

The Benefits of Act! Hybrid Solution

By using Act! as a hybrid solution, you get the benefits of the cloud – so you can access your database from any browser in the world.  Having Act! in the cloud also gives you the ability to link other web-based softwares which is functionality like the Salesforce.com AppExchange.  Act! also has an iPhone and Droid app called Act! Companion that shows you all of your contacts and activities.

Integrating Microsoft with Salesforce.com or Act!

With both Act! and Salesforce.com cloud-based solution, you can still integrate Microsoft Outlook.  This means that important emails can get copied from Outlook into your CRM with just the click of a button.

At CRM Total Solutions, one of our roles as your consultant is to make sure we help you figure out which CRM is right for you and your team.  Understanding when and how you need to access your CRM database is a very critical part of that.