There’s a lot that we talk about CRM – why you need one, what to expect from a good one and when to implement a CRM into your workflow. One of the more important aspects that I like to focus on is your CRM budget and how to make sure that you can afford your implementation.
As we all know by now, some systems can be incredibly expensive – almost to the point of prohibitively so. Beyond the cost of the CRM itself, your CRM budget has to account for the cost of setup, training and ultimate adoption of the system by your team. With all of this to consider, the cost can sometimes be rather daunting depending on the size, complexity and type of system you wish to implement.
So where do we start in creating your CRM budget?
As I mentioned, there are a number of things that we have to address when creating a budget for a CRM. First, let’s take a look at some effective budgeting and planning techniques you can use before you purchase a CRM system.
1. Understand Your CRM Budget
Not surprisingly, the first step to staying within your CRM budget is to understand the budget that you have available. If this is a strategic initiative for your company, then I’m sure there are plenty of people involved. Get to know and understand the ins and outs of the available budget.
Specifically, make sure you understand how your CRM budget was planned. Consult your CFO (or relevant position) and consider any suggestions or insight that they might have. Take advantage of your resources, they might see something that you’ve missed.
2. Begin with the end in mind
Start out by deciding what you ultimately want from your platform, this will help you in developing your CRM budget. What is the ultimate goal for your CRM? Sales productivity? Betting tracking and reporting? Knowing this will give you a good start and will help you narrow down the platforms you’re reviewing and make some decisions.
Remember that there are a lot of system out there – I’ve heard numbers upward of 400 – so you need to know exactly what you’re looking for to be able to make a good decision.
3. Plan Your Timeline
Once you’ve made those decisions, start working backward. This doesn’t seem like a budgeting step but it’s going to be important to create the buy in you need to Be sure to address the following key steps:
- When do you want to go live?
- When does implementation need to be complete?
- When do I need to make my decision to be sure to hit my implementation date?
- Who else needs to be involved in the decision?
- When can I see demos of all of the systems we’re deciding between?
4. Be Ready to Justify Your CRM Budget
This is especially important if you’re with a company that has never invested in a CRM before. If this is a new venture, I can promise that you’re going to need to explain to someone why you want to spend money on a system like this. There are clear benefits to your company that you can plan for so make sure that you’re having those conversations with the powers that be.
Here are a few of the benefits that we like to look at when justifying the budget for a CRM:
- Increased closing ratio
- More productive sales team
- Leads and opportunities don’t fall through the cracks
- Automated follow up to save time
- The ability to identify where your leads and opportunities are coming from
OK So Now What?
Now that the basics are covered, let’s talk a little about some of the more detailed aspects of planning for your CRM budget. There are a number of factors of the CRM itself to consider when you’re planning your budget.
First and foremost, you have to make sure that the functionality of the CRM you’re looking at will cover everything you need. In your CRM budget, should obviously be the database capability. Beyond that, what else do you need from it? A good CRM will include email marketing capability, sales and marketing automation and a strong inbound capacity.
We’ve talked quite a bit about the different pricing models of a CRM system in the past. Obviously this is going to be a big aspect of your CRM budget. Price per user systems are typically going to be 1) more expensive or 2) less functional than the database model variety. Make sure that you review your different options and really understand which option is going to be best for you.
Finally, the commitment question. There are some tools out there that lock you into a long term contract – some as long as five years. They’ll wow you with various offers but more often than not, they’re not going to be worth it. Most CRMs that are worth their salt won’t lock you into a contract. Either way, make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Back to You
Your CRM is an incredibly powerful tool but it can be a sweeping change for some businesses. As such it can face significant opposition from some of the “old schoolers”. That’s why “CRM evangelists” need to know the facts, and work hard to prove the effectiveness of the system and justify your CRM budget.
Want to see how Mission Suite can help you implement a CRM that is cost-effective, budget friendly and powerful? Take a look at one of our demo webinars to see for yourself!