CRM costs: A guide for small businesses
The numerous benefits of a CRM system ensure it more than pays for itself – but how much should a small business expect to pay for CRM on average?
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A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can cost your business anything from £12 to £200 per month. The specific cost will depend on several factors, including the size, scope, and requirements of your business.
Generally, CRM pricing is per user, per month. This means that whatever the base CRM price might be, you have to multiply it by the number of people in your company using the system, as well as the length of time they’ll be using it for.
Similar to having a Netflix or Spotify account, CRM accounts are allocated on an individual basis, and come in the form of a digital membership to a cloud-based resource.
Read on for more information on the costs associated with CRM, including the often undisclosed implementation, development, and storage costs, as well as the ongoing costs of the software. Plus, we’ll ask: which is the best low-cost CRM system available? Is CRM worth the money? And what’s the ROI?
Because the CRM that suits you best – and in turn, the amount you can expect to pay – will ultimately depend on the size and nature of your business, it's helpful to get quotes from a number of different suppliers.
To compare CRM costs directly from providers, answer a few short questions about your business at the top of the page for bespoke quotes.
If you want to learn more about CRM, read our guide to ‘what is CRM?’
CRM software prices overview
CRM systems are offered on a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) basis, meaning that they are leased from a provider. In general, prices are offered per user, per month, although some providers may bill customers annually.
What CRM pricing depends on:
- Features – the more that a CRM can do (e.g. manage contacts, deals, sales, email, and reporting), the more you can expect to pay
- Data or contact storage – greater amounts of storage for data or contacts can incur higher charges
- Number of users – cheaper CRM systems tend to allow only a few users, whereas those offered at a higher price point can cater for more users (and often allow more complex use of a system)
- Functionality – with top-end CRMs you can expect greater functionality, like advanced automation and extensive support
CRM providers price comparison
Here’s a guide to the different prices available from a range of providers. These prices are on a per user, per month basis.
|CRM System||Entry level||Mid-range||Advanced|
|Starting price: £39.81||Starting price: £61.25 - £65.08 (depending on plan chosen; Sugar Serve and Sugar Sell include 60 GB storage)||Starting price: £765.63 (includes 10k contacts)|
|*||£42 per month for 2-3 users||£105 per month for 5 users|
£147 per month for 7 users
£210 per month for 10 users
|£315 per month for 15 users
£420 per month for 20 users
(For more than 10 users, licences are available in packs of 5)
|£30 for 5 users minimum|
(self-hosted on your server; unlimited storage)
|£38 for 2 users minimum|
(cloud; 75GB storage)
|£42 for 2 users minimum
(for financial advisors; 75GB storage)
|£0 - £12 |
(The free plan has unlimited users and unlimited contacts)
|£20||£60 - £120||£240|
|£0 - £22.21 |
(The free plan is available for up to 2 users)
|* * *|
|Starting price: £0 - £95+||Starting price: £1,047||Starting price: £3,453|
* Varies according to number of licences and users, as well as bundle chosen. Prices are based on a 12-month plan; 6-month plans are also available
* * Original prices in USD; conversion to GBP at time of writing
* * * HubSpot – based on Growth Suite bundle (HubSpot CRM + Marketing Hub + Sales Hub + Service Hub; separate marketing, sales, service and CMS plans also available). All plans are built on top of the free HubSpot CRM
Best for…User experience
Free trial/demo? Yes
|Sugar Pro||Sugar Serve / Sugar Sell||Sugar Enterprise||Sugar Market|
|Annual Billing |
(per user, per month) *
|Starting at £39.81||Starting at £61.25||Starting at £65.08||Starting at £765.63|
* Original prices in USD; conversion to GBP at time of writing
Best for… Customisation
Free trial/demo? Yes
|£21 (includes 5GB storage)||£30 (includes 10 GB storage)||£46 (includes 20 GB storage)|
Best for… Choice of cloud or on-site CRM options
|On-Premise CRM||CRM Live||CRM for Financial Advisors|
|Annual Billing |
(per user, per month)
|£30 (5 users minimum)||£38 (2 users minimum)||£42 (2 users minimum)|
Best for… Product range
Free trial/demo? Yes (Sprout free plan also available)
(per user, per month)*
Best for… Brand recognition
Free trial/demo? Yes
(per user, per month)
*Based on Sales Cloud Pricing
Best for… Sales
Free trial/demo? Yes (free plan for 2 users also available)
(per user, per month)
|Best for… Flexibility
Free trial/demo? Yes
|Starter Growth Suite||Professional Growth Suite||Enterprise Growth Suite|
|Monthly Billing||Starts at £95 per month||-||-|
|Annual Billing||Starts at £95 per month||Starts at £1,047 per month||Starts at £3,453 per month|
*Based on Growth Suite; separate marketing, sales and service plans also available
CRM tiered pricing
Usually, CRM pricing is available in a tiered structure, with the tiers offering an increasing number of functions and features. For example, here are the price points for the Freshworks CRM tiers.
