When pricing a customer relationship management (CRM) solution, it’s easy to get “sticker shock.” Every step of CRM implementation—from planning to software customization—seems to come with an eye-poppingly huge price tag.
So is it any wonder that so many companies award their CRM contracts to the lowest bidders, in an effort to keep those upfront costs low? Then these same companies are shocked when their low-cost, inadequately designed CRM system completely fails within three months of launching it.
Here’s the thing: Great CRM isn’t cheap. But that doesn’t mean it has to be needlessly expensive. In this post, we’re going to look at four important ideas that will help you save money during your CRM implementation.
Don’t rush the planning stages of your CRM. Every business has its own unique requirements, workflow considerations and technical challenges. It’s not enough for your CRM to simply be “functional.” It needs to be specifically catered to your company’s needs.
This effort requires extensive planning, which includes creating a clear strategy and achieving your company’s CRM goals. Thankfully, crafting this strategy is one of the most cost-effective parts of the CRM development process. By planning out the exact features, modules, and technical resources your CRM system needs, you can save a substantial amount of money when you actually need to build it.
Currently, CRM software developers are in an arms race with each other. If one CRM publisher adds a new feature to its software, all of its rivals will race to develop their own versions of that feature, except they’ll make it bigger and offer more customized options. But even the default versions of most CRM software can get bloated, which means you could end up with hundreds of plug-ins, add-ons, modules, and other bells and whistles.
Many companies only need a few specific features and modules to accomplish their CRM goals. While it can be tempting to turn on every possible CRM feature, it’s important to remember that this tendency can add a significant amount of time and expense to your development. If your CRM doesn’t truly need a specific feature, don’t waste your money on it.
As the old saying goes, “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” One of the real risks involved in CRM planning is that it starts looking like a solution to everyone’s problems.
Your CRM project may have started out as a way to empower your sales staff by giving them better tools for managing leads and driving growth. But then customer service heard about your new CRM system. And then tech support wanted in. The end result could be an incredibly complex, expensive project that could take years to complete.
There’s no reason why a CRM implementation needs to be a one-and-done kind of project. The first phase of the project can be dedicated to the needs of the sales team. While the second phase may happen months later, it will eventually involve adding new features and modules that the customer service team can use. Then during the third phase, tech support gets their features. One huge benefit of this approach is that it allows the company to spread out the costs of development, which will substantially reduce the initial price tag.
One of the biggest reasons why CRM systems fail is a lack of buy-in from end users. If a CRM’s interface is confusing or counterintuitive, your workers may do everything in their power to avoid using it. It they can, they’ll do things the old way. And if they can’t, they’ll simply use it in a roundabout, inefficient way that potentially doesn’t work anyway.
While this tendency may not seem risky at first, it’s an extremely common problem during CRM implementations. Around 65% of all CRM projects fail due to poor user adoption. Nothing is more expensive than a failed CRM implementation.
If you bring end users into the CRM testing process, you empower them to contribute to the user experience of the CRM. This strategy will help streamline their workflows, and it will make the system more intuitive to use.
Your workers will use your new CRM system if it obviously saves them time and makes their jobs easier. So it’s essential for you to schedule adequate time to train your workers on the new system. The last thing you want to do is give workers the bare minimum of instruction on the new system, then force them to use it on-the-job. Continued education is the best move forward. Training is cheap, but hiring new employees isn’t.
In order to get CRM implementation right, you have to work with consultants who will bring both expertise and experience to the table. You need to allot the time it will take to properly plan, test, and train your employees. Yes, proper implementation will probably cost your company more than it would prefer to pay. But it will also work as designed from the moment it’s turned on. Since a well-planned, well-designed, well-tested CRM will last for many years, it will pay for itself several times over.
To learn more about cost-effective CRM solutions for your company, contact Faye for a free consultation.