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Thinking of acquiring or changing your customer relationship management solution? The sheer number of CRM solutions available can be overwhelming, and it may be tempting to ignore paid products in favour of the free options. But if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here are some of the factors you should consider before selecting a CRM solution for your organization, whether free or paid.
Not so free after all
Most free CRM solutions offer basic functionality, allowing you to manage marketing, sales, and customer service. This may be all your organization needs for the moment, but as more advanced features are usually paid, keep in mind that you will likely have to pay for additional functionality, such as marketing automation or advanced data analysis. As your business grows and your needs evolve, you may find paying just as much in the long run, if not more.
Before implementing any new solution, it’s important to analyze your current needs, and also to have a long-term vision of your business. Think about how quickly you may need these additional features, and consider how pushing back their implementation at a later time may end up causing more disruption in terms of change management, configuration time, and data migration.
Think long term
For this reason, settling for a free option may not be the smarter move in the long run, as you may find yourself chafing under the constraints and limited functionality sooner rather than later. Even paid CRM solutions are flexible and versatile, and offer different pricing plans to meet various needs and budgets. An implementation specialist can help you figure out the different pricing structures and select the best option to meet your current and long-term needs.
Moreover, the process of selecting and implementing a new solution is a substantial investment of both time and money, not to mention the change management and disruptions of normal operations result from the implementation. It may be better in the long run to adopt the solution that best meets your organization’s needs right off the bat rather than settling for the cheapest option and having to replace it later.
Look for expert guidance
Free CRM solutions are also designed to respond the needs of as many businesses as possible. If you have any specific needs, it may be difficult to find the features you are looking for, not to mention that you won’t have the guidance of a professional implementation partner. This is why we recommend looking for a CRM partner in your industry, who will be familiar with your processes and realities, and make recommendations based on your long-term vision, budget and current environment.
A wide variety of CRM solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement are available, each offering different functionalities and price points to meet the needs of various businesses. While these may not be free, you may also be able to start off with a customer relationship management solution that is less expensive than you might think.
By JOVACO Solutions, Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation specialist in Quebec