The global CRM (customer relationship management) software market is expected to surpass 170 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 13.3% every year. This growth is fueled by integrating artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics, and natural language processing with CRM software.
Many CRMs have sprung up in the recent past, each with its list of features. But you’re not interested in all this, are you? You want to know about the actual CRM implementation cost.
But before we get to that, let’s discuss the cost of not implementing one.
Cost of Not Implementing a CRM
Customers are the lifeline of every organization. Finding and retaining them is the primary challenge for a growing business. But, in today’s super-connected and digital world, customer preferences keep changing, and their whims hold tremendous power over a brand. A single disgruntled customer can change a business’ fortunes with a social media post or an online review.
In such a world, growing businesses must offer exceptional customer service to every customer. And to do that, they must use every available option at their disposal. A CRM is one such option that helps companies find customers and retain them by offering a seamless experience at every touchpoint. It even simplifies business processes and frees up your teams to take up important tasks links actually selling your goods and services.
But by not implementing a CRM, companies risk paying a huge price by losing their valuable customers, hand-earned reputation, and even their loyal employees to fatigue.
In short, as businesses grow, not implementing a CRM can quickly turn from a mild inconvenience to a catastrophic situation.
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Now, what is the cost of a CRM implementation?
Cost of CRM Implementation
The cost of implementing a CRM can be broken into two parts. The first is the upfront cost of the CRM, and the second is the hidden cost. Let’s find out what these are.
1. Upfront Cost of a CRM
Most CRMs don’t state a fixed upfront cost. They charge based on multiple variables such as business processes, number of users, features, reports, and add-ons requested. Some may even vary their charges based on the geographical region.
To understand the upfront cost of a CRM, businesses should first recognize their own needs. First, they must differentiate between the essential and the ‘good-to-have’ features. Second, they must zero in on the number of employees who’d be using it. They must also decide which business function they wish to optimize, e.g., sales, marketing, operations, etc. With this information, businesses can compare CRMs that best meet their needs.
One point to note here is that there’s no standard CRM feature list, and every CRM has its own set of features. It’s up to you to figure out which ones are the most useful for you. Here, the good to have vs. essential feature list will come into play.
Most CRMs charge a subscription-based fee, and the upfront average CRM costs vary by a wide margin and can range from $10 to more than $100 per user per month.
Very few CRM offer a fixed monthly/annual price. A fewer still, such as Kylas, offer a fixed price with unlimited users and features.
2. Hidden Costs of CRM Implementation
This is a cost that CRM companies do not want you to find out until after you have already paid the exuberant upfront charges and have no way of backing out. These charges kick in as soon as the setup and implementation start and continue for as long as the user continues using the CRM. Let’s take them up one by one.
3. Setup and Implementation Cost
Most CRM vendors advertise a plug-and-play solution that you can use without hiccups, but this is rarely the case. While modern cloud-based CRMs are easily implemented, its the legacy CRMs that require much more groundwork. Furthermore, many vendors outsource their implementations to an external agency, which charges even for data migration to the CRM beyond a specific limit.
4. Integration Cost
Most businesses require multiple integrations to work with their CRMs, such as lead capture platforms, communication platforms, payment and invoicing platforms, and more. While the fees charged by external platforms are to be expected, many CRMs charge exuberantly even to allow you to integrate your preferred 3rd party platform with their CRMs. Other CRMs, such as Kylas, include an inbuilt marketplace section that will enable you to connect with the best business applications to simplify your sales process. Here is the list of 6 must-have CRM integrations that you should consider before making a purchase.
5. Training Cost
For a system that will be used extensively by your teams and will decide the customer experience, it’s essential to train your teams on all the features of a CRM. Training allows your employees to get used to the system and serve your customers effectively. But many CRM vendors hire external agencies to conduct these trainings, and they charge for every single user. Some vendors charge even when their in-house teams conduct these trainings. While these costs can motivate businesses to retain employees, they significantly drain your balance sheets and force you to switch CRMs.
6. Support Cost
Quality support is one of the most critical factors for businesses looking for a CRM.Delays in resolving customer queries can significantly slow down business processes. But in the case of growing companies, it can lead to massive business loss. Many big brand CRM vendors take 2-3 days to respond to customer queries, but they also charge their customers for every resolution. You are thus stuck between a rock and a hard place.
7. Time and Effort Cost
Your team spends considerable time and efforts starting from shortlisting a CRM to eventually using one. All these person-hours themselves cost a growing business tremendously. The CRM implementation and training time varies from business to business but still causes considerable disruption. Some CRMs take longer to fully implement all of the committed features. This delay also adds to the overall cost of a CRM, and businesses must make sure they understand this before making a purchase.
8. Add-on Cost
Many CRMs don’t include all their features even in their premium subscription plan. When customers start using a CRM, they realize that it does not fit into their processes perfectly, and they ask CRM vendors to make customizations or give them access to their additional features. These features might have been communicated at the time of making the sale but are slyly hidden behind paywalls. Then the customer must either find a workaround internally or pay the additional fee.
This CRM implementation cost breakdown we explained above is why many CRM implementations are unsuccessful, as customers get tired of paying these charges that they weren’t made aware of while purchasing a customer relationship management system.
If you are in the market to buy one and want to avoid paying the hidden fees, seek clarification before making the final decision. You can also consider moving to Kylas, the Honest Sales CRM. It is a blazing-fast enterprise-grade CRM that guarantees unlimited users and features at a fixed cost with zero hidden charges.
Cost of CRM Implementation Failure
Before you make the final move, there is one additional cost that you should be aware of. The cost of failed CRM implementations. CIO Review estimates that CRM implementation failures range between 18 and 69 percent. The primary reasons for these failures are high hidden costs, implementation delays, lack of user involvement, and system functionality mismatch. While we covered the first two in the hidden costs section, let’s understand the other two points.
- Lack of User Involvement
Many employees have a natural aversion to technology and need to be coerced to use new technology. Even then, they might resist the change leading to a project failure. Here, a challenging user experience further fuels employee discontent. To avoid this, CRMs should simplify their user interface and experience to allow users to quickly get used to a CRM and generate value from it. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, and you must take a demo of a CRM to see for yourself if it’s a cumbersome or an easy-to-use CRM.
- System Functionality Mismatch
Different CRMs have different hero functionalities, but even for the standard functions common across CRMs, execution can differ from system to system. Or, at other times, vendors might commit to functionality by calling it a work in progress, but it never gets introduced in the CRM.
And sometimes, you might find that the CRM misses a functionality essential to your operations, but you forgot to ask for it when shortlisting systems. All this can make you unhappy with the CRM, and you might not use the system entirely. Here, too, it’s best to take a demo of the CRM and test it thoroughly before making the purchase.
Are you in the process of evaluating CRMs? If yes, click here to schedule a free demo of the Kylas CRM.
You can also take a free 15-day trial of the CRM. Registration is absolutely free and does not require you to fill in your credit card details.
A CRM system cost differs from vendor to vendor, but as a customer, you must be aware of every fraction, from the upfront cost to the implementation, training, and support cost. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision.
And it’s ok if you still want to move to a CRM that charges additionally for these services. You must be the one making that informed choice. You must also know about the features that are absolutely necessary for your business and look for a CRM that is a perfect fit for your operations. And lastly, do not make the payment before thoroughly testing every single functionality of the CRM.