Although budget options mean cheaper prices, they can also mean fewer functions, as well as less ROI and less ability to grow. CRM systems are an investment for your business, so consider how the short term savings balance against the potential long term impact.
CRM modular pricing
Another way that CRM systems can be priced is based on modules. This means you pay for the different modules (or functions) that your business requires, such as marketing, sales, or customer service.
For example, webCRM lets you create your own CRM package, e.g. a standard package with 2 users across 6 months:
CRM tiered pricing by function set
When choosing a CRM system, you may come across providers that offer pricing based on CRM for specific functions.
An example of this is SugarCRM, who offer CRM by on-site, sales, and service functions.
Types of CRM pricing
In this section, we explain what the different types of CRM pricing are, and look at which businesses are best suited to each type.
Fixed monthly pricing
This type of pricing is ideal for budget-conscious businesses that want to use CRM on a day-to-day basis, but are unable to opt for annual billing.
Although this is likely to be more expensive on a per month basis, fixed monthly pricing gives businesses greater flexibility. This is both in terms of financing the CRM system and how it will be used, e.g. if you need to add/remove elements as your business develops over time.
To be completely clear, fixed monthly pricing charges you for the CRM system on a month-to-month basis.
Fixed annual pricing
This type of pricing can often be cheaper than the monthly alternative, which is good news for businesses that are focused on saving costs.
While this option can be more cost-effective, you are of course committed to it for a year, so it’s particularly suitable for businesses that have a good understanding of their future plans.
Fixed annual pricing allows you to pay for a CRM system for the whole year at a set price.
Quote-based pricing is ideal for businesses that already have an understanding of what they want in a CRM, as well as those that have the confidence to contact a provider without knowing the pricing options beforehand.
With this type of pricing, you provide the key features and functions that you’re looking for in a CRM, and the provider offers a quote based on this information.
Single payment pricing
Offering a fee for the standard licence, as well as additional charges for extra functions, single payment pricing is best suited to bigger businesses with more complex needs – and the budget to match.
This type of pricing is most commonly found for on-site CRM systems. ‘Single payment’ refers to the one-off payment for the CRM licence, although ironically this needs to be renewed, usually on a yearly basis.
The best low-cost and cheap CRM systems
When it comes to CRM systems, there are a wide variety of provider options, and a spectrum of costs to match. For a full breakdown of the different CRM system providers out there, be sure to read our page on the best CRM for small businesses.
The price of CRM software depends largely on the size of your business. However, even small companies can take advantage of feature-rich systems without breaking the bank.
For example, Zoho offers:
- A plan priced at £10 per user, per month
- A basic system
- The ability to manage and optimise customer information
Be aware of CRM hidden costs
In addition to the price of the system itself, check for any extra costs. These may include:
- Exit fees – if you opt for a long-term contract, do you have to pay if you want to leave early?
- Support – is this included on all plans, or only some? And if so, what support is available, and what would incur additional charges?
