In my last blog, Avoid the Critical Mistake : Pick the Right CRM system, I demonstrated the importance of matching your CRM system to your internal processes and provided a few simple examples of aspects that are often not considered. I want to now examine the costs that are associated with making the wrong decision, as support for putting in the time and effort upfront to help ensure you make the right selection.

The Hidden and Not-So-Hidden Costs of Choosing the Wrong CRM

When a decision is made to implement a CRM system, there are typical costs associated with the implementation or customization of the system to meet your requirements and the monthly subscription fees. As mentioned in previous blogs, customers often overlook the critical aspect of matching their business processes to the CRM’s capabilities and are often sold on the fact that they can get to where they need to be through customization. As customization is usually a time and materials billing process, vendors or their partners are all too happy to support requirements that spiral out of control as initial use of the system reveals the areas not considered. It not unusual for an initial $20K implementation estimate to end up at 2x, 3x, or more before the process is completed. Often the customer is still not satisfied with the end result.

Another avenue that is often used is the addition of external applications from additional vendors to cover areas where the CRM does not fully support the customer’s process. When cost is not an issue, this can be a very good solution as the appeal is gaining the “best solution” for each process. When cost is a real consideration, a customer is faced with real costs of multiple implementation fees, additional monthly subscriptions, and the hidden costs associated with managing multiple vendors, implementing changes when updates effect one or more of the applications and the time and resource cost associated with not having one responsible party when a bug occurs.

A third option is simply not addressing the areas that are not covered well by the CRM and perhaps leaving these processes as they were, be it manual or through another disparate system. The hidden cost with this approach is not maximizing the ROI of money that you have already invested and the additional resource burn that was intended to be remedied when the initial decision was made to move to a CRM system in the first place.

Clearly, it is well worth the investment in time and effort at the beginning of the process to ensure that the CRM system you select maximizes support of your internal processes. No single system will be perfect but the closer you come to the optimal solution, the lower your implementation, monthly subscriptions and hidden costs will be.

In the next blog in this series, I will discuss why no decision may be as costly as the wrong decision.

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