If you are in the market for a new or updated CRM system, you can certainly find lots of information about features and technology. But one aspect that’s often hard to pin down is the cost. How much will a CRM system cost you to own and operate?
The price of a CRM implementation project is a legitimate question that should be easily answered. So, let’s discuss it and give some real numbers.
The first step is to understand what you are looking for in a CRM solution. What do you hope and expect it will do for your business? Which processes will it address and facilitate? How will it improve your customer interactions? And how does all this relate to cost?
If you simply want a digital address book to keep track of your contacts, it will cost a lot less than a full-service solution that helps you direct, manage, and automate sales, service, and operational flow.
Considering what you want from a CRM, you may be thinking generally of nebulous concepts such as “improved customer satisfaction” or “better relationships.” But let’s get practical. Those outcomes are a result of a well thought out approach that includes two core objectives:
- Having all your information in a central location so whoever needs it can get to it, when they need it, to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
- Automating and streamlining your processes so data flows smoothly and strategically through your pipelines and nothing falls through the cracks.
With today’s CRM solutions, the first objective is fairly standard. Most solutions will provide for storage and retrieval of information. But advanced tools such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales (CRM) allow your teams to focus on the second objective. Streamlining your processes for ultimate efficiency will revolutionize the way your teams operate and positively affect your prospects and customers.
So, assuming you want a full CRM that will genuinely add value to your business, there will be two primary expenses to consider:
- Software costs. For cloud-based CRM, there is typically a subscription license based on a monthly recurring fee. Often the fee is tied to specific users and based on their roles, e.g., sales, service, marketing, etc.
- Service costs. These expenses cover implementation, training, setup, configuration, guidance, best practices, etc., to help ensure the CRM project is initially adopted and successful long term.
There are some inexpensive CRM solutions on the market, some for as little as $30 per user per month. Some vendors may advertise free CRM as an add-on to their core system. CRM might be included at no extra charge with a paid marketing or accounting solution. If your CRM needs are simple and basic, like a digital Rolodex, that might work for you.
But remember, you get what you pay for.
If you want a full-featured CRM solution that will meet your organization’s needs and will evolve to accommodate a growing business, you should expect licenses to cost between $60 to $150 per user per month. Specialty add-ons for unique industries could push the price higher.
If your organization can budget for a CRM that will enable you to reach the primary goals mentioned above, it will be the best investment you can make for your business.
But remember, the software is just part of the solution. You also must ensure successful implementation and user adoption to get a return on your investment. That’s where the service costs come in.
Unfortunately, research shows that anywhere between 40% and 70% of CRM projects are unsuccessful. That doesn’t mean that the software doesn’t work. It means that after all the time and expense put into the project, the solution fails to live up to its promise, and users go back to their old methods. The right implementation partner can help you avoid the pitfalls and realize the true value of your CRM.
There are two ways to approach implementation:
- The "Big Bang.” An implementation partner promises you every bell and whistle, writes a proposal for the perfect system, and promises to complete the project in a ridiculously short period of time. It sounds great; it isn’t. This overreach is a prescription for failure.
- The “Crawl, Walk, Run.” We prefer a more reasonable approach. The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) approach starts with a basic set of functions that will still have value to your team. Get them using it; get feedback in the form of wishes, expectations, complaints, struggles, etc. Then refine and add functionality as time and budget allow. This makes sure that the most crucial functions and processes don’t get buried in an avalanche of seldom used extras.
We like to work in manageable-sized projects that show a clear and rapid return on investment. Getting your CRM up and running in a matter of weeks will fire up your team and allow them to see the benefits of adoption.
Our OnTrack CRM Success Service
Our approach to ensuring successful Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects is our OnTrack CRM Success Service. It’s a fixed fee, ongoing membership service.
Our experts act as virtual co-workers with your team. We’ll collaborate via a private Microsoft Teams channel to provide real-time access for unlimited support, guidance, training, coaching, and strategy. You’ll have free access to our growing suite of add-ons - extensions to the base CRM functionality - to help you get more out of your CRM.
We offer OnTrack plans to meet varying requirements and budgets. You choose how fast you need to move and how much help you want.
Basic CRM will have lower service fees, of course, but if you are implementing a full CRM, we can give you an idea of the costs with unlimited support and coaching for your first year.
These are wide ranges. Your costs will depend on what functions you want in your initial phase, how quickly you want to move, and how much assistance you require. The typical customer will be in the middle of these ranges.
- 5 User System: $11,000 - $17,500
- 10 User System: $12,000 - $20,000
- 20 User System: $14,000 - $25,000
- 50 User System: $21,000 - $40,000
These ranges cover functionality that most customers need to get organized and create solid working processes. Some customers will spend more to enhance the system to increase value and efficiency for specialized needs. Remember, the point of the crawl, walk, run system is to move forward as your budget, needs, and timing allow - and only do so if there is clear value.
The right CRM system, implemented the right way, will help you reach your business goals. You’ll quickly see that CRM is truly an investment that reaps real results and rewards your investment.
The next step:
We even offer a 100% money-back guarantee on every CRM implementation project.
We’d love to have a conversation with you about your CRM goals.
By Peter Wolf, Azamba Consulting Group,