CRM implementation costs
Cloud-based CRM systems are those hosted remotely by a provider. With these systems, the price you pay is for the cost of leasing the system from the provider.
On-site CRM systems, meanwhile, are hosted on your premises, using your own server. These would need to be maintained by an IT specialist. The cost is for the licence, which you’d renew on a yearly or otherwise agreed basis.
Due to the cost, space and technical know-how required of on-site CRMs, cloud-based CRMs are the generally preferred type of system. The costs of implementing an on-site CRM system can easily reach thousands of pounds – conversely, the initial set-up costs for cloud-based systems are much lower, chiefly due to their flexible nature.
How much does CRM cost to implement? Simply complete the form at the top of the page to compare quotes.
Based on the prices given above, the average monthly costs for a CRM system are:
- £28 for a basic solution
- £54 for a mid-range solution
- £239 for an advanced solution
Remember, these costs are per month (and sometimes per user), and refer to the cost of CRM software alone. There will be other costs associated with efficiently implementing a CRM system into your business, such as any initial set-up fees, as well as potential maintenance costs.
These days, most CRM systems are cloud-based. This makes the system easier to use and install whilst reducing the overall costs. Cloud-based means that the system can be stored and accessed online, freeing up office space and allowing you to access the system from any device.
However, while it’s all well and good having an all-singing, all-dancing CRM, if it’s not properly implemented, you immediately devalue the system.
Implementing CRM software will firstly require you to make sure you’ve got effective back-up before you launch the system. To do this:
- Make copies (both hard and cloud-based) of all software specifications
- Store any required data on a flash drive/external hard drive
This is to ensure that no important information is lost amidst the transition.
When calculating the costs of implementing a CRM system, you should factor in the price per user, per month for the software, plus any costs for set-up and training.
It’s a process that can be more or less costly depending on how much pre-existing CRM knowledge your business has. Failing to prepare for implementation could prove to be particularly expensive, especially if you don’t back up essential files or you attempt to use the system without properly knowing how. These errors would not only cost you time, but potentially customers too.
CRM data migration costs
If your business is already using a CRM system but you’re considering changing providers, you’ll need to think about data migration costs.
This includes immediate costs like the price of the new system, as well as any fees for leaving your current provider (if applicable). However, you should also factor in the time to research and try out new providers, as well as if you’ll need to hire any external help to assist with the migration.
Maybe your business has grown out of your current provider’s capacity. Perhaps you’re looking for different features, or are focused on cutting costs. Whatever your motivation, there are a number of reasons for switching CRM providers.
Here, we profile a business that went through this process:
Business case study: Matthew Orchard, Head of CRM at MVF
Describe the process of choosing your CRM provider. What impact/results have you experienced?
“We went through a very thorough process to choose our current marketing CRM providers to ensure we made the right choice, as it is so important for our business. Critically, we defined what our requirements were – what did we need to be able to do, what would add value to our business that the technology could help us achieve. For us, this was things like data and integration flexibility, high quality support and alignment of our and their growth, world-class email deliverability, and multi-channel marketing capacity.
“From this base, we were then able to reach out to suppliers and be more demanding. What parts of their software/service matched up to our requirements? We had 10+ vendors pitch against these requirements, from a shortlist of 30+, so that we could find the best provider for us.
“Some providers will be more focussed on the actual sending and delivery of your messages (like Sparkpost, Twilio and Sendgrid). Providers like Dome will be more dedicated to the configuration of user journeys, content, and segmentation for lifecycle automation at scale, while others will perform both of these roles effectively.
“We opted for separate systems that specialise in the front and back end of CRM marketing, which seamlessly integrate to provide us with more flexibility in configuration and expertise in both areas. The variety of providers and quality of integations allows you to decide the configuration that is right for your business at its current level of growth.”
What value and ROI can marketing CRM offer a business?
“Marketing CRM is such an important part of our business as it operates with such a high ROI – this will vary depending on your business, but could be as much as 96%.
