Spending on CRM Today (and Tomorrow)

Get the inside scoop on what your enterprise - and its competitors - are spending for licensing fees (when required) and per seat usage at prominent CRM vendors.

CRM is arguably one of the most important software solutions available to 'Net professionals today. Not only do they serve as databases of customer information, they are helping make today's enterprise a more connected, intuitive, and useful partner in the buying process and throughout the purchasing lifecycle. It can be expensive however to own and operate a full-fledged customer relationship management software in the cloud (or on premise). So how much exactly can you expect to invest in CRM?

There are numerous variables that will come into play during your decision making process about the optimal CRM for your enterprise, including customer data management, interaction tracking, workflow automation, and reporting. The sophistication of the platform under consideration should also be high on the list and often that comes down to the extensibility of the core product. Remember, today's CRM solutions are much more than just ways to store information about customers - they can be used for marketing automation (generating, scoring and nurturing leads), automating the day to day sales process, provide customer service and support (from trouble tickets to knowledge management repositories), and a whole lot more.

Of course, price is going to be one of the most significant consideration made and prices, as you might imagine, vary greatly by vendor. Small enterprises with a social focus may opt for a solution such as Nimble which charges a modest $15 per month for each user (often referred to as a "seat" (Nimble also offers a free personal plan for single users), whereas its competitor Batchbook prices its solution at $55 per month (without user restrictions) and Zoho just $20 (open source SugarCRM comes in at $35 per month per user). There is obviously a balance to be achieved between features, the number of users needed and more, so take time deciding (making sure to use the free trials which are so often made available by CRM vendors).

Those enterprises with larger teams and more challenging implementation scenarios will turn to vendors including such popular solutions as Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics CRM. For its complete CRM product (Salesforce also provides limited versions in its Contact Manager and Group plans), Salesforce charged between $65 and $300 per user, per month - billed annually. Salesforce also tends to charge additionally for various add-ons which can increase the price dramatically. Compare that range with Microsoft Dynamics CRM (just $65 per user per month) or Oracle (at roughly $75 without all the digital bells and whistles required by today's enterprise) and it's easy to see how quickly CRM costs can rise.

So where do you fall in the range of CRM costs for your enterprise? Share you comments below and let other Website Magazine readers know and learn from your experience.