One of the key components of a great business is their ability to create long lasting customer relationships.  In order to achieve this you have integrate sales and customer service seamlessly.   

Many companies turn to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software as a tool to manage this integration, but not all customer management software is created equal.  Businesses interested in improving their overall efficiency and customer loyalty should look at products that fully integrate marketing, sales and customer service. 

With such a wide variety of CRM software available, it can be difficult for business owners to choose the correct solution for their company. At their core, all CRM systems are designed to complete the same basic tasks: manage contacts, add activities, tag emails, and view a sales pipeline.  But basic tasks are not going to enable you to become a more efficient sales and service organization.  You need more.  You need a consolidated database that allows you to capture, track, manage and share customer information throughout your organization.  Only then can your organization see a 360 degree view of your customers profile and react quickly to new business opportunities and service inquiries. 

Small business owners have a tendency to select basic low cost CRM solutions that offer the ability to manage contacts and follow-up on new sales opportunities. This is because they do not fully understand the benefits of a fully integrated system or they are concerned that the cost of a comprehensive solution is simply too expensive for them.  The fact is however that today there are several high quality affordable solutions for both small and mid-size businesses.  In addition, these solutions enable the customer to tailor the applications by adding custom fields, creating custom views of data and generating custom reports. These features that are not available  with low cost solutions can cost only a few dollars more per month with a fully integrated CRM system. 

Another key benefit of selecting a comprehensive  on line CRM solution is the ability to access customer data anytime and anywhere using any PC, Mac or mobile device.  This immediate access to customer data has a substantial impact on the image and the quality of service you provide your current and potential new customers.  While you competition is waiting to get back to the office to collect their leads or return a call to their customer you’ve already been in touch with them. 

In order to choose the CRM software that's right for your business  take the time to outline your specific business requirements, where you are today, where you want to be and what you need to get you there.  Select a system that’s also easy to use, has a clean intuitive user interface and integrates with Microsoft desktop applications like E-Mail, Word, Excel and Outlook which are traditionally used by people throughout the company, but don’t stop here.   Make sure the company your select also has a track record for providing world class customer service.  You should expect a 24/7 web-based customer knowledge base, quick response to questions or issues, and personal guidance for tailoring the CRM software to fit your specific business needs. This is what a comprehensive CRM solution will provide.