Your vendor gives you a ballpark. And then, as you move ahead with the CRM implementation, your bill starts piling.
Then you wonder, from where on earth you signed up for these hidden costs.
Aw, man, this is such a bottleneck situation. You never want to get here because this is one of the main reasons why up to 69% of CRM implementations fail.
And you won’t get to such an episode now that you have landed on our blog. When you leave this page, you’ll know how to budget the cost of implementing your retail CRM.
Let’s delve in.
Table of Contents
While investing in a retail CRM, ensure that you have the following features. So, understand that your implementation cost can vary with the addition or elimination of some modules.
Let’s look at them briefly.
Your CRM system is typically a database of leads, opportunities, and customers. This module is responsible for monitoring every single interaction with your contacts and brands.
These interactions could be anything - a customer service call or a sales transaction, or a campaign launch. This way, you get the power to keep all your correspondences under one umbrella rather than dispersed spreadsheets.
In your CRM, you can validate all the information about your leads. Again, you need not depend on disparate systems to execute this exercise.
You can even map your lead’s intent and source besides his contact and demography details. It thus becomes easy to send them messages or engage them with attractive offers.
In the long-term, lead nurturing with your CRM can help build trust and eventually convert them into loyal customers.
Can you imagine having a CRM that won’t help you create and launch your campaigns?
So the campaign manager is a principal feature of your CRM that must assist you in designing targeted email campaigns. It can leverage the lead’s applicable subtleties and follow news around them on LinkedIn to get the campaigns rolling.
These customized and automated messages could then cater as powerful online store content too.
Most of ‘em rarely think of a CRM from the automation perspective. But trust me, AI-based CRM software such as Ingage can offer you state-of-the-art automation capabilities so that your entire CRM can run on autopilot.
And then other CRMs will take all the mundane tasks out of your hands and allow you to have fun with the creative stuff.
Believe it or not, your CRM is an impressive analytical tool.
You can channel these analytical capabilities to garner significant insights into the knowledge you might have missed. This could include your sales performance, accomplished targets, and other business-critical metrics such as churn and RFV.
While these are the core features of any standard CRM, the addition of other modules or the elimination of one or more of these can impact the cost of implementing your retail CRM.
Recommended Reading: 5 Savvy Ways to Execute CRM Implementation Roadmap in 2021
Before you put the axe to work, you need to start your implementation project with a plan.
This step usually involves conversations with stakeholders, managers, and employees to lay out the tasks that your CRM system should handle and understand how it falls in alignment with your business’ vision.
As a case in point, if you own an online store, then you might need a one-layer catalogue for your contacts and a database system to house all related information. Also, you would be needing tools for email marketing and tracking metrics.
On the flip side, if you are a big retailer chain, you need such an enterprise-grade system.
So altogether, to define your business goals and visions to ace customer experience with your CRM, allocate about 10 - 20% of your final budget.
You have the choice to either go for a cloud-based CRM solution or an on-premise one. And here’s how they differ.
Firstly, a cloud-based CRM lives online. You pay a subscription fee and get a license for your retail business.
On the other side of the spectrum, for an on-premise CRM system, you make an upfront capital investment. But you can run autonomously. The CRM system will run on your server, and you’ll have to take care of its maintenance, updates, and uptime.
However, with cloud CRM, you’ll have better avenues for customization and payment. They are easier to scale, and you’ll have remote-access for all your devices.
If you look at the current trends, cloud CRMs are rapidly replacing on-premise CRMs. Way back in 2008, 88% of CRMs lived on-premise. But by the end of 2018, in just a decade, cloud CRMs account for 90% of CRMs.
If you’d ask me what the best option is, well, it’s cloud CRMs. Nevertheless, if you deal with sensitive data or if you need complete control over your CRM system, then you might as well go with an on-premise CRM.
But remember, cloud CRMs take fewer upfront investments. And more subscription options, such as monthly, annual, and quarterly subscriptions, are the brownie points.
Your subscription package level, data and records volume, and the add-ons you need can influence your service level costs.
In a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model like Ingage, you can avail of various tiers of the CRM. Every plan will have a bundle of advanced features and capabilities. For instance, the modules can enhance from Lite to Plus to Professional to Enterprise.
So, the higher the level of your choice, the higher the price as well.
But understand this. As your business grows, so should your CRM. Therefore, investing in a cloud CRM makes sense, for it gives you the scalability to grow at your own pace. You can maybe start out small with a Lite plan. Then, as your retail business grows, you can move up the levels and customize it with an Enterprise plan.
