ROI is the bottom line. It’s the determining factor in everything. If there is no profit, then what is the point? Well, not so fast. It’s true that you can’t throw something out there that will always lose money. However, just because something isn’t making money now doesn’t mean it won’t make money in the future. How big of a hit are you really taking? For instance, did you know that Microsoft has never made a profit on Bing? Never! They have not made one penny. Microsoft has lost several millions of dollars on Bing, as a matter of fact. Yes, Microsoft is gigantic and can afford to take losses like that whereas other companies can’t. However, they’re keeping it around to stay relevant, and the search engine has slowly grown in market share over the years. The point is that it takes time to grow a client base. You have to make sure other areas of your company turn a profit while still developing to stay ahead of the curve.
A CRM is an important tool to help you accomplish that. It’s also important that you gain ROI on your CRM, though. Measuring that is a little trickier. Nucleus Research wrote a paper a few years back that stated, “Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications continue to deliver high return on investment (ROI), with an average benefit of $5.60 returned for every dollar spent.” The ROI fluctuates quite a bit depending on the company. Nucleus Research did a sample with 70 companies. “The ROI they saw varied from a few percentage points to triple digits,” said Rebecca Wettemann, Vice President of research at Nucleus. “We saw there was a lot of opportunity and variability in the results.”
The other reason judging the ROI on a CRM is trickier is because it’s in a constant state of flux. The more successful companies remain engaged in their deployment initiative. They go through an entire cycle of planning, implementation, and deployment. After that, they continually evaluate what programs are producing and then doing research using outside agencies. Those numbers are reviewed and adjustments are made accordingly. Obviously, not all companies have the resources to be able to hire outside agencies to review the work that has been done. However, if the company can look objectively at their own work with the expectation that changes will need to be made, then any given company should be able to gain a solid understanding of where their ROI is headed.
In summary, ROI clearly isn’t as black and white as we would like it to be. So, don’t be so hasty to judge a CRM tool or a program too quickly. Axing it too quickly could mean you lose far more profit down the line. Yes, ROI is a crucial statistic, but there are other factors that need to be considered before making a final decision on a CRM system or a program running in a CRM. Just think where big companies like Microsoft would be if they axed everything before there was ample time to judge.