Hidden Costs of CRM
Implementing a CRM solution is a significant financial investment, there’s no denying that. It makes sense that you want to minimize your costs. Some partners will try to hook you with low upfront costs, leaving you to find out about hidden costs down the road. If you choose to eschew an important part of the process because of cost, you might struggle with adoption, miss out on revenue growth that CRM helps facilitate, or eventually have to pay to replace your system entirely.
“I got a great deal on the printer, but the cost of ink is ridiculous!”
To help in your research of CRM partners, here are some of the most important hidden costs to be aware of. Makes sure to ask a potential partner how they will address these key factors and what the costs will be.
If you’d like to read about SYNACT’s point of view on pricing and how we work with clients to implement and support successful CRM solutions, click here.
Some CRM software is split into a variety of modules and all the capabilities of the software don’t necessarily come with the base package for the quoted price. Make sure that you won’t have to pay to add all the features you need. (On the other hand, do you need all the bells and whistles being sold to you? Perhaps the money spent on bells could be better spent on long term development and support.)
Many CRM partners just implement software. They don’t have the capability or interest to understand your sales and operations processes, and can’t offer suggestions within the larger context of your goals. CRM isn’t magic; without modeling CRM on effective, proven business processes, you won’t solve business problems.
Data migration costs
This is an often overlooked aspect of CRM adoption, requiring aggregation of many data sources, de-duping records, standardizing and cleaning the data, and importing into CRM. Can you handle this internally or do you need to hire outside help?
Too often companies think that a couple onsite group training sessions is enough, but not everyone learns that way. Down the road you’ll need to train new employees, and train everyone on new features and processes.
Just like your industry and company, successful CRM implementations change over time. The costs of small, iterative tweaks can add up, and when you need a significant change to the system that could be a significant monetary outlay. Skipping these improvements means your CRM solution will no longer reflect the way your company works.
Do you need to integrate CRM with other software you use? Can it be done easily/cheaply or do you need to pay to have it done? (On the other hand, do you need to integrate all of your software? Often times, periodic export/import from system to system is a quick and cheap solution.)
Reporting and BI costs
One of the largest benefits of CRM is analyzing past results in order to optimize future processes, but when faced with the decision to spend thousands of dollars for a single report, many companies say no thanks.
How will you get help? Larger companies can have decent knowledge bases, but the more customized your system, the less it applies. Will you be paying every time a user needs a question answered?
Software and infrastructure need to be upgraded every few years. Who’s going to do that? Who’s going to fix anything that might break as a result? Who’s going to train users on the new user experience? Cloud-based solutions often take care of upgrades for you, but you still need to consider the effects of those changes.