3 hidden crm costs to watch out for while planning a CRM budget – and how to minimize them
Software project proposals often underestimate the crm costs.
On average, large-scale software projects run 66% over budget and 33% over schedule. Whilst this is rarely so fatal that it takes the entire company down, it will impact your bottom line and reduce project’s ROI.
If you’re project managing, it will also subject you to conversations with senior management you’d probably rather not have.
Often, it’s not so much to do with forgetting hidden costs – there’s enough information out there on what to include in a software budget – but not drilling down into them enough. Things like overtime, add up and whilst you’re spending significant amounts of time implementing a new system, customizing it and training users, productivity can take a hit.
Below, we’ve gone into detail on three common hidden CRM costs and what you can do to minimize the damage these can cause.
1. Customization and integration (Can generate CRM costs)
Unless you are very lucky, there will be an amount of fiddling around you need to do before your CRM suits your needs perfectly.
This is likely to be true even if you select a product that is an excellent fit for your company
Don’t forget to consider indirect costs too. As well as the obvious expense of hiring an expert to coordinate all this, or paying your vendor for customization services (if it’s not included in the subscription fee), you’ll need to factor in loss of productivity throughout the process and potential staff overtime.
Minimize this by making a good range of integration options a key requirement for your CRM. Having a CRM specifically designed to click with other software your business uses will save you significant amounts of time and money.
Requirements in this area will vary from business to business, but integration with your email provider and whatever calendar your team uses is an absolute must. This makes things significantly easier and will increase user engagement with the new system right off the bat.
2. User training (Can generate CRM costs)
If you’ve done your homework you’ll have factored this in as a necessary and important part of your CRM budget. The mistake you have probably made is to see it as a one-off cost, associated with selecting and implementing a CRM and nothing more.
In which case you’ll be in for a rude awakening when you hire new staff and have to train them as well.
Plan for training new users by training a number of ‘superusers’ during CRM implementation. You can then train new hires in-house without having to pay for instructor-led training (if it’s not included in the subscription fee).
E-learning modules are also a good option – check with potential vendors whether they are offered, and whether they can be included in license price. If each user has perpetual access to these without the need for any extra cost this can be a great way of shaving pennies off your training budget.
3. Support (Can generate CRM costs)
You need to be very careful here.
Plenty of vendors will tell you that their license prices include support costs – and they do – but it’s worth clarifying what this means and whether it will adequately cover your needs.
Some ‘basic’ vendor support packages don’t include 24-hour phone support, for example, or leave clients reliant on user forums and self-help guides. Often, premium level support is available for an additional yearly fee or included in higher pricing plans.
Depending on your needs, a basic package can be a valuable support tool. Equally, you don’t want to find out, three months into ownership of a new CRM, that the personalized, 24-7 support you thought was included doesn’t exist, and that to get the level of support you want you’ll need to shell out an unexpected amount of cash.
Avoid surprise support costs by asking potential vendors to outline their support offerings in detail. Getting the right level of support for your business is absolutely essential. Support and maintenance is a bad area to cut costs for the sake of it, but by making sure you’re fully informed of what you’re getting for your money, you can budget accordingly.