“The cost of sending emails (and even SMS) is low compared to other paid marketing channels, and you will be messaging an already engaged audience (given that they have already committed to signing up to your mailing list). This means you’ll often get repeat customers and really high margins.
“Many marketing CRMs will also offer other marketing channels, such as web push notifications, app notifications, and soon even WhatsApp notifications, which are essentially free channels so offer an even higher return.
“On top of this, we’ve found we have gained economies of scale by having a platform that has many channels in one. Our platform is easier for the team to use, and offers the possibility of automating many processes, including personalised message journeys for our customers. This is currently allowing us to scale as a business effectively.”
Explain the data migration costs involved when you switched CRM systems.
“The reason we spent so long deciding whether we wanted to change marketing CRM providers, and then planning why and how we were going to do this, is because a) we decided there was significant value in it, and b) we knew it would take time and resource to move platforms.
“Data migration will require content and segmentation transfer, as well as subscriber transfer with all the requisite details. You may also need to consider how you are going to retain/warm up your email sending reputation (if you are sending from dedicated IPs for your current email marketing).
“However, your new chosen marketing CRM providers should be experts in migration, so you can lean on them significantly to help when moving to make this process as simple as possible.
“The most important thing was for us to know there was going to be value in doing it, so we were confident and committed to the move, whilst planning everything so that nothing got lost in the process.”
CRM ROI: Is customer relationship management software worth it?
The ROI of CRM can be measured in a number of ways. For example, you could look at any improvements in your sales team, such as:
- Number of calls made
- Number of calls per sale
- The duration of the sales cycle
- The value of each customer
- Opportunities for upselling or add-on products
- How long clients stay with your business
A specific calculation can be difficult to provide, as ROI depends on the individual requirements of each business. However, here is a more general formula:
Source: Technology Advice
On the potential ROI of CRM systems, Diante says: “This is inevitably a difficult question to answer in any kind of generic way, as all companies have such different ROI variables and some benefits are harder than others to assign a value to.
“We would advise companies to measure key values – such as cost per lead, revenue generated per lead, lifetime value of each customer, or average sales cycle – before a CRM is introduced to establish a benchmark against which ROI can be accurately measured.
“As so many CRMs now offer a low-commitment monthly subscription, and often a free trial, it’s compelling to try out how a CRM can benefit a business with very little risk or cost. Even with a smaller number of users, it will still give an embryonic company a feel of how to measure those benefits and costs, so they can get more sophisticated with their metrics.
“Companies should also make sure they include all CRM costs in their ROI calculations, including one-off costs for implementation, training, and time spent learning and adapting the CRM to your specific needs – plus the possible cost of integrating with other systems, and any increase in license fees.”
Overall, a CRM system can save your business money in a number of ways. Here are some of the main financial benefits:
- Less staff time spent on admin tasks – this frees up your staff to spend more time on their specialist areas, such as selling for sales teams, creating campaigns for marketing teams, or assisting customers for service/support teams
- More effective file management – quickly and easily locate invoices and other important documents, which could help improve cashflow
- Better understanding of customers – by making key customer information more accessible, a CRM system helps your team provide better service and interaction with customers throughout their journey. Plus, if customers feel appreciated, it’s more likely they will stay with your company – potentially providing more value in the long-term
- Streamline software – time and money can be funnelled into one central CRM system, rather than being spent across lots of different platforms
- Utilise reporting and analytics – CRM systems collate data that can be used to make decisions which can help bring in new business. For example, the reporting and analytics tools can help you to understand which marketing campaigns work and which don’t, so you can focus on only the most profitable marketing efforts
- Reduce paper waste – moving away from paper-based working to a digital CRM system not only saves time, but can also reduce your commercial waste collection bill. Plus, it’s more environmentally sustainable!
