Finding Value in Your CRM

Finding Value in Your CRM

Did you know there are more than 380 CRM platforms listed on G2? Let that sink in.

Three. Hundred. Eighty.

However, only 18% of these are rated with more than three out of five stars.  With so many CRM options on the market, it can be hard to determine which of these would deliver the highest value to your business. The reality is that cost is only one area you need to research; there are many factors that go into into choosing a CRM.

Brainsell, an unbiased partner of the best CRM, ERP, Business Intelligence and Marketing Automation software in the market, recently conducted a webinar entitled “What’s a Better Value: Salesforce or Sugar?” It’s a great resource for those in the CRM market, but if you’re in a hurry, we’ve distilled many of the key points into this post.

Let’s start with some key facts around the state of CRM:

If you’re reading this, you’re probably shopping for a CRM platform, so let’s examine some of the benefits to your business:

  • Huge return on investment
    • For every $1 spent, you can return over $8 on your investment (Nucleus Research).
  • Reduce churn by as much as 27% (Salesforce)
    • Improved productivity – no more spreadsheets!
  • Smarter selling
    • Increase sales conversions by 300% (Cloudwave).
  • Enhanced customer service
    • A great example: CRM records pop up on-screen when customer phone calls come in.
  • More accessibility to data
    • A CRM is a single source of truth and shortens the sales cycle.

Next, let’s look at the key areas you need to address to determine value.

  • What is the current state of your business today?
  • What is your budget for the project?
    • This determines what your value (RoI) could be.
  • Objectives
    • What do you want out of the CRM?
    • Example: Give remote users access to the same data as those in the office.
  • Integrations
    • Do you need to integrate with ERP? Accounting?
  • Relationship and workflow management
    • How do you define account relationships?
    • How do you process a new account?
    • You can save valuable time by establishing value.
  • Reporting capabilities
    • What you see on your reports dictate what goes into your CRM.
    • Will you be using 3rd party reporting tools?
  • Deployment options
    • You have choices here: cloud, or on-premise?
    • Your decision on where to host affects the cost of the platform.
  • Do you have Industry-specific requirements, i.e.;
    • HIPPA
    • Sarbannes-Oxley
    • EPCI
  • Ease of use
    • How will your users use the system?
  • Flexibility and agility to scale
    • What if your business processes and workflows change? Will the CRM accommodate your growth plans?
  • Upgrades and enhancements
    • Are they included? Are they external? Will you need 3rd party enhancements?
    • Again, all the above go to cost of the platform.
  • Social networking and mobile accessibility
    • Do you require social networking?

So, which CRM is a better value?

  • Customer support
    • The quickest response times with Salesforce are only available with a Premier support plan or if you are on Ultimate edition.
    • SugarCRM provides an SLA for response time; there is no fee for phone support.
    • You will likely receive region-specific support from Sugar.
  • Deployment
    • SFDC private cloud adds additional expense.
    • Sugar is a single tenant database – your database is your database.
    • Sugar offers on-premise in your building (DoD certification).
  • Limitations
    • Only Sugar offers unlimited API calls with Sugar.
    • One transaction can dictate multiple calls, so this is an important factor for cost analysis.
  • Architecture
    • Salesforce uses Apex, which is Java-like and proprietary.
    • PHP is better when starting from scratch—it’s an open language and easier to learn.
  • User minimum
    • Sugar has a lower cost per license, even with a 10-user minimum.
  • Email integration
    • Both platforms offer email integration is via a 3rd-party client.
  • Mobile
    • Sugar has a mobile development kit.
  • Customer journey
    • Brainsell gives the edge to Sugar as it utilizes activities by stage and these tie into workflow.
  • Sandbox
    • Salesforce will cost you 10% of your annualized contract.
    • Sugar provides two free sandboxes with Sugar Enterprise.
  • Configuration
    • Brainsell feels that of the two, “Sugar is the easier tool for end users to configure”.
  • Pricing
    • Both companies utilize an annual contact, but Brainsell offers monthly financing.

“Hidden gems inside sugar…See at a glance where all my leads are, opportunities are, accounts are…Speaks to unified customer experience”

Kevin Cook, EVP, Brainsell

Still weighing your options? Consider the following:

  • “It’s not about the brand, it’s about the plan”.
  • Interview your key stakeholders.
  • Consider how you prioritize the key areas of value, number of users and budget.
  • “Forget the logos; make a decision based on value. Understand your business, understand where the costs will be won back – this will help you establish the value of your CRM system.
  • “Press the pause button” – establish your value, ask questions like what problems will this solve?
  • Don’t try to implement CRM yourself, use an expert.
    • Don’t end up software-poor with no budget for customization and other needs as you scale.

We hope this article has been helpful if you are considering a CRM. Contact Brainsell at, and thanks for reading!


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