Technology for MSMEs: Typically, CRM systems tend to cater to large enterprises and later launch a lite model ‘suited’ to SME or startup space.
- By Sheshgiri Kamath
Technology for MSMEs: SMEs and startups have unique challenges of their own. This makes their software requirements very unique. Typically, customer relationship management (CRM) systems tend to cater to large enterprises and later launch a lite model ‘suited’ to SME or startup space. However, this creates gaps both in terms of business requirements and platform compatibility. A CRM system should not only cater to all the unique requirements of SMEs and startups, but it should also scale with the business as it grows. Moreover, an efficient CRM platform for this segment should be:
A CRM tool today should be truly omnichannel. It should be able to integrate with a phone, email, different social media platforms, websites, blogs and any other online or offline source. Without this, a huge inefficiency is created.
In today’s interconnected ecosystem where every device is real-time connected to the internet all the time, APIs have never been more important. A relevant CRM should be able to connect with any third-party system through simple ready-to-use APIs. Whether you want to push sales data into your billing system or pull an invoice from your accounting software, APIs should help you achieve that.
Cloud-based, Device Agnostic
A good CRM programme should be accessible from anywhere and on any device. The cloud today ensures that you are running the latest and greatest version of the CRM at all times. Whether you use a mobile device, a desktop or a laptop, the CRM user experience and functionality should be the same. SMEs also need not invest in expensive hardware and any dedicated resources for managing irrelevant infrastructure.
Startups and SMEs need to be very return-on-investment driven. While the tendency is to look at software as a cost, its benefits should clearly justify the investment. The idea isn’t to cut down the cost and implement a cheaper platform. It should be to look for a product that’s the right fit and will help you grow your business (sales, service etc.) in a very measurable way. Even if you are paying more for a certain CRM, it needs to be justified in terms of functionality and outcome.
Secure & Robust
Security used to be the area of concern for large enterprises. However, SMEs and startups now are looking at security differently, especially in the current era with so many privacy concerns. When SMEs are competing with larger players, they need to offer the same grade of security to their customers. Data and IP security are sacrosanct and customers expect this to be a prerequisite.
Whatever you choose, you also need to ensure that your team builds a process and use cases around it. The CRMs benefit only comes when they are fully utilized.
(Sheshgiri Kamath is the Co-founder & CEO at Kapture CRM. Views expressed are the author’s own.)