At Insightly we offer a ‘freemium’ model, meaning we have a free account and paid levels of service with more advanced features. The theory is that people will sign up for a free account, and at some point a certain number of those users that have free accounts will upgrade and become paid customers.
Our paid levels of service are offered in groups of users as opposed to single user licenses. So for example, our Starter level is $29/month for 4-6 users – about $5/user/month. We think that by any stretch of the imagination, this price is definitely a great value. Sometimes we get feedback from users on a free account explaining that they want to upgrade to a paid plan (to take advantage of more advanced features), but they won’t do so because they only have 2-3 users and they don’t want to waste money. I understand that small businesses are always looking to save money. However, I think using a single aspect of cost as the primary evaluation criteria for a software application is selling your business short -- and quite possibly hindering your business growth.
When you are evaluating the investment required to bring a new software application into your business you need to look at all the costs involved – i.e. the license cost, training costs, customization/implementation costs, IT support costs, additional costs for phone support – and then determine if the value that the application delivers outweighs the investment. In the specific case of a customer relationship management system, some of the application benefits may be a bit harder to tie to tangible benefits - i.e. improved organization, efficiency, and communication. However, benefits in the sales area should be much easier to measure or quantify – it’s pretty easy to determine the value you’ll get from better visibility into your sales pipeline, the ability to track closed sales, and count how many new customers you may have recently added.
One way to determine overall value, is to go the ‘old school’ route and write down a list of pros (i.e. all the value an application brings to your business), cons (i.e. what is your experience if you don’t invest in this application) and total monetary costs. This way, you’ll have a better idea if the value outweighs the investment, and you can make a more educated decision as to whether the software application can help take your business to the next level.
Interested in more applications to take you business to the next level? Lena West, Founder of Influence Expansion Academy, writes about 'Three Hot, User-Friendly Tech Tools that will Elevate your Business from Semi-Pro to Pro'.