Hidden Costs when Purchasing a CRM Solution

By Kevin Stewart
Updated: February 23, 2011

CRM systems can provide cost effective tools to manage your customer information, but there are some potential costs to consider when evaluating the total cost of these systems.

Costs of Installation, Configuration, and Training

Getting started with a new CRM solution can be challenging for a small to medium sized business. Most CRM solutions are built around web-based and cloud computing models. This eliminates the need to install software, but it does not reduce the complexity of these systems. Even a web or cloud system may require significant initial training. Some of the larger vendors also require a certain amount of database programming and other professional services tasks. The cost for this type of configuration work can be very high.

Migrating Data

If the goal is to bring old data into a new format, data migration is needed. But this can be a difficult task, especially when the migration is from a legacy software CRM system. Converting the data requires deciding on the importance of particular data and mapping it correctly. In some cases it costs more to do data migration than the product or license agreement.

Integration with other systems

CRM stands for customer relationship management, but to make a CRM system actually manage the customer relationship, integration with other systems is required. For example, managing email communication goes beyond traditional CRM. Setting up and running email programs using CRM is not a standard feature. It is usually an add-on capability. This requires system integration work that will usually mean increased cost.

Customer satisfaction and surveys are another area for integration with CRM. Analyzing and taking action on customer experience data is not a standard part of CRM, and it will require additional expenditures.

Phone System Integration Cost

Current telephone systems provide advantages that should be integrated with CRM. Screen-pop capability, Interactive Voice Response, and other features of phone systems depend on a solid CRM platform. Before pricing CRM, potential buyers need to scope out the cost of a phone system that provides the right feature set for the business. In some cases custom coding and configuration can add to initial costs for implementation and integration.

CRM systems provide a focal point for business to customer communication. But they can also do much more than that, depending on the needs and goals of your organization. Just be sure to account for all of the costs involved before making your purchase decision.

Featured Research
  • 8 Reasons SMBs Should Invest in a CRM

    Adopting a CRM platform early offers many advantages, including the fact that it increases the odds of long-term success. While the cost of CRM software used to be prohibitive for most small businesses, this is no longer true. Cloud-based solutions have made the pricing much more competitive, and as many as 87% of companies now rely on them for their CRM software. more

  • 7 Ways Your CRM Helps Convert Leads

    Failure to convert interested leads can impact your bottom line drastically and simultaneously increase your operational costs and decrease your profits. The most common reason for this failure is lack of follow through from a sales team. Did you know that 74% of CRM users said that their CRM gave them improved access to customer data? And that by properly implementing a CRM, a business could shorten the sales cycle by 8 to 14%? more

  • Is Your CRM a Liability

    Is your CRM a liability? Before you answer too quickly with a no, just think about all the advancements that have taken place over the years regarding this technical solution. In fact, just in over the past decade there has been a dramatic shift away from on-premise systems to cloud based solutions. more

  • 12 Must-Have CRM Features

    Having a CRM is absolutely essential to any modern day business's success. In fact, 91% of companies with 11+ employees now utilize a CRM solution in their business. When making the decision to purchase or upgrade your CRM solution, it can be quite overwhelming determining which features are essential to your success versus those that pack more fluff than punch. more

  • Making the Case for a New CRM

    Did you know that having an outdated CRM is just as bad as not having one at all? Do you find yourself working even just a little too hard to make your current CRM work to maintain your contacts and relationships? While it is increasingly more difficult to reduce customer churn, modern CRM tools are much more powerful and provide much more opportunity to develop stronger relationships with your clients that can provide more stability and revenue to your company and bottom line. more