If you were playing a game where you had to say the first thought that came into your head and the first word was ‘CRM’, there are no doubts that one of the options would have been ‘Salesforce’ or ‘Dynamics 365’ or perhaps even ‘HubSpot. We are going to go out on a limb here and say that a Power Apps CRM wasn’t one of your first options. Ok, granted there are no right or wrong answers in the above game, however when we move onto the more serious matter of deciding which CRM is best suited for your specific needs then that would solely depend on exactly what you needed it to do.
Some of the more significant things on your mind when it comes to decision time are things like ‘your budget’, ‘what features you need?’ ‘how quickly can I get it up and running?’ or even ‘how customisable is it?’. You may also find that other unpredictable things may come to the surface at some point. These all increase the level of risk, therefore need to be managed in the right way to mitigate them.
It is also worth taking into account that choosing to implement the easiest of CRM’s can have a sizeable price tag attached to it, which means that you really don’t want to make a mess of it. This is why, for most businesses, having CRM specialists such as us can help give you that guidance on your CRM journey.
From the above, it is evident why it can be a major challenge for SMEs, particularly those that are looking to make their first venture away from Excel spreadsheets towards a game-changing CRM.
From the perspective of a smaller business, you will need to find a way of being able to narrow down the options to get a solution that fits your specific requirements.
Thinking about off-the-shelf options
For those SMEs, charities or even start-ups, the most logical step to make would be to gravitate towards a simplistic, quick launch plug-and-play option, and being brutally honest, there are many such off-the-shelf solutions that promise quick implementation, lower costs as well as jazzy functionality. From this point of view, options such as Zoho or HubSpot come to our heads.
There are no doubts that these are workable products and most deliver exactly what they say they are going to do. You are able to get setup quickly through a plug-and-play design and they are simple to use and intuitive and can even integrate with some APIs.
To go one step further, these off-the-shelf solutions come as part of annual packages with the software, hosting as well as the support bundled into one monthly cost. Granted, this is a very easy way to get started, however there are some disadvantages to doing this, particularly if you are thinking about growing your business.
It could cost your business more in the long term if you discover that the off-the-shelf solution is no longer suitable for your business and can’t be scaled up as your business grows.
When out-the-box just won't cut the mustard anymore
Let’s just say that you choose to go down the road of an out-of-the-box option and they don’t quite cut the mustard for your business. You may be under the wrong assumption that a customised solution is a much pricier option, taking into account the setup and implementation costs. However, it’s worth nothing that this isn't always true – customer CRM isn’t just for enterprise level organisations with substantial budgets.
There are options to get the best of both worlds. You could get a slimmed down solution for SMEs but with all the customisation ready for both now and in the future when required. You can purchase a CRM that doesn’t hold back your business, is cost-effective and provides you with everything you need to get started without functionality that you don’t require. You are able to implement something that is simplistic with game-changing features that will facilitate real growth of your business. This CRM medium does exist in the real world!
Gravitating towards Dynamics 365 or something of that standard? Could Microsoft PowerApps be a better alternative?
If you are one of those people that are gravitating towards bigger functionality, greater flexibility and customisation, you may have looked at Dynamics 365 as a possible option when it came to bespoke CRM. As we’ve mentioned above, it is often seen as expensive and too much for your business to handle. However, most aren’t aware of the best alternative to Dynamics 365 in the disguise of Microsoft Power Apps. Now, this is exactly what you have been looking for. It can deliver the best of both worlds.
Granted, Dynamics 365 has a whole host of standardised features built in, however PowerApps, when created as a CRM solution, can give you a much better version which is very appealing to SMEs.
No matter what features you are looking for in PowerApps largely depends on the level of effort and sophistication you require from the start. If you are a small business with a limited budget and don’t need AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology or advanced BI dashboards. In this particular scenario, making the decision to go with a PowerApps CRM is the best choice you can make for creating a simple sales CRM quickly and affordably.
So, what are the core benefits of using PowerApps as a CRM?
Let’s take you through why PowerApps are perfect for smaller businesses and why many charities choose to go down the same road.
You will often find that many CRM users get frustrated at not being able to scale up an off-the-shelf solution. You will find that these solutions say they can give you that flexibility but in reality, many fall by the wayside in terms of flexibility at a certain point. This doesn’t happen with PowerApps as they can be added to and scaled as and when your business requirements change. As well as this, these changes can be completed quickly, which helps to reduce the time wasted waiting for someone to build this for you.
Can be customised for your business
You will notice that through the use of PowerApps, you are able to build a bespoke solution that you can’t get using an out-of-the-box alternative. It is worth taking into account that none of the Dynamics 365 solutions can give you that membership solution as well as this, there are also no ways to be able to process membership renewals. However, these features can be built into PowerApps.
As well as the above benefits, you will find that the PowerApps pricing is flexible as the most basic plan starts from $20 per user per month or you can choose to go on a pay as you go pricing structure from $10 per user per month, making it affordable and suitable for both charities as well as growing SMEs. In addition to this, if you are a charity, there are a whole host of discounts available from Microsoft.
Granted, you will need to consider the cost of implementing a PowerApps CRM, however you will find that the fast deployment of this custom-built solution will bring down the overall implementation costs.
Given that Power Apps are a ‘lightweight’ CRM means that they take less time to deploy, meaning that your business or charity can start benefiting from the features straight away. Furthermore, as a Microsoft product, it integrated seamlessly with other Microsoft products. Therefore, making it so easy for people to use and transition from their Outlook, Teams and Office to their CRM system.
From the usability side of things, it's been built particularly with the users and processes in mind, meaning that your teams will be able to easily learn how to use it fast. Therefore, the quicker you can get used to it, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits of using it.
Large number of data connectors
When you need to connect data from different data sources, the Microsoft Power Platform has hundreds available to enable you to connect to an API to enable third-party data services to work with the PowerApps solution. As well as this being able to bring the data over from these sources, they can also add extra functionality to your Power Apps solution.
This is of the utmost importance for businesses that heavily rely on business applications outside of Microsoft and need an open approach to data management in order to gain better visibility and better control over customer data.
You may find that economically 2023 has been a challenge so far. However, we’ve just shown you that it can be possible to implement revolutionary data management solutions for smaller businesses with even the skimpiest of budgets and lofty ambitions, thanks largely to the bespoke nature of PowerApps.
If you are a small business or charity that is looking to explore the option of using Microsoft Power Apps to build your next CRM solution or if you want to go down the road of an off-the-shelf CRM option like Dynamics 365 then please reach out to our team of CRM experts who can help you on your journey today.
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