We are in the final stages of assessing whether to replace several in house developed technologies with an all singing all dancing CRM system.

For the CRM investment to generate a positive return we need to achieve revenue growth directly attributable to this investment or a cost reduction. However, given the nature of our client base it is unlikely that our clients will want a self serve help desk experience – that is, they like speaking with a human compared to navigating the technology to find an answer for themselves. Also, we’re not the type of business which will cut positions with a technology solution. (I’m glad I wasn’t around during the start of the industrial revolution.)

I want the consistency of service, management reporting, duplicated effort elimination and goal focus of a good CRM yet I am wary of where the financial benefits will come from given my aforementioned reluctance to use this to replace people.

My frustration is that the sales people we have spoken with are not clear about the business case other than vague comments. We’re a small business software company and they are used to selling to big companies. They wouldn’t survive down here in the rough and tumble of small business territory.

For CRM to work in my business I need to understand the cost benefit equation (without losing employees) and to see this reflected in the experiences of our customers.

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