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SaaS CRM Software

SaaS CRM Software (Customer Relationship Management) has become an essential tool for businesses of all sizes to manage their relationships and interactions with customers. Traditionally, CRM systems were complex, expensive and required considerable investments in hardware and IT resources. However, with the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery models, CRM systems are now more accessible than ever for small and medium businesses.

What is SaaS CRM?

SaaS CRM refers to customer relationship management systems that are delivered through cloud-based SaaS models rather than traditional on-premises solutions. SaaS CRMs are hosted on vendor servers and accessed via web browsers. This eliminates the need for businesses to invest in and manage on-site hardware and IT resources.

SaaS CRMs are web-based systems hosted on vendor servers and accessed via the internet. This eliminates the need for on-premises hardware and IT staff to manage the CRM. SaaS CRMs are subscription-based, so upfront costs are lower, and payment is made monthly or annually for access. The SaaS model also enables automatic updates and easy scalability.

For small businesses and startups, SaaS CRM systems provide an affordable way to implement an enterprise-level customer management platform. The systems provide sales force automation, marketing automation, customer service and support ticketing, and analytics capabilities to optimize every customer touchpoint. This article will explore the key features and benefits of SaaS CRM for growing businesses.

Key attributes of SaaS CRM systems include:

  • Web-based Access: SaaS CRMs can be accessed from any internet-connected device using a web browser. This enables mobile access and supports remote/distributed teams.
  • Rapid Deployment: SaaS CRMs can be rapidly set up, with limited IT involvement. New users can be added easily as the company grows.
  • Pay-as-you-go Pricing: SaaS CRMs use monthly or annual subscription models rather than upfront licensing. Costs scale with business growth.
  • Automated Upgrades: New features, updates and patches are rolled out automatically by the vendor. No manual system upgrades needed.
  • Integration: Most SaaS CRM vendors provide integration with other SaaS apps like email, calendar, marketing automation, payments and more.
  • Customization: SaaS CRMs allow for some configuration and customization without complex coding.
  • Scalability: Cloud-based systems scale easily to accommodate growing data storage needs and increasing users.
  • Security: Reputable SaaS vendors provide enterprise-grade security, encryption, and permissions.

SaaS CRM Software – Features, Benefits and Limitations

Features of SaaS CRM

SaaS CRM platforms provide a comprehensive set of features to manage the entire customer lifecycle, including:

  • Contact Management: Organize leads and customers into one master database accessible company wide. Features include contact profiles, account assignment, segmentation.
  • Lead Tracking: Track leads from first contact to closure. Score leads based on activities, nurture leads via campaigns.
  • Opportunity Management: Manage deals through sales pipeline stages. Forecast expected revenues based on opportunity data.
  • Sales Automation: Improve sales team productivity with templates, workflows, reminders. Integrate with email for rapid response.
  • Marketing Automation: Create targeted email campaigns and landing pages. Score leads based on engagement with campaigns.
  • Customer Service: Ticket system to track, prioritize and resolve customer inquiries. Knowledge base to enable self-service.
  • Reporting & Analytics: CRM data can generate reports on sales pipeline, forecasts, customer retention, campaign ROI and more.
  • Mobility: Native or web apps allow sales teams to access CRM on smartphones and tablets. Offline access enables us to go on-the-go.
  • Integrations: SaaS CRMs seamlessly integrate with complementary SaaS apps for email, calendar, payments, accounting, marketing and more.
  • Customization: SaaS platforms allow for custom fields, objects, rules, roles and other modifications to tailor the system.

Benefits of SaaS CRM Software

Adopting a SaaS-based CRM platform provides significant benefits for high-growth and resource-constrained businesses:

  • Cost-effective: The subscription-based pricing of SaaS CRM is affordable for SMBs and eliminates large upfront licensing costs of on-premises CRM software.
  • Quick Implementation: SaaS CRMs can be rapidly deployed in weeks without extensive IT requirements. New users can be onboarded swiftly.
  • Scalability: Cloud-based systems scale up or down easily to match business fluctuations. Adding storage, features or users is fast and flexible.
  • Mobility: The web-based access model allows remote employees to access CRM data from any device, anywhere. Enables sales teams to on-the-go.
  • Latest Features: SaaS vendors continuously innovate and release updates with new features. Customers get access to latest tools.
  • Integration: SaaS CRM platforms provide seamless integration with other cloud apps used by the business. Saves time spent on manual data sync.
  • Security: Leading SaaS vendors implement robust security including encryption, permissions, access controls and disaster recovery systems.
  • Usability: The modern, intuitive user interface of SaaS CRMs promotes high user adoption across sales teams, customer service agents and other roles.
  • Analytics & Insights: Embedded analytics and customizable reports provide data-driven insights to optimize decision making across the customer lifecycle.

