Before embarking on a CRM initiative, start by determining your anticipated Return on Investment
(ROI). This is the same process you would perform before commencing ANY significant project in your
When calculating the ROI for CRM, there are many costs to weigh against your expected benefits. Some costs are obvious, such as the software and hardware your CRM solution will require. Most CRM vendors will tell you about these in great detail, citing the software licensing costs, the annual maintenance agreement, and the installation and configuration fees. Often they'll provide you with technical hardware information you may need to purchase to support their product. Additionally, they may offer an impressive spreadsheet that shows how the improved customer retention rates, reduced sales cycle times and lower cost of sales will deliver a payback in four months, or some equally impressive timeframe.
Some of these costs, however, such as training, are often overlooked. If the CRM solution is one that is difficult to learn, or that your employees are not already familiar with, you can plan on an average of two weeks of concentrated training. This can equate to two weeks of not tending to business during the training period. Conceivably, the training could result in a 4% hit to your bottom line for the year.
The solution? Either select a CRM solution that requires little or no training or remember to calculate the
Stephen Brooks is vice president of marketing for MultiActive Software Corp., in Vancouver, B.C. The company (www.multiactive.com) publishes Maximizer, Entice and ecBuilder CRM and e-commerce software solutions.
This was first published in October 2000