Indeed, it is often enough for micro and small businesses to buy licenses, install them and start working. And you need tips on how to get started, what to pay attention to, how to make a CRM system a working tool, and not just another shortcut on your computer’s desktop. And simple recipes are not enough — because vendors hunt for large customers, show their expertise in the most problematic and complex issues. Our RegionSoft CRM is loved by businesses of all stripes: from TV and radio holdings and hypermarkets to small advertising agencies. We spend six months with some of them, and we give short instructions to others, and that’s enough. We will try to reveal the process as a detailed guide.
Who doesn’t need to implement a CRM system as a project?
There are several groups of companies that can buy / rent CRM, almost without communicating with the vendor.
Small companies with standard business processes and simple requirements. As a rule, they choose solutions of the most Junior edition, with the minimum set of functions, pay the bill and start working. They know what they need from a CRM system (for example, to maintain a customer base, “recognize” a calling customer and make mailings) and quickly navigate any interface.
New or young companies that have decided to start automation at the start and do not yet know exactly what they will need. They start with basic versions of the CRM system, and then can expand their capabilities, order improvements based on the operational needs of the company.
Companies that have decided to automate their business and have requirements, but they want to test the selected CRM system in practice, and then make a decision about finalizing and expanding the functionality. This is a competent approach, since some of the requirements may be covered by the basic capabilities of the system or completely different needs may arise during operation. Thus, having carefully studied the functions of the SOFTWARE and merging CRM with business processes, you can save on improvements that first came to mind or were the result of discussion without applying to practice (“wishlist” of departments). You may even give up something in favor of a similar implementation in the basic delivery.
The process of choosing and purchasing a CRM system
The variety of offers always complicates the choice. Today’s Russian market of CRM systems is nothing but a mess: along with Russian and foreign classic solutions, planners, notebooks, project management systems, corporate portals, business process and document management systems, and much more are hidden under the mask of CRM. All this is delivered in the cloud and on the server, with a subscription fee and no fee at all, for rubles and with reference to the exchange rate. Interspersed with business consultants and small companies such as “growing system integrator” completely confuse the client. The worst thing is that even your business partner, who from the heart advises you only CRM XXX, may be vitally interested in selling it and have a percentage or discount. And the advice here is one-choose what you need by doing the following steps.
Determine the requirements for the CRM system — what each of your departments wants from the future program. CRM-Ki has long ceased to be a program for sales, they are designed to automate the entire business at once. For example, for some of our competitors, the system automates sales separately, and marketing and technical support separately. Companies like SAP work in much the same way. We don’t have the concept of RegionSoft Sales or RegionSoft Warehouse, but there are editions that cover different groups of departments. Accordingly, the requirements need to be collected from all:
collect suggestions from all departments in a free form
form a working group of representatives of departments
analyze intersections and points of interaction
draw business processes in a free form
develop a set of needs that the CRM system must necessarily cover.
This only sounds scary and formalized, but in fact it makes it much easier to work and understand what is happening in the business. It happens that at the stage of collecting requirements, some business processes are already being adjusted. Collecting requirements with organized work and provided that you are not a giant like Gazprom, does not take much time.
Planning a budget for the implementation of a CRM system is a very important step that almost everyone stumbles on. I remember we already mentioned this, but repetition is the mother of learning: consider the cost of owning a CRM system.
Let’s imagine that you have 10 people in your company. CRM came to you, which stated that it costs 800 rubles per person, and Regionsoft came to you, which stated that in the same edition it costs 11,000 rubles per person. There is no need to multiply by 10, it’s stupefying, what’s the difference. In fact, 800 is for one user per month (SaaS, service rental), and 11,000 is for one user once (license purchase) and then for the first, and for the rest at 9,700 and below. Two years pass. Regionsoft as cost for you 98 300 p., and costs, but the first vendor has already fucked with you 192 000 p. and is going to have further, since the fee is constant. That is, the price of ownership is already more than twice!
In fairness, it should be said that the cost of ownership of server CRM systems like RegionSoft may be slightly higher than the cost of licenses due to paid updates that come out every 1.5-2 years. But again, only the transition between major versions (from 5.0 to 6.0, etc.) is paid, the client has the right to refuse the update if nothing interesting happened for him, and the cost of the transition is small.
Some companies choose free or open source solutions and believe that they are the most cunning and deceived everyone. Nah, just myself. If we are talking about free software (really free), then this is either a heavily truncated single-user version (we have such a one, even RegionSoft can no longer be judged by it), or truncated by the number of records and network work, or purely a hook for you to start working, regret what you have earned and switch to a paid package. Because free cheese is only in a mousetrap. But if we are talking about open source, then the budget must be laid – at least, the work of a programmer with specific knowledge who will accompany the CRM. A freelancer is not an option here, he will not deal with your processes and system, but will do it on “fuck off”.
Another pitfall is the cost of it infrastructure for CRM deployment. Vendors usually already include the cost of third-party SOFTWARE, virtual infrastructure (cloud), or even hardware in the cost of licenses. But here again, options are possible.
The fee for the equipment. This usually applies to large companies that want to store data on their own servers. Modern CRM systems for small and medium-sized businesses do not require anything fantastic — for example, RegionSoft CRM in the form of a server can use any PC in a modern office configuration. If you are asked to pay for CRM equipment, and even recommend a “compatible option”, be sure to ask for a justification.
Payment for the DBMS. But this story, unlike servers, still occurs. For example, the system can run up to X users on the free MS SQL Express, and with X+1 users or records require a paid version of MS SQL (and this is a significant amount of money). Ask the vendor what restrictions exist on the DBMS. For example, we are working on a powerful open source Firebird — it is free and can withstand very heavy loads.
Paying for the cloud is the rarest option. Usually, there is already an agreement between the vendor and the cloud provider.
A separate and complex issue of additional infusions is the payment for plugins, Addons and connectors. Many popular systems have app stores (marketplaces) where you can buy or take for free what is missing in CRM. For example, it’s all so fashionable, with a flat design and dashboards, but it can’t do mail and telephony. So, you can buy the MailChimp plugin and use it. But this way you pay for both CRM and a third-party application, also monthly. This has its advantages, but the cost and possible integration errors cover many of them. Some CRM providers have their own partner telephony, and quite expensive-be sure to pay attention to the possibility of choosing a provider.
Connectors are more common in serious imported CRM-these are programs developed by Russian partners for integration with 1C and Russian primary documentation or telephony. If you are buying a popular Western solution for Russian business, be prepared to buy connectors, otherwise the idea of end-to-end automation will lose its meaning.
So, what do we consider:
the cost of the license, or rent
the cost of additional software, DBMS, rent a server
cost needed for operation of the plug-ins, add-ons and connectors
the cost of integration with 1C and telephony
ask about additional charges, charges for installation, technical support
if the rental (SaaS), you specify can the vendor to change the price
if the price in the currency specified internal rate (this is sometimes set by the companies for the Russian Federation), or figure out what the payment is for the current exchange rate of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation (then the growth of $ you will pay more).
Determine the technical parameters of the CRM system you need.
Cloud or not cloud — we will not repeat, we had it here.
The type of licenses is a very important thing if you are buying licenses rather than renting them. There is a small (and someone has a big) reserve for saving money. Licenses can be registered (per user) and competitive (per connection). Competitive ones are suitable for those who have employees who enter the CRM system infrequently or do not work in the office — so the license will be shared with someone, and you can save on it. Usually, vendors have competitive licenses more expensive than registered ones, and we at RegionSoft have all licenses initially only competitive.