Choosing the right CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution for your business is an enormous decision with long term consequences. These ramifications can be as obvious as the upfront costs of the software licensing and implementation to less obvious factors such as employee morale and job satisfaction. There are many CRM options in the marketplace and it is critical that you carefully evaluate each option by considering how it will affect all aspects of your business. One of the most consequential factors to consider is the pricing of the software. This can be a frustrating part of picking a CRM solution because, just like when buying a car, the CRM sales people are going to try and sell you on the “sticker price” and downplay all of the other costs that you will incur to get the most out of your shiny new software solution.

One of the first costs to consider beyond the initial monthly subscription fee is the cost of implementation. This will include all of your customizations, data migration, and training.

CRM Implementation Costs


While your CRM sales people will be happy to get you signed up and logged into your new CRM software, they will not help you get up and running. At this point they will hand you off to their in-house implementation specialists or they will recommend a third party consultant. This will not be cheap. The going rate for implementation specialists can vary greatly, but you can count on spending at least $100 to $200 per hour. Depending on how much you plan to customize the system, this can end up costing tens of thousands of dollars. This is the point at which your costs can quickly balloon out of control. If your CRM salesperson repeatedly said the phrase “that can be done with customization”, then you shouldn’t be shocked by how much time and money you are going to spend before you can start using the software. For this reason you should look for a CRM system that already has the functionality that you need without heavy customization. If, however, you find that none of the software platforms will accommodate your unique needs, you should be open to examining your business processes and possibly make some changes to be more in line with commonly adopted practices. I have seen companies spend thousands of dollars on customizations because they were trying to replicate old business flows and processes that they had clung to for years. If none of the available software solutions fit the way you do business, it might be time to examine what you are doing and conform to widely held standards. While it may be true that the products your company offers are unique and special, the way that you do marketing, lead generation, and account management probably isn’t.  

Data Cleansing and Migration

Unless you are starting from scratch, you will most certainly want to migrate data from an older CRM system into your new platform. Even if your old CRM system was just a collection of Excel spreadsheets, there is valuable data there that will need to be imported before you are up and running. This is another point at which costs can get out of hand. Unfortunately the data that you have will probably need to be “cleansed” to get rid of duplicate entries and data that was entered incorrectly. After cleansing the data it will need to be formatted to fit into the schema of your new CRM system. Make sure that you understand what data from your old system is actually useful and what can be scrapped before you spend a lot of money to clean up and import data that you will never use. Remember that you can backup the data from your old system and decide to import it at any time in the future if you realize that it is needed.


Usually the most overlooked implementation cost is for training, but it can be one of the most important. One way to save money on training is to have your in-house CRM administrators and power users get training from your implementation specialists and then have your own staff members train the rest of your users. This can also be a great way to reinforce the training that your in-house people received from the consultants. It is also a good idea to record all training sessions that you get from your paid consultants as well as the sessions conducted by your in-house trainers. These recordings can be used to create instructional videos and training plans that can be used in the future. Some CRM software has an LMS (Learning Managements Systems) as part of the package or it can be integrated with a third-party LMS.

Confused about which CRM is best for YOUR business? Talk to us. We have experience with evaluating and implementing a variety of CRM systems and are committed to helping you save some of the upfront costs.