On Target With Your CRM Budget
A successful CRM budget should come in on-budget, but most fail to achieve that elusive goal. Meeting budget targets is especially important for small businesses, which usually will have reserve capacity.
Meeting CRM project budgets requires careful in-depth analysis before starting the project. Every effort must be made to begin on the right food. There are four areas considered crucial to the successful planning and implementation of a CRM budget.
o ROI – Make an honest assessment of your project’s capacity for generating a return on investment for your business. Try to be as objective as possible in estimating ROI.
o Risk Reduction — Think of anything that can go wrong and then calculate as much as possible the likelihood of such risks. Risk often equates to cost, so take all measures necessary to minimize CRM project risk.
o CRM Service requirements – Try to account for all future services that your CRM project will require and budget accordingly. A failure to accurately predict needed services in your CRM budget will result in surprise expenses that can mount up very quickly. Replay in your mind past project experiences and note the time spent on providing various services.
o Technology requirements – Technology often makes tremendous difference in the time and cost involved with any project. You need to make sure you have the right tools for the job at hand. Make sure your consultants have adequate knowledge to recommend the right tools – the hardware and software — for your project.
After analyzing these four areas, you can start to develop a working CRM budget. If you have little or no experience with CRM software, you may have to rely on sales representatives who may conjure up a non-realistic budget to help promote their product.
Try to avoid overly optimistic projections, and usually it will be better to err on the safe side when considering risks and similar factors. With a realistic budget, you will be better able to make sound decisions on how to proceed with your project.
If after making a realistic assessment, you find your project exceeds your budget, here are some tips on how to proceed:
o Postpone the project and save resources. In the future the situation may change so that you will be able to afford what is currently too expensive. In the meantime, make preparations for that time when your project becomes viable.
o Proceed with your project despite the budget concerns. There is still a possibility of coming in on budget and you are optimistic about the CRM system’s ROI. In this case, you follow your gut instinct.
o Scale down. Try starting off small and then working up as you go along. Select a low resource task from your CRM budget that brings a big payoff, and then use the capital earned to fund future work in the project. By working from smaller, higher-payoff projects in your budget upward you have a greater chance of success.
o Uncover more ways to increase your return on investment. Carefully go through every item of your CRM budget and try to discover ways to increase your ROI. Use your creativity and imagination, but remember to be realistic.
o Double check to assure you have created the correct CRM budget for your business. There are many types of CRM software available and the quality of the results can vary significantly. Higher quality CRM software may produce a more affordable solution.
Remember that developing a successful CRM budget means that you have realistically forecasted your project’s needs, and that often means choosing the right CRM system.