How much does CRM cost a small business and what are the hidden costs?

How much does CRM cost a small business and what are the hidden costs?

Looking at the price plans and features that will save us “time and money”, give us a “paradigm shift” in the way we work, allow us to do something that we didn’t know that we needed to, we often overlook how important it is to consider the true cost of a system and where your current issues are right now and what they will look like in the next 6, 12 and 18 months.

Jane who runs a mythical small design business supplying cool web and print design to businesses (since the training all I can think about at the moment is cake!).

Jane has identified her “CRM” needs as:

  • Keep a list of contact details for clients
  • Keep a list of contact details for suppliers
  • Keep a list of contact details for employees
  • Keep a list of potential clients (and perhaps contact details)
  • Be able to update the status on potential clients (lead, warm, VIP, etc)
  • Categorise people by industry, location, preference
  • Keep a record of key bits of extra information
  • Access everything in the office
  • Ensure that his partner, part time admin and accountant have easy access to the clients and suppliers contact details but not employees.
  • Access everything on the go (i.e. from a smart phone)
  • Affordable
  • Help if needed
  • Easy to use

This is a useful list with the requirements being pretty straightforward.

How much does CRM cost a small business?

The two biggest hidden costs here are “easy to use” and “help if needed”. There are many systems that offer amazing features at a good price point these days, especially in the cloud. The thing is… How much will it cost you to learn to use? How much of your valuable time will you waste getting it to work on your phone or keeping your contacts in sync across your devices and disparate systems? What will it cost you to get some advice or help with a query? Is tagging, a few seconds job or a few minutes? If you have to do something a lot, all of those small tasks can start to add up to a lot of time.

The rest of Jane’s requirements are pretty standard these days. What matters is how accessible these features are to her and her staff. Will she need to train people up? Every time she adds or updates a contact in the system will she need to do it again on one of her or her teams devices? Can she easily find notes on a specific person? You get what I’m saying.

How do you  assess these hidden costs when you’re trialling a new system and what does it mean to your bottom line?

A simple process to get you going:

  • Create a list of features that you need right now
  • Find a few different CRM systems
  • See how easy it is for you and your staff to run through your list in each system and see how they feel
  • Which is the easiest to use versus what you need now and in 6, 12 and 18 months time?
  • Make a choice
  • Go and be productive