So, the level of your plan can affect your implementation cost.
And moving on, again, as your business grows, so will your contact base. When you invest in contact-based CRMs, you would have a limit on the number of records you can store at a specified price. If you hit your threshold, you’ll be notified (or not, in some cases!), and then you’ll have to take a call on either upgrading your record limit or cleaning up your records.
And in the worst-case scenario, be billed for an upgraded plan without any notifications. Nice birthday gift, eh?
Jokes apart, on a serious note, SaaS CRMs like Ingage make it very easy for you to upgrade and downgrade your plans. The pricing is so transparent that you needn’t fear heart-wrenching birthday presents. :)
Now, how about situations where you need just another one or two features but can’t justify the price jump from your existing plan to the upgraded version?
To solve these hassles, some CRM vendors would give you add-ons. They can either come to you free or at an additional cost. So, free add-ons are those native integrations with other tools and other basic dashboard customization, reporting, and analytics.
Alternatively, your premium add-ons would be advanced intelligence, AI capabilities, and other 3rd party integrations.
The number of users on a plan will differ from one vendor to the other. While vendor A might give you X amount of users for Y plan, vendor B might add individual users for a fixed price per month.
And sometimes, you might face scenarios where you need to roll out more dough to access a particular feature or add-ons while on a plan.
Decided on your vendor and subscription tier? It’s time to get your CRM rolling.
In the implementation phase, you can expect your vendor build customized dashboards, template creation, contact import, data migration, and automated workflow creation.
And this can cost a whole lot of money. Since this area is oftentimes grey, it’s best to ask your vendor directly about how much the CRM implementation would cost you.
Nonetheless, if you do this in a hurry, your implementation cost can pile up. To give you a rough estimate, be prepared to spend $1 on implementation for every $1 you spend on your annual subscription. And sometimes, the range can be anywhere between $1200 to $5000.
Simply put, the implementation phase would require you to roll out 10 - 15% of your annual budget.
Great! You have your CRM up and running. But are your employees running along?
It’s a common ritual for managers to forget about this essential stage because they think it will be easy to train their employees.
My manager friend, please don’t make this mistake.
Because it’s simply not going to work. (And that’s a research-backed statement!)
Manage more than a dozen members on your team? The teaching session can flare-up. The best way to approach this is to get CRM developers to offer lectures and training sessions so that your employees are better enlightened.
After all, isn’t it best to learn about the brainchild from the creators?
Along with this benefit, though, comes the cost factor - set 10% of your final budget for training your employees.
Your support system and tech maintenance call for bug fixes and upgrades. And this can vouch for 15 to 50% of your annual budget.
Recommended Reading: The Golden Commandments of CRM Data Management Best Practices for 2021
The pandemic has truly shaken our economy beyond imagination. But don’t let that hamper your need for an effective CRM system.
So, let’s get going with the top three ways you can implement CRM on a budget.
Generate a detailed specification of your requirements. This will better position vendors to offer firm pricing. Once you get this, you can identify the most competitive offerings. You can then identify which features you can do without if you are finding it hard to hit the budget.
Oftentimes than not, retailers, rush into choosing a vendor with the hopes that they will frame the ultimate specification list. But as you should be aware, the vendor’s motto is to maximize the commercial value of the project. So, you’ll get locked in and would even end up paying 50% more.
Just check your records, and you might already have pounds worth of unused software gathering dust. Refrain from adding another CRM software to the list.
In fact, few CRM vendors would even penalize you for buying software incrementally. So, start off small, and as you grow, add the necessary licenses.
On this note, while it may be tempting for you to go after a well-known CRM brand, sometimes, that might not be cost-effective. Consequently, getting a tight specification list will help you figure out the features you need and do not need.
You will then find that lower-cost options comfortably meet your needs. Still and all, ensure that you select a vendor who’ll exist to trade in harsh market situations too.
It’s always best to phase your projects. Don’t go overboard and get locked-up. Implement the basics first, and leverage the value it adds. As you grow, add the other capabilities over time.
This way, you can reduce your up-front cost and also understand the realistic potential of the tech stack. You’d have a fair idea of whether the software is worthwhile after all, and this will prevent you from developing expensive white elephants.
I hope you got clarity on how much it would cost you to implement a retail CRM. Take it one step at a time.
Need help in making the first step? Get in touch with us! Let’s help you implement a retail CRM system without breaking the bank.