The term “enterprise CRM” can be confusing for someone who has just started searching for CRM solutions for their business. With so many vendors offering so many editions, it’s easy to get confused when trying to decide if a business needs enterprise CRM.
To make matters even more confusing, some vendors offer enterprise CRM, but call it by a different name. This has led some people to believe that CRM and enterprise CRM are the same thing, just with a different volume of licenses. While they do share certain features, there are vast differences between enterprise CRM and standard CRM products. Understanding these differences should make it easier for a business to decide which solution best fits their needs.
CRM for SMBs and Mid-Market
Systems such as Nimble, Capsule CRM, and Highrise are typically targeted toward smaller, less complex organizations. With smaller businesses, there are usually fewer people who interact directly with the customers. In most small-business settings, the bulk of customer interactions are carried out by the sales and marketing departments. As such, these CRM vendors focus more on the needs of the salespeople with features like contact management and calendars. These standard CRM editions have a limited feature set, and are primarily useful for businesses with a single sales department and a small number of salespeople.
The relatively low cost of standard CRM can make it appealing to SMBs and mid-markets. These editions of CRM are usually offered at a flat, per-user rate–allowing the business to add or remove seats as needed. The low cost often comes with some hidden expenses. Many CRM vendors require a one-time startup fee to get the implementation up and running. Smaller editions of CRM also have limited interoperability with mobile devices and popular Microsoft Office applications like Outlook and Access.
Enterprise CRM solutions, like Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and SAP, are designed for larger, more complex businesses with more customer-facing departments larger databases, and more robust needs. In an enterprise setting, it’s not unusual to have multiple departments and sales teams, all of which need instant access to customer and company data. Everyone from management to shipping is involved in the business process workflow, so it makes sense for all of them to be working with the same information. Enterprise CRM also allows for a greater degree of automation, such as logging customer interactions or generating alerts when problems arise.
Enterprise CRM can be substantially more expensive than standard CRM. Much of the cost can be attributed to the time and effort involved in customizing the system and deploying it throughout the enterprise. With some enterprise solutions, there are additional costs to purchase servers, for on-premise installations, and annual maintenance and upgrade fees. The extra cost also includes more robust support for issues such as implementation, training, and creating mobile applications. Enterprise editions usually offer easier integration with Office products and can be customized to work with almost any mobile device.
Which to Choose?
Deciding which edition to purchase largely depends on the size and vision of the business. For SMBs and mid-market businesses that aren’t projecting a large expansion in the near future, standard CRM may be the best bet. It will allow salespeople to collect and organize the data they need to do their jobs well. With a lower price point, standard CRM is a good way to increase sales in a smaller office.
A business should consider enterprise CRM if it has more than one sales department or multiple departments that deal directly with customers. It’s important for everyone who deals with customers to be working from the same information. Enterprise CRM is more expensive, but eventually pays for itself in improved customer service across all departments.