The whole idea in buying customer relationship management software is to make lots of money, right?

Like all technology, CRM keeps going down in price. That’s great for your bottom-line and because it’s become indispensible for relationship-building with prospects and customers.

Not only do the costs for CRM keep decreasing, it’s increasingly user-friendly. It’s easier to install and use.

Like any good businessperson you want a great return on your CRM investment.

So there’s a lot to consider. Start by analyzing each employee’s equipment.

There’s an unanticipated initial cost if your employees don’t have notebook computers strong enough to operate cloud-based CRM software, which is becoming the most common.

Next, there’s the cost to buy the software itself, expense for a consultant, and training to use it.

Hint: For a 10-person team, expect to pay $15,000 to $20,000.

You will save money with due diligence:

1. Assess your needs

Evaluate your current needs and forecast what you anticipate needing for a three-year period. As your company grows, make certain any new software will accommodate your future needs.

If you already have a CRM system, analyze whether you even need to buy a new one.

In your cost-benefit analysis, remember the difference between what you need and what you want.

However, if your software is inadequate and your computers are indeed up-to-the task of new software, consider the CRM pricing options as well as the upfront and ongoing costs.

2. Look for vendor red flags

Look for sincerity in your prospective vendor’s style. Plan carefully.

Check the vendor’s references. Watch intently for possible signs of hidden billing and up-charges.

Up-charges most frequently occur if you choose any customizations. Analyze how much customization you require.

“How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”
-Bill Gates

Look for financial stability, not only for the software but the vendor, too. This especially goes when considering a bid from a new company. Check out the vendor thoroughly.

Learn about any downtime in the vendor’s cloud-based system. Look for possible security issues. Again, check references.

3. Negotiate carefully

Complex customizations mean costly integration. Find out if integrations will be included in the base price.

You’ll save money, if you make any customizations yourself. Moreover, if you’re fortunate, the software won’t have to be customized.

Negotiate for highly intuitive software. Highly intuitive software is simple to learn.

Everything’s negotiable in competitive environments. After determining what you can spend, discuss the dollar amount with the vendor.

If the vendor tries to sell you a four-year contract, forget it. All software is likely to be obsolete in just three years. Consider a three-year deal, that’s when you’re likely to get the best price.

4. Strategize on training

If you have a large staff, consider a train-the-trainer approach. In turn, your trained person can train your other employees.

Also, group-training classes will save you time and money.

If you have multiple locations and use the train-the-trainer method, decide how many people need to be trained so they can train everybody else.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more tech strategies:

Skyrocketing Cybercrime Calls for 8 Strategies to Manage 3rd Party Risks — Daily data breaches have become the norm in news headlines. We’re also hearing a lot about third-party risks being a chief culprit in cybercrime. Your business associates might be bigger risks for data breaches than you realize, too. Here’s why and what you can do.

Risk Management – Picking the Best Cloud Storage Provider — Choosing the right cloud storage provider is a must for risk management. You have a vast array of options. Cost is important, of course, but so are your company’s risk-management needs – just like the federal government.

How Businesses Can Make More Sales Revenue with CRM — Conclusions from sales and marketing research are head-slappers. Increasingly, businesses are using customer relationship software (CRM) but they’re not using it for maximum revenue. That’s the conclusion from a Velocify study, study “The Impact of CRM on Sales Lead Response.”

Surprise: Open Source Technology Is Preferable to the Cloud – Study — Open source software is more trustworthy than using a cloud service, according to a 2012 study by a distinguished British IT expert, Professor Jim Norton FREng. The “Open for Business” study was underwritten by travel industry IT services group Amadeus.

HR Trends in Talent Management Using Technology — Despite all the talk about the use of technology in talent management, the majority of human resources departments are behind the curve. Why? A study shows 72 percent of HR departments reveal they’re not using such tools.

“How you gather, manage and use information will determine whether you win or lose.”
-Bill Gates


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

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