Hidden Costs and Compromises: What Companies Risk When Choosing a Non-Compatible CRM Vendor

CRM vendor

In today’s business world, the allure of partnering with a large CRM vendor can be tempting. They often promise expansive product portfolios, robust support structures, and the reassurance of a well-established brand. However, what many companies fail to recognize are the hidden costs and potential compromises associated with these partnerships. In this blog, we’ll explore the risks that organizations face when they opt for a large CRM vendor and why it’s essential to consider the full picture before making such a crucial decision.

All-In-One NOT One-Size-Fits-All

Large vendors tend to provide one-size-fits-all solutions. While this may work for some companies, it often results in a lack of personalized service and tailored solutions that cater to your unique needs. Smaller vendors or specialized providers are typically more agile and willing to work closely with you to meet your specific requirements.

Investing in an all-in-one Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is crucial for businesses in today’s competitive landscape. An all-in-one CRM consolidates various aspects of customer management, including sales, marketing, and customer service, into a single integrated platform. This integration eliminates data silos, streamlines operations, and enhances efficiency across the organization.


5 Things You Can Lose Out on With a Larger CRM Vendor

1. Customization and Flexibility

The level of customization and flexibility in a CRM system can be restricted by larger vendors due to their pre-built features and complex structures. Large vendors will put you in rigid lanes from day one, forcing you to do things their way. You’ll be able to create some contact and account fields, but you can’t create relationships between modules, and you can’t change the way the structure of the database works. If you try to patch things together contact by contact, you’re reporting will fall apart. When choosing a CRM system, it’s crucial to balance your specific customization needs with factors like cost, support, and regulatory requirements to make an informed decision. 

2. Comprehensive Customer Insights

Look for a vendor that offers robust reporting and analytics capabilities that can provide your team with a 360-degree view of your customers. CRM platforms, like SugarCRM, can help you delve deeper into customer behavior, interactions, and historical data, enabling you to make informed decisions and craft more personalized marketing and sales strategies. While larger vendors provide valuable insights, they often can lack reporting tools that offer a higher level of granularity and detail, giving you a competitive edge in understanding and catering to your customers’ needs.

3. Total Ownership and Control

Choose a vendor that gives you total ownership and control over your data. You can start by looking for a CRM that can host you on your own servers or choose a cloud-based deployment, giving you full control over your CRM environment. Avoid larger vendors that limit you to host your data on their servers. This limits your control over data privacy and security. For businesses with stringent data governance requirements or those looking for complete data autonomy, it’s not worth the risk to go with off-the-shelf solutions from large vendors just because they offer convenience.

4. Scalability

Contact-based solutions, like Hubspot for example, can only support simple use cases from within an instance. When you need to scale your hierarchy of accounts, role-based views, time-aware dashboards, team security, pipeline tracking and other critical use cases, larger vendors struggle mightily. The flat architecture is hard to extend while maintaining quality reporting. While it is reasonable to assume that larger CRM vendors possess more resources, this is not always a guarantee. The ability of a CRM system to scale effectively also depends on its underlying architecture, flexibility, and the quality of its technical support, which vendors, like SugarCRM often excel in. Ultimately, the choice of a CRM vendor should consider not only their size but also their track record, customer reviews, and the adaptability of their CRM solution to ensure seamless scalability as your business grows.

5. Stable Contracts

If you’re sitting on a lackluster CRM implementation with a larger CRM, you might think back to the initial sales pitch when you first got started. They probably offered you ‘simplicity’ and ‘velocity,’ with a streamlined process from demo to pricing to implementation. And you may have even received a nice discount for your first-year contract – a common incentive larger vendors tend to offer to first-time customers – but you’re feeling the additional costs in year two and beyond. Vendor lock-in and slower customization are real concerns companies looking for a CRM can run into without even knowing it. Careful evaluation is necessary to balance stability with customization requirements.

How SugarCRM Flips the Script:

Sofia University is California’s leader in transformative, transpersonal education. As a business operating in the customer service industry, they have been able to put students first. Since switching from HubSpot and implementing Sugar, Sophia University has been able to:

  • Foster more interactions per individual student
  • Create greater transparency with how frequently they communicate with students 
  • Increase automation capabilities, freeing up time in their day 
  • Generate robust reporting with accurate, trusted data
  • Uncover new metrics and KPIs to track 
  • Increase conversion rates for some of their programs due to frequent communication 

At its core, Hubspot has always been a marketing automation platform, designed to be an email engine, and only added full CRM functionality when it became clear how valuable all-in-one CRM is for growing midsize companies. While HubSpot worked for Sophia University for a while, Ashley and team hit a breaking point where they needed to search for a simple and customizable CRM solution. 

“When I was looking at the recent automation additions that were put into Sugar, as well as the changes in Sugar Market, it was not a difficult sell for me that the user interface is incredibly wonderful to use. With SugarCRM, I have the power to create my business processes and other systems, where normally I would have to basically have someone else do that for me or someone in their IT department would need to assist me. But I wanted to learn to set up the automations and lead protocols myself. And that’s really what made Sugar stand out to me in particular”. 

– Ashley Simon, Senior Admissions Counselor, Sofia University

Overall, because Ashley and her team were able to ditch the busy work due to the integrations Sugar Sell and Sugar Market offered the different departments at Sophia University, they were able to save time, increase the efficiency of the university’s lead gen program, and improve the student experience. In fact, Ashley even commented that she has gotten feedback and compliments from students because of their new ability to touch base with them more frequently, which at the end of the day, was the biggest reward for them. 

Sugar’s Commitment to Help You Get Started  

SugarCRM is here to show you the way forward. Sugar was designed for, and continues to empower, mid-sized organizations that want to fulfill their vision of how CRM can help supercharge their businesses. And we’ll show you our commitment to working with you to build a critical path to migrate.  

Want to learn more about how SugarCRM can help you break away from larger, more ridgid vendors and finally make the most out of CRM? Check out our interactive guide: Switching from HubSpot to SugarCRM

Or, are you interested in a vendor-by-vendor comparison? Check out our recent infographic, SugarCRM vs. HubSpot vs. Salesforce

Emily Jahn
Emily Jahn Emily is the Content Marketing Manager at SugarCRM with years of experience working in the SaaS industry. Her strong suits include long-form and short-form content creation, SEO-optimized writing, and editorial planning and promotion. When she's not reading, writing, or editing, Emily enjoys everything the outside world has to offer—hiking, camping, backpacking, and most importantly, skiing!

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