Implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can be very useful. It would help your company build a stronger relationship with your customers which makes your company survive the marketing competition. But, you have to bear in mind that implementing CRM will also come with several costs. Your company must be ready financially because, aside for paying for the software itself, you have to think about the hardware, customization, training, and maintenance cost as well. You may now be wondering, what are these for?
Since you consider implementing CRM software, it’s understandable that your company already have the required hardware such as laptops, desktop computers, modems and as such. But installing CRM software may require you to make some upgrades on your hardware. You may need computers with larger memory and disk drives. Faster internet connection is also needed especially if you are going for a web based CRM solution. If your internet connection is unstable, your company’s progress may be extremely affected. CRM will just be a waste of money if the people from the company cannot use it every time they need it.
Customization is also very necessary for the success of your system. CRM works differently for every company. If there can be perfect CRM software that can cater all the needs of companies without the need of customization, well, it’s not invented yet. You have to add some features to your software that would suit the needs of your company. Customization of your software can be done by the vendor, you, or a value-added reseller. A simple system can be customized by someone from your company, but complex software needs to be customized by professional programmers.
Another cost of implementing CRM system is the need for training. Your people cannot guess how the new system works. You shouldn’t just let them browse it by themselves and learn on their own. Proper training is a must. This training may last for only a day to several weeks. The user’s knowledge on operating the system is very crucial for the success of CRM. If they don’t know how to use the new system, it will just lead to disappointing results. Expect that your people will rather not use it or will show decrease in productivity. So make sure that you provide them with the appropriate training upon the implementation and every time there are new features added. On the first few days of deployment, you may expect slow progress, but you must at least give them time to adjust. If they don’t progress for a long period of time, then maybe that’s the cue for you to act and observe why it’s happening. Do the appropriate solutions as soon as possible.
Maintenance is also needed to keep the CRM software at its best. Vendors may offer yearly maintenance services or may train someone from your company to do the work. Your company’s future is relying on the CRM database. The information stored may be used for customer service, marketing strategies and for billing. If you don’t properly maintain your system, it might end up performing errors and giving inaccurate data. So don’t neglect to keep funds fro this, it’s for your own company’s benefit.
You must not be alarmed by these costs but instead, get ready for it. That’s why planning is very important when implementing CRM, you must foresee the costs that you may run into and come up with solutions. CRM may have a lot of costs at first but, with an effective strategy and careful planning, it will surely pay off in the end.