CRM budgeting for small business
by Lauren Stafford
There’s no wonder that small businesses are investing in CRM systems given the advantages of technology when it comes to data management, social integration and other capabilities which can improve processes. For small businesses, this means saving man hours and supporting potential growth.
There’s a financial incentive too. A study by Nucleus Research suggests that CRM pays back at least $5.60 for every dollar spent. But to ensure ROI, building an accurate budget is essential.
1. Invest time in gathering your requirements
Before selecting your CRM, you need to understand how the technology will function within your small business. Investigating your requirements is a vital step in minimising purchasing risks and other costly mistakes that might do an organisation more harm than good.
As well assessing tools and functionality, it’s important to think about how your potential new CRM system aligns with your company values and long-term strategic goals.
Begin by identifying problems that exist in your current situation, for example, poor workflow or inefficient processes. Through establishing what outcomes you wish to bring about first, you can work towards gathering a list of requirements.
2. Build in contingency for unanticipated costs
No matter the scale of the project or how meticulous your research is prior to implementation, there could be unforeseen expenses. For example, with some CRM systems there are implementation fees and the costs rise if your CRM requires fine-tuning to better fit your business needs. However, there are options available that you can easily customise yourself and where implementation and support are completely free of charge.
Training is another area often overlooked when it comes to future-proofing your finances. Often these costs are unavoidable so it’s best to plan for them from the outset or find a CRM that is easy to use and where you can train your team in minutes.
For small businesses it’s rare you would need to bring in a CRM consultant. This is unlikely to be a cost-effective solution. But you might want to think about budgeting for an in-house member of staff to manage CRM admin, if you feel it’s warranted.
3. Consider the need for continued user training
User-adoption rates are integral to the success or failure of a CRM implementation project. When selecting a CRM, establish if there are any learning resources provided by the vendor. Look out for live training webinars, videos and on-line chat to help. On average, the adoption rates are about 47%, with the most important two factors being technical and customer support.
There should be a plan in place to fund continuous learning from onboarding for new employees to refresher training. Even a small number of staff need to be provided with the optimal support. Regardless of the size of your workforce, users should have access to the tools they need to fully embrace your CRM system.
Lauren Stafford is Digital Publishing Specialist at Discover CRM, which brings together news, research and opinion on CRM software.