CRM & sales software starts at very affordable prices. You can purchase popular programs for as little as $49, but expect to pay $100 per user for an intermediate program, and up to $500 per user for a state-of-the-art program with all the latest advanced features. One advantage of purchasing CRM software instead of a CRM service is that there are no annual fees—just a flat fee for the software, or a flat fee for each user.
CRM services usually price contracts monthly, per user. At the low end, services cost as little as $10 per month, per user. Intermediate systems cost from $20 to $50 per month, per user. For advanced CRM services with all the latest bells and whistles, expect to pay over $100 per month, per user.
Most contracts for CRM services are billed monthly, with discounted rates for longer contracts.
Purchasing Tips for CRM and Sales Software
- Know which services you need and which you can live without. There are numerous vendors in this space, selling very different packages of features at a wide variety of prices. You should have a good idea of which features you do and do not need so you can quickly narrow the field to the vendors who offer the best packages for your business.
- Make use of free trials and free help. Most CRM vendors offer a free trial period. Don’t waste it! Be sure to test the service during the free trial, and ask for as much help as you need. Vendors are always more generous with free support at the beginning of the business relationship.
- Insist on employee buy-in on the new CRM program. The biggest problem with CRM systems is getting employees to understand how they work and to use them. The new breed of sales software can dramatically improve productivity—but only if you use it. Many companies fail to train their employees to use the new system. Those companies won’t realize the substantial benefits that come from a more scientific approach to sales.
Advanced Features of CRM & Sales Software
At the very high end of CRM services & sales software, companies can create a scientific system for targeting prospects, communicating with customers and winning back lost business.
- Lead Scoring. This is a method for analyzing leads and assigning them a score based on the likelihood of being able to convert the lead into a sale. Many factors are taken into consideration, such as where the lead came from and what can be learned about the identity of the contact.
- Lead Nurturing. Nurturing leads involves moving them through a suggested regimen of actions and communications designed to convert prospects into customers. Software automatically analyzes the interactions with a prospect or customer, and recommends the next actions that should be taken to deepen the relationship.
- Competitive Analysis. Some CRM platforms are so effective that they can analyze what you're doing and compare it with your competitors in the industry. These platforms can do price, volume, and productivity comparisons—calculating how much revenue your sales reps are generating compared with industry averages.
- Performance Analysis. High-end sales software systems and CRM services are designed to be used by large, diverse teams of sales representatives. These systems have a variety of metrics they use to gauge the performance of individual sales reps and compare their performance to the others on the team.
- Relationship & Connection Mapping. Intelligent CRM software is capable of doing some pretty amazing things, one of which is mapping connections between contacts in a database, and using that analysis to generate referrals to prospects who are more likely to respond to your pitch. Some of these systems are able to cull information from social networks to find hidden connections between contacts in a database.