Customer relationship management (CRM) software has the ability to manage a company’s interaction with all current and potential customers. By collecting, analyzing and leveraging data, CRM improves client relationships, retention and sales growth in a systematic manner.
CRM platforms can compile data from a variety of communication channels, such as the company website, telephone, social media, email and live chat. Waste management and environmental services companies have been using CRM for years as it’s a powerful way to gain insight into target audiences and how to best meet their needs.
Is CRM Software Worth It?
The global CRM industry is currently valued at around $56 billion, and 91% of companies with 11 or more employees use some form of CRM software. Strangely, the waste management industry has been a slow adopter of this technology. However, current and future industry leaders clearly see the business advantage of waste service specific CRM platforms and have been using them successfully for some time.
According to a Forrester study, when used appropriately, CRM produces impressive ROI results, such as:
- Sales productivity improvement by 5%
- Consultation time reduction of 10%
- 2% revenue increase
- Customer service labor costs cut by 40%
- Overall labor costs down by 20%
- Marketing budgets saved at least $75,000
On-Premise Vs. Cloud Based CRM
The two main types of CRM are on-premise vs. cloud based. On-premise systems are built within the physical boundaries of the company, and the entire system database lives on in-house company servers. This setup is most often used by entities requiring the strictest data control (e.g. banks, insurance companies, top level security government agencies, etc.). The software is usually acquired as a single up-front purchase.
Cloud based CRM software connects a business to the software system via the Internet, and typically these services are paid for via a monthly or yearly subscription. Company data is stored on secure, third party servers instead of on-site.
Modern CRM Users Heavily Favor the Cloud
In 2007, only 12% of CRM systems were based in the cloud. Today, over 87% of CRM software is cloud based as is over 75% of total CRM spend. The reason for this dramatic shift is the clear superiority of cloud based offerings. Let’s take a look at some individual factors that have been driving this change.
The issue of data security wears two faces. On one hand, you want to prevent cyber criminals from accessing key business and client data. The second concern is making sure you keep data safe from getting lost or damaged. Today, only the most sensitive industries tend to maintain on-premise CRM systems. This is mostly to prevent data corruption or theft. However, cloud based system security has reached a very high level due to advanced encryption methods.
Keeping data safe from getting lost or damaged is another concern. Most reliable cloud based servers have a second or even third redundant geographically distant backup. This can also improve uptime which in many cases is guaranteed for up to 99.99%. Cloud service uptime may actually be superior to on-premise CRM because if your on-site system goes down, you could be off-platform for days.
On-premise systems are exactly that: limited to the business site. However, if you want to log onto the platform remotely, it’s impossible – or it requires complex and expensive adaptation. On the other hand, cloud based CRM systems offer easy access to the platform from anywhere, 24/7. For the modern mobile worker – or if you need to catch-up on the weekend at home – this is a huge advantage.
Custom and Industry Specific Needs
It would be foolish to think that a one-size-fits-all CRM solution exists. If a brand has the need for a flexible, fully custom platform, then an on-premise package might work best. However, you need to have highly skilled IT staff to be able to make changes quickly, or spend on outsourcing the job. In most cases, frequent customization of CRM is only required for very niche brands or those with a high level of tech sophistication.
Even though you can’t modify cloud based CRM on your end, one way to improve the chances of compatibility is to implement an industry specific system. For the waste management and environmental services industry, this means teaming up with a CRM provider with deep experience in waste management. This greatly increases the likelihood that the software will understand and meet your specific needs.
Relevance: A Moving Target
If a rule of thumb exists for the digital age, it’s that everything always changes. This means that upgrades and updates to systems get rolled out frequently. For an on-premise system, this may mean a costly and slow manual upgrade. Or you may have to pay for improvements. Cloud based CRM, however, usually installs all upgrades for free as part of the subscription package. As new iterations appear, cloud systems get updated faster.
If your company plans to grow rapidly, then you have to build an on-premise system capable of absorbing future growth. The other option is to expand the platform as you grow, which will incur new IT service costs and additional installment time.
When your system lives in the cloud, scaling may be as easy as adding new users with a few clicks online. Most packages have rates based on per user fee scales or by incremental batches of growth.
The up front cost to install an on-premise CRM can be significant. The process includes software installation, and in some cases, hardware to accommodate servers and user stations. However, once the system is in place, day-to-day costs are minimal. Still, if any repairs or upgrades are required, this could imply an additional cost.
Cloud based CRMs are provided on monthly subscription plans. The plans include roll-out, training, updates and troubleshooting. If your in-house tech team is limited, cloud solutions offer a major advantage. Many companies prefer subscription plans since there are less surprises, and the service can be included easily into the operational budget.
The PegEx Platform
Bring your waste management company up to the speed of digital with the PegEx Platform, a CRM and business management software solution built specifically for waste management companies. To learn more and to get a FREE demo, call PegEx at (888) 681-9616 or click here to watch an overview video and request a free demo.