- Eliminate unnecessary meetings – as you can store all important documents and workflow in a CRM system, you don’t need to meet to share updates and briefs. Team members can follow each other’s activity via the system, allowing precious (and costly) meeting time to be saved for only the most essential tasks
- Monitor staff performance – with a CRM, you can easily view and track sales teams targets and deals. From this, you can see who your superstars are, as well as identify areas for improvement. Plus, you can share contacts, approaches, and other winning methods in order to boost team cohesion and morale
Source: Discover CRM
Business case study: HASBEAN
On the ROI of a CRM, Dale Harris, director of wholesale at HASBEAN, comments: “The cost of our CRM system is pretty small, but when we’re using it properly, the return we get is around 10 to 15 times bigger.
“With that in mind, it is only as effective as we are at using it. My team and I have to be on the ball, keeping it up to date regularly.”
When asked about how using a CRM has helped the business, Harris states: “For us, one of the biggest advantages of using Capsule has definitely been having all our information in one place. A CRM gives a real snapshot of the current position of each company, such as what equipment they have, when it was last serviced, what they’re paying out for coffee, when they had training etc. Our staff members know the situation with each client before they go into a meeting with them, as it’s all in front of them before they go – it’s so easy, and it makes better use of our time.
“My team also log into Capsule to review their pipeline of orders and to see very clearly the number of sales they are bringing in, along with their personal impact on the business and on our coffee producers around the world.
“We’ve got a much more accurate track of how we’re progressing with leads and conversions and understanding where these leads have come from, along with how successful we’ve been at bringing them through the sales process.
“Part of Capsule’s functionality is that there’s a sales tracker based on the last six months. We’ve just gone through our budgeting process for the next year, and we can see from our CRM that if we maintain our existing conversion percentage with confirmed leads, we’ll be X percentage along the way already. We then feel more confident in knowing how much coffee to buy, and in turn, our coffee producers are much more confident about their product and their future.”
How much does it cost to develop a CRM system?
This is a very open question, the answer to which really depends on what you’re trying to do, as well as the features you wish to include. There’s a huge difference between a fully-fledged CRM system and one that covers only the basics.
There are development agencies out there who can customise an existing CRM to suit specific business requirements. This is usually done with CRM systems at a large, corporation level – and it’s not cheap, either, with starting figures coming in at around £10,000. However, this is still much cheaper than the amount it’ll cost you to build a full CRM system from scratch – which could be anything from approximately £40,000 to £70,000 or more!
If you build your own system, you’ll also have to factor in any ongoing costs. This will include maintenance, updates, bug fixes, hosting, cyber security, training, technical support, and much more. These will all add up at the end of the year.
Here, we list some of the most customisable CRM systems, which may be more cost-effective options than developing a system from scratch.
A customisable CRM and project management solution, complete with a customisable dashboard. You can also tweak Fusioo to match your existing workflow without hiring software developers. It’s aimed at growing businesses, promising greater organisation in a matter of minutes.
Prices for Fusioo start from £16 per user, per month (billed annually). A free trial is available. Contact the provider for prices for 50+ users.
Prices based on conversion from USD to GBP at time of writing.
With a focus on relationships, Insightly is particularly good for businesses wanting a customisable CRM system for sales. Insightly is a three-time winner of the Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Sales Force Automation.
Prices for Insightly start from £22.15 per user, per month (billed annually). It offers three price points in an easy to understand bundle structure.
*Prices based on conversion from USD to GBP at time of writing
This CRM balances simplicity with the ability to integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for accounting teams. ERP is a way of centralising all key business operations into one system. And, with an adaptable structure and pricing based on the size of your team, webCRM can be modified to match your team’s requirements.
As it’s highly customisable, WebCRM pricing varies depending on the type of plan you create. This takes into account the length of time and the number of users. For example, prices start at £42 per month for 2-3 users.
CRM online storage costs
Have you ever been prompted to upgrade to a larger storage plan when your phone has run out of space?
This can also happen with your CRM system – either because you’ve not deleted old and obsolete information, or because you’ve scaled so quickly that your system can no longer facilitate the amount of storage you require.
