How to Budget For a CRM Implementation?

It is vital that you carefully plan every aspect of a CRM implementation Project


There is little doubt that a CRM implementation is a major investment for any organization. Whether you are a small business that needs to justify every penny, a mid-size company that is building the infrastructure that will take you to the next level, or an enterprise business that needs to justify expenses to its stakeholders, it is vital that you carefully plan every aspect of a CRM implementation project.

At HSO we understand and empathize with those pressures. It is with that in mind that we have created this eBook to help you. Flip to the next page to learn 6 factors to keep in mind when budgeting for CRM implementation.

#1 Pre-Sales Research

This is more of a time cost than money out of your pocket. However, it might be the most important aspect of the process. Implementing a CRM system is a big decision. You certainly need to take the time to properly research this purchase. And, you need to be honest with yourself while doing the research. To get the most out of the investment you need to have clear goals and a full understanding of how the CRM will help you move forward. You should not make a decision on what direction you are going to take until you understand four key things:

  1. Understand why your legacy system is failing.
  2. Evaluate how the CRM will address those failings.
  3. Determine if you need to access CRM remotely.
  4. Understand how the change will affect your staff.

Once you have a full appreciation of that, you’re ready to continue the process.

#2 Partner Selection

Many companies focus entirely on choosing what type of CRM they wish to use. Clearly, that’s important, but it doesn’t matter what software you are implementing if you pick the wrong partner. We suggest you take the time to research each prospective company. You should host potential partners for demos and presentations and potentially travel to the partner’s head office to work out the details of the contract.

You want a partner who has the right experience to give you what you need and the resources to get the job done. They should have the confidence to challenge your assumptions based on their experience. You can’t cut corners when you are looking to find the right fit.

A CRM can do a lot of things, but you might only need it to do one thing for you really well. If you can identify that you can save yourself a lot of time and money implementing it.

#3 Baseline Price

Here’s where most people will want a hard number. The reality is that it is almost impossible to give one without knowing the specifics of each situation. Every CRM implementation is unique and the pricing reflects that. Sure, you can find some ballpark figures out there. You may even find “CRM calculators” that offer you an on-the-spot quote. The reality is that some CRM implementations can cost $30,000, some $50,000, and some even $500,000. It really depends on the scope of your project and the complexity of what you are looking for.

Imagine you are renovating your kitchen. You look up a bunch of local contractors and call a few that have good Yelp reviews. Although they all would try to give you a ballpark figure over the phone or on their website, none would be willing to commit to a price without coming out to stand in your kitchen to see what they are dealing with. Do you want marble counters? Do they need to tear down a wall? But, that wall is load-barring. Wait, is that mold? The contractor might say “about $10,000” to you on their website or over the phone, but they can’t know with certainty until they get in there and get their hands dirty looking around.

It’s the same with a CRM project. There are simply too many factors at play to give a hard number with any certainty. What a good partner should be able to guarantee is that they will work with you openly and fairly to find a price that fits your needs and budget

#4 Stay Focused On What You Need

Instead of getting bogged down on a final number, look for ways that the implementation can have the best benefit for your expenditure. The old adage that“you get what you pay for” is true, but there are a lot of things that you can pay for in a CRM that you might not need. You need to narrow down the pain point that you are trying to fix and exactly how the CRM is going to fix it. Your implementation partner should work with you to narrow down your needs, especially if you are working with a limited budget. Sure, there are a lot of bells and whistles that you can add on, but do you really need them?

Let’s go back to the contractor analogy. If the issue you’re trying to fix by renovating your kitchen is to get more storage and working space, then you should focus on the elements of the renovation that will accomplish that. If you have the money left over to spend $1,000 on a pretty backsplash, great, but remember why it is that you are buying a new kitchen.

What might have been sold to you as a $20/user solution can quickly become $200/user.

#5 Pick a Partner That Saves You Money

Not only should a good CRM partner have the knowledge to assist you in narrowing down the scope of your project, but they should also have the experience to find “shortcuts” in the implementation process that will also save time and money. Although every implementation is unique, there are similarities between projects. If you are working with a partner that has completed several Field Services projects, they can use elements of those projects to speed up yours. You are starting the project with a lot of factors for success already in place.

Another tip is to look for a partner with a large staff of engineers, so you don't lose valuable time and money if the project lead catches a cold. Local partners are always better than remote partners. That way they can come on-site to make sure everything is going smoothly.

#6 Custom or out of the Box

If you are a small to mid-size company, you may find that the solution you need can be found with an out-of-the-box solution. By eliminating the need for customizations you can drastically reduce the cost of implementation. Once again the key to understanding this is by being critically aware of what exactly you are trying to fix with the CRM. Maybe you just need a way to manage a member list and send emails to your Association. In that case, you might be well served by a smaller, out-of-the-box CRM solution like our Blueprints.

Be careful of wolves in sheep’s clothing though. There are some companies that will pitch you so-called plug-and-play CRM’s, but you will quickly find out that they require expensive, third-party apps to function as advertised.

What might have been sold to you as a $20/user solution can quickly become $200/user. Ask questions of your partner to make sure that the out-of-the-box solution is actually all you need to solve your problem.

Budgeting for a CRM Implementation doesn't need to be a scary process

Do Your Homework

If you do your homework budgeting for a CRM implementation doesn’t have to be a scary process. And, the right partner can help guide you through the process as painlessly as possible. HSO can be that partner for you.

As the largest Microsoft Gold certified partner in Canada, HSO utilizes an “assembly line” approach when customizing Dynamics 365. This allows us to develop the software faster and less expensively than our competitors. Our strength is in the talent, creativity, and experience of our team. We have the confidence and know-how to find the right CRM solution for our clients.

When you work with HSO you’re not just a customer; you’re a partner. Giving you the tools to be successful it what motivates us each and every day.

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