Limitations of SaaS CRM Software

While SaaS CRM solutions have transformed customer management for SMBs, some limitations exist:

  • Requires Internet Connectivity: Users must have a stable internet connection to access the SaaS CRM. Offline access may be limited.
  • Limited Customization: Highly customized systems can be challenging with SaaS CRM platforms. Modifications may incur added fees.
  • Switching Costs: Once data is within a SaaS system, exporting all that data and reconfiguring processes in a new CRM requires significant effort.
  • Integration Challenges: Heavily customized on-premises systems may not integrate seamlessly with SaaS CRMs. Some legacy apps may lack integration.
  • Data Security Concerns: Sensitive customer data is stored on external vendor servers with SaaS. However, leading vendors provide enterprise-grade security.
  • Reliance on Vendor: Any technical issues, downtime or vendor policy changes can impact SaaS users. However, most vendors maintain high uptime and provide notice before changes.
  • Long Term Costs: When comparing on-premises vs SaaS CRM costs for the long term, SaaS may end up costing more over 5+ years if user count and features scale up considerably.

How to get the best CRM for SaaS?

When evaluating SaaS CRM solutions, follow these tips to select the best platform for your business:

  • Identify Key User Needs: Survey sales, marketing, and customer service teams to understand must-have CRM features based on current pain points and future growth plans. 
  • Shortlist Vendors: Research leading SaaS CRM vendors like Salesforce, HubSpot, Zoho, Freshworks, Pipedrive, Insightly, Keep. Filter based on features, integrations, cost, and target customer size.
  • Seek Free Trials: Sign up for 1–2-month free trials from shortlisted vendors to evaluate the system firsthand. Add real data and users to accurately assess fit.
  • Consider Scalability: Carefully evaluate storage limits, ease of adding users and ability to seamlessly scale features as your company grows over the next several years.
  • Review Implementation: Understand the onboarding process. Factor in vendor implementation timelines, training resources and internal change management needs.
  • Confirm Security: Review the SaaS vendor’s security infrastructure, certifications, backup systems and uptime track record to ensure your data remains protected.
  • Check Integration: Test integration with essential third-party apps you use for payments, email marketing, accounting, productivity software etc. APIs enable connections.
  • Compare Long Term Costs: Factor in monthly subscription fees, cost per user, storage overages, training costs and feature upgrade expenses across 5+ years.
  • Procure User Feedback: Connect with existing clients of the vendors on online forums and social media groups to obtain candid user reviews of the SaaS CRM’s pros and cons. Address concerns.

FAQs on SaaS CRM Software

What are the main benefits of SaaS CRM?

Lower cost, faster deployment, easier scalability and mobility are the biggest benefits versus on-premise CRM software. SaaS CRMs also provide automatic updates and integration with complementary cloud apps.

How can a CRM help track the lifecycle of SaaS customers?

Advanced CRMs provide tools to capture all touchpoints from lead to invoice to renewal. Reps can create customized campaigns and automations based on where customers are in their journey – from initial trial to upgrade or expansion.

Can it integrate with our helpdesk, billing, and other systems?

Yes, most modern CRM platforms offer robust APIs to connect with external apps like helpdesks, billing, marketing automation and other vendor systems for synchronized data and automated processes.

Does it support role-based workflows for our teams?

Absolutely. Leading SaaS CRMs provide customizable user interfaces, dashboards and workflow rules tailored to the needs of different user roles like sales, marketing, service, and administrators.

How will CRM help measure the success of our marketing campaigns?

It captures comprehensive lead profiles and behaviors to help attribute conversions and ROI to specific campaigns. Integrations also sync campaign details to measure engagement and track leads through the funnel.

How do CRMs support multi-tenant SaaS deployments?

Look for cloud CRMs designed for multi-tenant SaaS workflows including flexible user permissions, white-labeling, consolidated analytics, and single instance upgrades across customer organizations.