CRM’s Cost vs. Investment, Look Beyond the Price Tag Before You Decide


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How do you make purchase decisions on business systems such as CRM? I’ll bet you look at the price tag. We get it — We all need to watch how we spend our money. But if the cost is the sole consideration, pinching pennies can be “pound-foolish.” Let me illustrate:

We knew an owner of an equipment manufacturing business who realized that the well-known CRM they’d been using was no longer meeting their needs. Let’s call him Mr. Brown. His company chose this CRM because of its popularity and initial low price point, and for a time it worked for them. But then they began experiencing some frustrations. He started shopping around for a more robust solution but was struggling to get past the price tags. A cautious voice in his head was asking, “Should we keep what we have and just somehow make it work?”

Compare CRM costs, old and new

Mr. Brown reached out to us because he wanted to know more about CRM. We began gently probing. How, specifically, was their current CRM letting them down? He told us that his account reps didn’t like to use it, so they mostly didn’t. Training new hires on the system was complicated by the fact that their existing staff didn’t support using it.

Cost: customer information lost, staff time lost, employee satisfaction low.

The current CRM was not integrating well with Outlook, so email communications were not being reliably captured in the customer records.

Cost: customer experience lacks continuity, the staff looks less than professional.

The company was struggling to consistently send out mass emails and track their results. And segmenting the lists strategically, the way marketers said you should? It wasn’t happening. Mr. Brown couldn’t see how they could improve the use of this marketing tool because it seemed so labor-intensive.

Cost: loss of leads, loss of conversions, loss of customer relationships.

The picture was emerging: In basing his decision on cost, Mr. Brown was overlooking some substantial ones. But having gained clarity, he was now ready to look at his purchase decision through a different lens – value and ROI.

Compare CRM value, old and new

We shifted our questions to what his business needed from a CRM not only now, but into the future. He had actually been thinking about that, so it wasn’t hard for him to list a few key needs, starting with more efficient marketing.

Mr. Brown had heard that some CRM’s will automate nurture campaigns, including assigning lead follow-up to specific agents’ portfolios – with information on where those prospects are on their buying journey – based on how they have engaged with the email. Lead scoring excited him. He wants to learn more about these capabilities in CRM.

Value: Sales funnel management, staff time savings and increased productivity, increased marketing effectiveness.

He also wanted to better match sales opportunities with product and service categories. Best case scenario, his new CRM would quickly and accurately generate quotes.

Value: shorter sales cycle, more personal customer experience.

He wanted a CRM that his sales force and service department would both use. Could CRM track field service cases? (Yes.) He recognized that no matter who in his company customers talk to, they want to be seen comprehensively. They don’t want the nuisance of having to repeat any of the information that they’ve previously told someone else. And if both sales and service are recording each of their interactions, the CRM will hold well-rounded knowledge about his customers.

Value: an expert CRM partner, who will get to know his business, respond quickly, employ a people-first implementation strategy, and provide guidance as needed to get maximum value from the chosen CRM.

At this point, the “aha!” moment occurs as business owners like Mr. Brown begin to consider the value potential in a CRM weighed against all the costs, not just the price tags. This new perspective allows them to make a strategic CRM decision.

How would you answer our questions to Mr. Brown?

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


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