CRM Price Wars Continue, But Who Wins In The End?

Posted by Commence on December 1, 2009 under CEO Corner | Read the First Comment

It seems like manufacturers of Customer Relationship Management software are doing almost anything these days to add new subscribers.   Some are offering free utilization for the first few months, others money back guarantees and a few are even offering utilization of their software as a monthly service with no contract at all.  Price points are all over the map and they have consistently changed to attract new customers.  It’s gotten so crazy that if you need a CRM system right away some vendors will allow you to enter your credit card and for a few bucks you’ll be up and running in minutes.  In some cases the service is even free.  But wait a minute.  Is this a business solution that is going to address my requirements for improving how I sell and provide services to my customers?  It sounds more like I am buying an out of the box contact manager.

The fast sale & low cost craze must be working however, because CRM vendors like Salesforce and Microsoft — two of the recognized leaders — have continued to repackage their offering and lower their price.  Just a few weeks ago a small company of two people could purchase Salesforce CRM for $9 per user per month.  A few months earlier up to ten users could take advantage of this offer.  Recently the program changed again and now five users can purchase the product for $5 per user.  I appreciate that CRM vendors are having a tough time differentiating themselves, but are they now convinced that the sole driver of CRM decisions among small to mid-size companies is price?   This CEO is not.

Warren Buffet once said, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Seems appropriate here doesn’t it.   My firm Commence Corporation has been providing CRM software solutions to small and mid-size business for two decades. Most of the executives we work with are entrepreneurial and savvy operators.  Sure they want the best price they can get, but they are more interested in addressing their business requirements and improving their business than finding the lowest price.   Sometimes their requirements are as simple as data consolidation.  They may be managing their customer data using excel spreadsheets or a contact manager and are unable to consolidate and share the information with the people and departments that need it to efficiently do their jobs.   Some are frustrated with their inability to organize and manage their sales organization and are looking for tools and expertise to assist them. But one thing is for sure: they recognize that a CRM tool on its own at any price is not going to solve their business needs.  They want a CRM partner.

Value Added Services, the True Differentiator

So what do I get for $5 dollars or $9 dollars per user anyway?  What level of service should I expect?  Do I get a documented installation plan that will ensure the successful implementation of the CRM system?  Do I get assistance with data migration? What about training?  Is the CRM vendor available to assist my staff with best practices for data consolidation and data sharing, sales optimization and measurement of sales performance?  Will I get the services I need to address my business challenges and improve my business?   After all, this is why I began the search for a CRM system in the first place.

CRM Partner vs. CRM Vendor

Addressing your business challenges will not be met by the selection of a low cost CRM solution, but instead by engaging the expertise and domain experience of a true business partner. A partner will take responsibility of the successful implementation and utilization of the CRM system.   A partner will provide a high level of service before, during and after the sale and supply the industry and product expertise to ensure that you realize the maximum value from their solution.  The only problem is you cannot get a partner for $5 per user.

Commence Differentiators

Commence Corporation has taken pride not only in our top rated CRM software, but in the world-class service we have provided to our customers.  For more than two decades Commence customers have relied on our expertise and domain experience to ensure the successful utilization of our product and the growth of their business.  This partnership between Commence and our customers have ensured their success as well as ours.

See what customers say about Commence and take a look at my white paper “Don’t Make a CRM Buying Mistake” at www.commence.com.

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