Three ongoing CRM costs you forgot during budget calculations

When calculating the budget required to get your CRM up and running, it is relatively easy to know what to include.  

However, very often the crunch comes when ongoing costs rear their head and you find that you have forgotten to add them to your software budget.

The thing to remember is that when working out how much your CRM will cost overall, you need to take into account ‘hidden costs’ that will be ongoing on a regular basis, monthly or annually.

Support

A lot of CRM subscriptions only include basic support so if you need more than this, you will end up paying for it.   Most vendors can provide this, but may not go into great detail about what you get for the regular additional costs during the sales pitch.  

You should regard this as an investment, not something to be opposed to as having ongoing help-desk support and assistance can be crucial when staff need not just initial training but help with more complex matters.  

Guide: CRM software pricing guide

Build this into your budget once you have ascertained the cost and provide your staff with the support they deserve. This should also take account of any new additions to the team as the company grows along with training for existing users when new releases materialize.

Maintenance

Once you have dealt with the cost of the initial deployment, you need to consider ongoing maintenance as well as the cost of adding features to the system as you use the CRM and realize that they will be beneficial.

This is not the same as optional extras that you built in when you purchased.  

Maintenance costs will depend upon the number of users and CRM complexity.  As well as dealing with data integration from other departments, this charge will cover every type of maintenance so you will not be hit with anything unexpected.

Other items of maintenance may be things like security reviews, performance tuning or authentication/automation audits.

Consultancy/project management

Do you need to allow a budget for an in-house member of staff to manage CRM admin or is the system too small to need this?   

If applicable, it is always wise to have someone within your team who can devote their time to being knowledgeable about all aspects of the new system and how they will fit with your business processes and systems.  

Even with the smaller systems, it is a good idea to have someone managing the CRM and ensuring that everyone is using the system correctly and if problems do arise, they should be the main point of contact between you and the vendor who is supplying support and maintenance.

You should never be despondent when looking at the ongoing costs of your CRM as the impact upon your bottom line should be zero.  Take into account that CRM ROI should outweigh not only the costs of implementing the CRM but absorbing the ongoing costs too.  By including these additional costs within your CRM strategy, you will see long-term savings as well as an increase in efficiency.  

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Jane Tareen

About the author…

An MBA-qualified professional, Jane specializes in all kinds of copywriting and creative content production. With many years spent working in advertising and publishing, she is also skilled in editorial production and proof-reading. Whilst writing, she has a constant companion in the form of one very large Fox Red Labrador!

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Jane Tareen