Within the B2B environment, the promotion of cloud-based solutions is dominated by free trials that offer interested parties no more than a glimpse of the software in action.
The majority provide a ‘one-size fits all’ default demo, which can leave the customer guessing as to how the system works and wondering whether it will adapt to their own unique business proposition.
Many Freemiums provide little to no additional guidance, dialogue or customisation, the absence of which can make it difficult for a customer to determine whether a CRM solution will deliver relevant information to their business.
However, free trials have the power to open up a whole new channel of communication between a vendor and its customer; businesses should be looking for vendors that offer personalisation and collaboration from the outset.
In a world that preaches customer-centricity, vendors should be showing their best side during trial experiences, allowing prospects to measure the true value of their CRM service at the first point of engagement.
A Freemium view
The possible business benefits of cloud CRM have more long-term implications in our current digital age than ever before. Its inherent ability to facilitate quick access to information anywhere and at any time, for example, is a clear advantage on protracted sales processes.
Despite this, SMEs can often find themselves making decisions based on a limited view of the CRM solution that prevents them from experiencing the full capabilities of the system.
With an overload of uncustomised information, it is easy for businesses to be convinced by a vendor that they are being shown all the information and functionality they need to see. In reality, they may be subject to a demo that is based and tailored to a generic or much larger organisation.
it is easy for businesses to be convinced by a vendor that they are being shown all the information and functionality they need to see
This type of demo is unhelpful for SMEs, as it does not take into account their unique business requirements, which can only be achieved via a personalised demo.
While the benefits of personalised CRM trials are clear for the user, it’s not to say that the benefits are strictly limited to them. The best vendors will understand that failing to provide SMEs with a personalised trial will not only cause dissatisfaction in the short term, it can also create problems for an organisation’s customers in the long term.
If an organisation chooses a vendor based on a limited view of the system, and ends up with a CRM solution that is unable to work how the business needs it to, they are in danger of having a piece of software that is not only underutilised, but detrimental to customer relations.
A cloud-based CRM solution has the capability to transform B2B operations and customer relations are a key consideration when it comes to choosing the right system. The most effective solutions will fully integrate CRM and ERP/accounting systems; this means that client records – detailing engagement across all channels – integrate with stock control, accounting and supply chain operations to guarantee seamless service.
Ultimately, the telesales call that’s lost in translation and results in an incorrect order or the unnecessary one-hour rep visit that results in the same order as before, will become things of the past.
When a vendor assumes technical knowledge on the part of the SME, it foregoes the opportunity to help organisations to understand the full capability of the software and any nuances that might differentiate it.
The best free trials and demos allow for personalisation. This requires a cloud CRM system that can be integrated with a company’s accountancy systems, ecommerce platforms and ERP before a trial begins, enabling businesses to import their own data into the cloud and trial the software. Using recognisable and relevant data will allow an organisation to see exactly how the CRM system will benefit the entire business.
the best free trials and demos allow for personalisation
Working alongside proactive vendors that collaborate with businesses ahead of a free trial to configure data fields of interest – anything from KPIs to EPIs (Early performance indicators) – produces meaningful and often invaluable insight that will help the purchasing decision.
One of the greatest benefits of a personalised CRM trial is the training that accompanies it. Businesses can get an in-depth look at the solution and with that, ensure the training is perfectly matched to their CRM system.
The addition of a cloud based CRM solution means that this can grow and adapt with any changes a business chooses to make during the trial phase, which can then be carried over into a real-life situation once the system is put in place.
Flexible, tailored and integrated
Information is important when choosing a CRM vendor, businesses should be asking themselves the following questions before making a final decision; have you identified your businesses requirements?
Is the vendor providing you with the right solution for your business? Are they offering personalised solutions? And most importantly are they being passive or collaborative?
The most effective vendors won’t leave their customers perplexed; they’ll take a partnership approach from the very first touch point.
The result? A flexible, tailored, integrated CRM solution that provides real value, as measured by the customer, and a strong competitive advantage, no matter what industry they operate in.