I’ve been humming this song by The Clash for a couple of weeks now, thinking of so many clients and colleagues whose budgets have been shattered by their CRM vendor’s repeated massive price increases.

Can they do that?

Sadly, yes. While the Software as a Service (SaaS) revolution, where you buy software that you access online, via a monthly or yearly subscription, has made great software accessible to so many people, the subscription model means that you are at the mercy of your vendor in terms of responsible pricing. Even massive corporations will struggle to get a price guarantee in a competitive procurement process.

Having said that, some vendors will have a solid history of reasonable increases. If you can get a view on price changes over time when you are evaluating a product, that can help. That information can be hard to come by, though, and unfortunately, it doesn’t always predict future behaviour.

What can I do then?

There are only two options. As the song says, you must decide: “Should I stay or should I go”. You (and your business) didn’t choose this, but now you might be pressed into a new evaluation.

Before doing too much work, you should be able to decide which of these 3 categories you are in:

  1. Your business is smashing it, and your CRM is an essential part of that. The price increase does not cause you any financial difficulties, and you can easily see the value of your CRM investment, which exceeds the new cost.
    • Solution: Stay! Do not read on, you are one of the lucky ones!
  2. You know your business gets value out of your CRM, but this new price stings and the equation for the status quo is getting a bit dicey.
    • Solution: Evaluate… I know this is a bit of a pain, but read on, there may be a way of making it easier.
  3. Your current CRM is no longer viable as a cost in your business, or you are certain that you are not extracting maximum value from it.
    • Solution: Go! If you know you need to go, the evaluation approach I share below will help you determine your next steps.

So, how do I evaluate?

This doesn’t need to be a horrible experience as long as you approach it in a structured way and consider the key elements of how much you are paying versus what you are getting out of your CRM.

The first step is to be very clear about what your CRM is doing for you that is essential in your business. What things does it do for you that are critical to your current operations? Are there some things that you must have versus some things you could do without?

The other step is to consider some alternatives. These might include:

  • Extracting more value out of your current CRM, for example, using new features
  • Considering some other CRM options, including the cost of transition

The final step is comparing all of this to the status quo. It may be that by doing this exercise, you realise that your CRM is offering you a valuable, and cost-effective service, despite the price increase. Or you might consider a more in-depth evaluation of other products and the transition costs.

What if I need help with this evaluation?

Do you want to try this evaluation but are unsure where to start? I’m offering a free spreadsheet template to help you through this process. Download a copy of the template here.

I’m very interested to hear if any of you have already made the important “Should I stay or should I go?” decision and with what product. Then I might be able to get The Clash out of my head!