Anyone who works in sales will tell you that customer relationship management (CRM) systems have become essential for managing client interactions and streamlining operations. While CRMs have traditionally been hosted on company servers (on premise), there has been a major shift towards cloud-based systems that offer more flexibility and accessibility.
For professional services firms, especially in accounting and financial advisory where strong client relationships are key, embracing a cloud-based CRM can transform how your firm operates. In this blog, we’ll explore the benefits of migrating to a modern, cloud-based CRM solution designed specifically for accounting firms, like ABLE CRM.
The Evolution of CRM Systems
CRM systems have come a long way since the early days of basic rolodexes. Let’s look at some key milestones.
In the 1980s, back before the term “CRM” had even been coined, companies used databases to organize contact lists. These databases can be seen as the precursors to modern CRM software, but we were still a long way off.
It wasn’t until the early 1990s that true CRM software was invented by Siebel Systems. Recognizing the need in the marketplace for this type of tool, more and more CRM companies emerged. Salesforce was launched in 1999 as the first ever cloud-based CRM.
The early 2000s saw an explosion of cloud-based CRM solutions. Customers liked having software that they could access from outside of the office and appreciated the scalability of the software-as-a-service (SAAS) model.
Technology has certainly come a long way since the dawn of the millennium, but one thing remains true: cloud-based software just makes sense. There are very good reasons why it’s remained so popular over the past 20+ years!
Key Benefits of Cloud-Based CRM
Accessible From Anywhere
Cloud systems allow secure access from any device, anywhere with an internet connection. This enables real-time engagement with clients from wherever you are. For on-the-go teams, flexibility is a major advantage over older on-premise solutions.
Scales With Your Business
Being based in the cloud means it’s easy to ramp CRM capacity up or down. Whether you’re a small firm aiming for growth or a large company looking to expand into new regions, the system scales smoothly. There’s no need for major new infrastructure or IT investments.
Cloud solutions save money upfront by eliminating the need for on-site servers and ongoing maintenance.
Leading cloud platforms employ strict security measures like data encryption and access controls. Providers know security is critical when dealing with sensitive client information.
ABLE CRM: A Cloud-Based Solution for Accounting Firms
ABLE takes the versatility of the cloud and custom-builds it specifically for managing accounting firm client relationships. Let’s look at some standout features:
Designed for Accountants
ABLE zeroes in on the needs of accounting professionals. It simplifies the complex feature overload of traditional CRM systems to give firms everything they need and nothing they don’t. The end result is a CRM that firm partners don’t need to spend hours in—just 20 minutes a week is enough to get everything done.
ABLE’s user-friendly CRoPs dashboards provide at-a-glance insights into the strength of important relationships with clients, referral opportunities and prospects. A color-coded system makes it easy to see who is on the ball and who might need a little nudge.
ABLE breaks down information silos that form between accounting teams and departments. Now client data and conversations live in a central, easily accessible hub. The result is more aligned, cohesive client service firm wide.
Getting Started With a Cloud-Based CRM
1. Define Needs and Buy-In
Get clear on your workflow, services and client base. This shapes your CRM requirements. Bring together stakeholders from across departments to align on challenges and must-have features. Gaining buy-in early means smoother user adoption later.
2. Evaluate Top Contenders
Research the top cloud-based accounting CRMs on the market. Compare capabilities for sales pipelines, content distribution, client histories and more.
3. Make an Implementation Roadmap
Once you’ve selected your platform, map out timelines for rollout, factoring in data migration, customization, staff training and go-live. Assign responsibilities to staff members. Build in time buffers for hiccups or adjustments.
4. Set Up Transfers
Get existing CRM data organized and tidy for migration. Work with your vendor to structure datasets and establish transfer protocols to prevent losses. Take an incremental “lift and shift” approach if needed.
5. Train Staff
Conduct multi-modal training catered to different user types—from system fundamentals to best practices using new features. Foster open communication around challenges and continuously reinforce value to cement user adoption.
From cost savings to efficiency gains to better client service, cloud-based CRM solutions like ABLE greatly enhance robust relationship management functionality. Are you ready to explore how modernizing your client relationship management tech stack could positively transform your accounting practice? If so, we encourage you to reach out. Our team is ready to guide you through best practices for seamlessly transitioning systems based on your firm’s needs.