Ancient Chinese Wisdom Regarding How Much to Spend on a CRM

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The Chinese have a wise saying:  一分钱一分货.

For those who don’t speak Chinese, literally translated, it means “one cent gives you one cent of merchandise.” Translated again, that means, “you get what you pay for.” This phrase is generally taken to mean that inexpensive products are low-quality and that it’s foolish to expect top-tier performance from something with a bottom-tier price tag.ancient chinese wisdom crm

While true about a great many things, this multicultural adage is not quite true about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. It is true that more expensive products offer a broader range of features, but less-expensive solutions in many cases offer similar functionalities with a lower price tag.

To help analyze what you actually get for your money, I’ve broken CRM pricing into three tiers:

  • Tier 1: <$10-$14 per user per month
  • Tier 2: $15-$30 per user per month
  • Tier 3: $31 + per user per month

A CRM generally addresses these five functional areas:

  • Contact Management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Customer Support
  • Administration & Collaboration

The chart below describes what features you would typically get in these five areas depending on your pricing tier.

Tiersfinal*** Keep in mind that Tier 2 will include all Tier 1 capabilities, and likewise, Tier 3 will include all of 1 and 2. Also remember that not EVERY solution in a pricing tier will have ALL of the features mentioned, but the above is a good guide to see what you get for your money in the world of CRM solutions.

Key Take-Aways:

  1. In terms of Contact Management, there is no difference between Tier 2 and Tier 3. (The functionalities that the 3rd tier offers in Contact Management are cross-over functions that are aimed more at marketing.)
  2. The same is true for Customer Support — there is very little value added by Tier 3.
  3. Also regarding Customer Support: Tier 1 offers no ticketing system for Customer Support, but these solutions are still valuable because they can centralize data and organize communications.
  4. Marketing and Sales are the areas where Tier 3 really adds more functions, however many of them are not purely CRM and overlap with the scope of Marketing Automation or Sales Force Automation software. This means that if you already use one of those products, you might have redundant, unnecessary functions after investing in a Tier 3 CRM.
  5. Tier 1  offers very minimal marketing functionalities.
  6. Tier 2 products are a great way to cover all of your bases, but they will not offer the sophisticated analyses that a Tier 3 product will, particularly in Marketing and Sales.

The above chart should help you figure out which pricing tier most likely addresses your needs, but there’s still more work to do – you have to choose just one product! To see your options, check out Capterra’s CRM Directory and use our filtering tool to easily search hundreds of CRM options.

There’s another famous Chinese proverb that counsels:

“A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.” Translation? Consider calling one of Capterra’s Software Experts for FREE expert help finding the right software for your business.

Looking for Customer Relationship Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Customer Relationship Management software solutions.

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About the Author


Alison Klein

Alison Klein is a Marketing Assistant at Capterra. She helps with all marketing-related tasks and reports on customer relationship management. When she’s not covering the software industry, you can find her writing, enjoying good food, and listening to Jay-Z.


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