Some companies make the decision to self-implement their CRM system. This is usually because there are people in-house who provide a combination of CRM-related business analysis experience and the right level of technical aptitude to manage tasks ranging from system configuration to data migration.
Many companies look to third parties to perform some or all of their CRM implementation. Unlike the cost of CRM user licenses, the cost of CRM services is not based on straightforward unit pricing.
In fact, there is a very large range in what organizations pay for CRM professional services. Some companies use CRM with only some minor changes to the systems’ out-of-the-box configuration. Other companies consolidate functionality from multiple legacy database systems into their CRM system and develop custom integrations. These companies can end up spending well into five figures over the course of time.
Part of what determines how much is spent on CRM professional services is how malleable the platform is. Often, a new entrant to the CRM space will have limited configuration and customization options. As the system matures, the configuration and development possibilities become more extensive.
There are several ways that CRM professional services can be quoted by service providers.
Flat Rate CRM Professional Services
CRM implementation firms sometimes quote a flat rate for what is variously called a QuickStart or a JumpStart package. The CRM vendor will tightly define the deliverables in order to protect themselves from scope creep. There may be a limit on the number of custom fields. It could be a defined number of training hours.
The price of a QuickStart package can range from $5,000 to $10,000 depending upon what’s included.
This type of quote can be appealing to a CRM customer, as it’s very predictable on the surface. Keep in mind that any service work outside of the QuickStart’s parameters will normally require a change order.
A QuickStart-type package generally works best for smaller organizations. Mid-market companies and enterprises usually don’t fit into a QuickStart box.
Time and Materials Estimate
Even though there obviously aren’t materials involved with implementing a CRM system as there are with remodeling a house, the term “T&M” is often used for quotes that aren’t fixed price.
A T&M estimate is usually crafted after one or more conversations.
In some cases, the CRM customer will have defined and documented their business or functional requirements first. The more detailed the requirements are up front, the more likely the CRM services vendor will be to provide what turns out to be an accurate estimate.
This is a sample template that was our starting point for estimates when we were in the CRM implementation business. We would estimate the level of effort for each task based on what we knew to that point. Invariably, there would be a “rob Peter to pay Paul” factor, as some tasks took less time than expected and others took more time.
All professional services organizations have their own style in terms of how detailed they are in their pricing and how they describe the services that are to be delivered.
Some professional services organizations charge the same rate for any type of consulting service, whether it’s business analysis, system architecture, custom programming, or training.
Other organizations vary the rate based on the type of service or skill set. A senior consultant may command a higher hourly rate than a junior consultant.
A Pre-Purchased Block of Services
Certain CRM professional services organizations will sell a block of consulting hours at a reduced hourly rate. For example, if their normal hourly rate is $200, they may sell a 20-hour block for $3,600.
This is most useful after the initial CRM implementation, when there’s a series of ongoing requirements that come up — but it’s not known in advance exactly what those requirements are going to be.