Things to Consider Before Investing in a CRM Software

Just about every common mistake and pitfall during CRM software selection can be avoided ahead of time. Before investing in a CRM software, take some of the bottom aspects into consideration first — it could potentially save you thousands of dollars and a lot of stress.

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Keep an Eye on Contracts

No CRM software contract is the same. Make sure you know the correct vernacular before purchasing a CRM software. Take some of the examples below.

User Name or User Number?

CRM vendors vary when it comes to how many users come with each package, as well as what the term “user” means. For example, some CRMs require companies to name the users rather than number them. This can become a huge problem to you, because if an employee quits, is laid off, or retires, you may not be able to let another employee use that user “seat” at all. This can add on to your cost of ownership because you may have to pay for another user to be added on. So, depending on your industry, it may be worth it to get a CRM that uses user numbers rather than names.

However, choosing a CRM and indicating a number of employees/users rather than named employees can also be something to keep an eye on. Your CRM contract may restrict or stop your ability to scale down the number of users until a certain renewal or policy adjustment date. This means that you could end up paying for users that you aren’t even using. Be sure to either negotiate these restrictions before buying or be aware of them ahead of time.

Upgrade Requirements

Some CRMs require that you pay for upgrades that can cost you additional money than you agreed upon. This is true even if the upgrades don’t add any value (or very little) to your company or business. On-premise CRM softwares are a particular place to look for this type of pitfall.

Hardware costs may also be needed if an upgrade needs new gear. If it is possible, try to opt out of upgrades when/where you need to.

 

CRMs with A Lot of Features May Not Be Worth It

It may be difficult to stick to your list of CRM features needed when faced with a great CRM software that seems to have it all. More is not always better. CRM vendors work hard in order to differentiate themselves from the number of CRM options out there. They do this by adding features that you didn’t even know existed, much less needed. Buying what you love rather than what your business needs can be costly. You may end up paying your annual or monthly CRM payment and looking forlornly at all of the cool features that are sitting there unused.

So, stick to your list of features that will actually benefit your company or business. An exception to this rule is if you come across a CRM with a feature that is new to you but has a measurable business value. If you find yourself facing this, calculate the extra cost of having this feature and calculate the return you will get in investing in it. If it’s worth it, give it a try. Otherwise, be careful with how many great features a CRM has if you don’t have any use for many of them.

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Cost to Own

Just like anything in business, the cost of ownership can be significantly different between products. For example, if you choose an on-premise CRM, this can have additional costs down the road such as installation costs, hardware, maintenance, certification, upgrades, training, man-hour expenses, and even the amount of space it takes up.

CRM solutions that are cloud-based (SaaS) and hosted can help with some of these expenses, but consider the features of the new CRM software you have your eye on, and see how easy and effective transferring your data and documents will be to the new CRM. Some CRM softwares have excellent features that use integration technology to transfer information, data, and documents from one CRM to a new one, and some don’t.

Make sure you know how much it will cost to own your CRM and what your approach will be upon purchase.

 

Automatic Re-Ups

It’s human nature to stick with a familiar brand and continue using the same product, even if you’re not really happy with it. Check out the chart below — the problems most employers and employees have with using CRM’s is the effort it takes to learn how to use it.

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Even if a business is not satisfied with their current software, it can be difficult to get them to make a leap into a new software out of dread of learning it alone.

Don’t fall victim to this. Same brand software does not mean that it will be an upgrade or easier to use than what you already have. Also, it doesn’t even guarantee that it will automatically transfer or integrate your current information from your old CRM to your new CRM, despite it being the same brand.

Know the details before you buy.

 

Regulatory Compliance

Many industries are heavily regulated by legal requirements such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (Sarbox), to the Gramm Leach Biley Act.

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You need to ensure that before investing in a CRM software, that it will meet or exceed regulatory requirements that exist in your industry. There are numerous CRM solutions that are designed to do just that, so sort your CRM software options by their compliance rankings above any other consideration before moving on to making a choice.

Compliance issues are not limited to hosted CRM platforms. Compliance problems can exist in the form of poor audit trails, inadequate user security, inauditable processing outputs and more. Some of these exist in on-premise CRM solutions too.

 

 

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