Are you considering a CRM for your business or franchise, but aren’t sure if the expense will be worth it? This is probably the biggest concern when it comes to making the jump and moving forward with a CRM platform. Let’s take a look at the cost and benefits of a CRM so you know how to weigh your options before you decide to make the investment.

Understanding the Cost of a CRM Platform

Different CRM platforms have different costs, and it can be frustrating at times to compare them because the costs aren’t always listed online in a straightforward way. This has a reason though: many CRM platforms can be tailored with other complementary services for a more complete solution depending on your needs – meaning the price is based on what services you want to include and how many users will need access to the platform.

The most common pricing models for CRMs include:

  • Flat Monthly Fee
  • Quote-Based Price
  • One-Time Cost
  • Free

You may be thinking, “Free? I’ll do that one. Done.” And that may be the best option for you depending on your budget and needs. If you want to give a free CRM a try before you decide to opt for a paid solution, you can do that too!

However, for more complex and custom features and integrations, you’re probably going to need to pay for something. When you reach out to a CRM provider, be sure to be clear about the features you want to be included when you request a quote. If you’re not sure which features are most important to you, tell them you would like to know all the features available to you so you can make the best decision when you compare quotes.

Evaluating the Cost of Your Time Spent on Tasks

Once you have at least a few quotes in hand, compare them. Then take a look at how those options compare to your workload for doing those tasks that would be automated (evaluate your time at a realistic rate for the best comparison) –

  • How much time per month is spent manually sorting form fills and forwarding them to the right people?
  • How much time is spent per month manually creating new lead profiles?
  • Do you not currently use any sort of centralized database for lead profiles?
  • If you were to create your own (even a shared spreadsheet), how long would data entry take for that both upfront and then each month to keep it updated?
  • How much time is spent per month creating and sending out emails to potential leads or known leads?

As you see the features available from different CRM platforms, incorporate any tasks that would be automated into your assessment as well. If your company is larger, be sure to incorporate everyone’s tasks and time into the assessment for the most accurate comparison. The more tasks and hours of work removed from your plate, the more you may be willing to pay for the CRM.

Incorporating the Convenience Factor

There’s also a convenience factor. You may be willing to pay a little more just for the convenience of having everything automated to run on its own and be available whenever sales or marketing needs it. Saving time and mental effort can be worth a lot! Even if you don’t add an extra 10% for the convenience factor, make sure you mentally consider and note its presence and importance.

Considering the Value of Effective Lead Nurturing & Management

Ultimately, the “worth it” or not measurement for a CRM platform comes from both the savings on the front end, but also in the value of being able to collect, organize, distribute, and nurture leads effectively, which hopefully leads to increased revenue. You should analyze your current conversion rate – how many leads do you get (volume) and how many of them turn into accounts – for a direct comparison to your conversion rate with whichever CRM platform you choose. This isn’t necessarily an end-all comparison, because lead volume can fluctuate with website traffic volume and where that traffic comes from, so don’t forget to look at the big picture as well.

Making a Smart Decision

If you are able to, request a shorter-term contract or a monthly contract, or even a trial period, so you are able to compare the conversion rate against your benchmark (without the CRM). If you’re happy with the overall experience, carry on with them! If not, express your concerns to see if it’s something the provider can fix on their end or if you should try a different CRM platform.

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