You are likely paying too much for your CRM, here's why, and what to do about it

All commercial CRMs are designed with core functionality to keep track of leads, manage customer relationships, and provide reporting on sales performance. At the basic level, CRMs are directories with friendly user interfaces for management of an address book, with custom categories and filters for different kinds of contacts, and custom fields for recording more detailed data.

Affordable CRM systems

Here are some comparable examples:

Salesforce - $75+ per user/month (Excluding add ons)
SugarCRM - $40+ per user/month
Microsoft Dynamics - $40+ per user/month
Netsuite CRM - $50+ per user/month
Hubspot CRM - $800+ per month + 3,000 setup cost

If you're a small business owner, you may feel it is too much. If you are a department head or a C level executive with a midsize business or large enterprise, you should be as well. This is the cost of what is essentially an enhanced address book.

Here is why you are almost definitely paying too much for your CRM:

1. They charge per user/month. Regardless of the server bandwidth, or data storage they provide to your users, it is the same rate. For a sales team with 20 users, CRMs can cost between $800 to $1,500 per month, depending on what features you use.

2. They require upgrades for certain functions, and often tack it on to the per user charges. For example, Salesforce requires an upgrade from it's starter plan ($25/user/month) to it's professional plan ($75/user/month) to enable the task tracking functionality, among other functions, whether they are wanted or not.

3. In addition to monthly per user costs, to get the configuration you need to hit the ground running, many companies find it necessary to hire experienced consultants to execute the implementation. These consultants can cost anywhere between $75 to $200 per hour of work.

4. Add on costs can add to the monthly bill as a separate cost, paid to a 3rd party for new functionality or services. Examples of addons are sales forecast trackers, dashboards, gantt charts, and sychronization with other web services.  

How to save money:

1. Seek out emerging companies whose prices are substantially lower. The benefits of software shopping, in particular with cloud applications, is that it is extremely competitive. Cloud platforms are constantly evolving and becoming cheaper. Newer competitors are often willing to offer the same, or better, functionality than their competitors, for a premium price.

2.  Negotiate with your CRM vendor before making a purchase. Often, in cases where you are bring a large amount of users to their product, ie 30+ users,  the  vendors may offer enterprise level pricing for a 10% to 20% discount per user.

3. There are also products that better service niche customers, like Follow Up Boss for Realtors or ScreenDragon for marketing agencies; these generally require less implementation costs and can suit your industry specific needs right out of the box.

4. Build your own CRM on a codeless app builder such as Podio or Google AppMaker. These solutions may carry a per user cost, but the type and scale of the applications you create are unlimited, for a fixed price.

5.  Hire a professional business generalist to custom build your CRM application for you.  BEC can deliver a custom system tailored to your exact needs. Learn more