The good news is, since CRM systems are cloud-based, it’s easy to get more storage. The bad news? Nothing in life comes for free.
Here’s a rough idea of the storage included with certain CRM system plans:
Basic: 5 GB
Mid-range: 10-20 GB
Advanced: 60-75 GB
The amount of storage you’ll need will depend on your the size of your business. For example, 500MB of storage could be sufficient for up to three users, while 12 users could work with 5GB of storage. It may also be possible to purchase additional storage, on a per month, per GB basis.
For more information regarding storage and pricing, see the table above.
CRM certification costs: Training your company staff
55% to 75% of CRM implementation projects will fail initially, according to research carried out by the Meta Group, Inc.
Whilst a CRM system can prove invaluable to your business – helping to boost sales, retain customers, and provide insight as to how to attract new prospects – the best CRM system in the world will be useless if no one in your company knows how to use it.
If you’re new to CRM and no one in your business has previous experience with the system, then getting some formal training would be very useful.
Pre-transition, it’s essential that you train any staff who are set to use the system so that they can hit the ground running once the system is comfortably in place. CRM training courses can cost in the range of £1,000 to £2,500, depending on the location, as well as the type and length of the training course.
It’s a good idea to get at least one person from your business fully certified and in-the-know when it comes to CRM. That way, they can efficiently train other members of staff in how to reap all of the benefits CRM has to offer.
With cloud-based CRM system solutions, most providers offer onboarding for free. Alternatively, there are many online how-to guides and videos to choose from to help you get to grips with the system.
In general, training should either be free, or for a minimal charge. This is a key question to ask providers when choosing a system. To compare quotes for CRM systems, and to connect with providers, simply complete the form at the top of the page.
Compare CRM pricing: Minimising CRM costs for your business
To summarise, the implementation of a CRM system will have associated costs that reach beyond the original purchase of the system itself. These costs include purchasing data, training staff, and developing the software.
It’s important to consider the additional costs of implementing a system, and factor them into your budget when investing in a CRM system for your business. The capacity of a system and related charges will depend on the size, scope, and needs of your business.
A CRM system budget should take into account the following:
- The CRM cost per user, per month
- Additional features, e.g. advanced reporting, premium support
- Customisation – the unique functions/elements required
- Extra storage – the amount of additional GB you’ll need
- Data migration – if you’re migrating from an existing system to a new CRM
As there are so many factors that can contribute to creating the right CRM system for your business, they can’t be recommended as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. A blanket approach to CRM is unlikely to deliver the best ROI.
To make sure you get the right system to fit all of your business needs, without breaking the bank, make sure you get a range of supplier quotes today. Simply fill in the form below or at the top of the page to compare quotes for CRM systems and speak with providers.
Can I just use a free CRM system?
Although it may seem easier to bypass the calculations and opt for a free CRM system, consider the long-term impact. While many free systems are ideal for testing out a product to see how it works on a day-to-day basis, remember that such systems are naturally limited, typically offering low amounts of data and reduced functionality.
Diante says: “The market is already saturated with CRM options at various price points, but as with most purchase decisions, a knee jerk dash for the cheapest option can often prove a false economy.
“Businesses should establish how easy the CRM is to use and what type of support is on offer. It obviously makes sense to select a CRM which is easy to get up and running with, and to work with a provider who offers a good level of support from the get-go to help leverage all the relevant functionality.
“They should find out if the CRM can scale up as the business grows, whether it can integrate with other software which they may want to use in future, and how secure and compliant it is.
“It is also worth checking if the CRM provider has a history of regular price increases, or if there are any hidden or unexpected costs.
“Finally, they should find out about future-proofing – how regularly is the CRM improved and updated so it doesn’t become clunky and outdated?
“Such factors are often overlooked and undervalued when focusing on price alone, but small businesses should consider the value of a long and stable relationship with the right provider – after all, switching to another CRM later down the line could end up being a costly and difficult exercise.”