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Beware of the CRM Trap: Per-User Pricing

The importance of not limiting the users in your Account

By Madison Potter

Key Takeaways

  1. What is ‘Per-User’ pricing anyway, and why should we care?
  2. The importance of not limiting the amount of users in your Account
  3. Issues that the ‘Per-User’ pricing causes in businesses
  4. Why ‘Per-Contact’ pricing is the solution

The goal with your CRM (customer relationship management) system is to focus on generating, nurturing, and managing your leads and customers. A good CRM system should help you effectively manage your team, contacts, and tasks without breaking the bank. Unfortunately, most CRM companies do not take this into consideration with their pricing structure, ultimately increasing your total cost of ownership. Oftentimes, small businesses are trapped into subscription plans that charge per user and/or feature. In the end, the business ends up with a much higher bill than expected because of all the add-ons for their marketing, customer services, etc. Per-user pricing structures can bring up the price of your subscription substantially, decreasing your overall ROI - among other disadvantages. 

It’s important to be cautious of this common pricing structure we call ‘Per-User’ pricing. Because each user adds an additional expense, for small businesses on a budget, it's cost prohbitive to extend access to the entire team. Managing your leads and clients is a team effort, and you don’t want to be stuck with paying for each additional user and feature as you begin to grow. Find a pricing structure that’s based on your actual business growth (contacts), instead of your company size! Plus, in the age of the customer experience, your entire team from sales to marketing to operations and customer service should be actively working in your CRM.  

Per User Software Pricing

Importance of NOT limiting the users in your Account.

  1. Need employee buy-in and adoption
  2. Specific permission based access control
  3. Easier to scale
Need employees on board (Team buy-in, engagement)

One of the biggest reasons why businesses fail to successfully implement a CRM is because they do not invest in getting the entire team on board with the new system. User adoption is very important to the success of managing your business' relationships. Multi-user access increases transparency both internally and from the customer's perspective, promotes recording detaills and helps gain valuable insight into your team and their relationships with your leads and customers. 

A Complete CRM acts as a second brain to your business and can (and should) be used by every department within your organization. This not only increases employee satisfaction, but having your employee's buy-in elevates your business success and holds everyone accountable in their efforts. Not to mention, it promotes healthy and productive collaboration with a common goal in mind. 

Importance of specific permission-based access

Managing who has access into your account is almost as important as what they have access to. Different departments, teams, or employees in the company all need specific access into various features and data within the system. You need to find a platform that not only allows you to have all of your departments access the system, but their dashboards and project lists customized to exactly what they are working on. For example, you would not need your development team having full access into your list of prospects and clients, or your sales team having the ability to make changes to your website code. Yikes!

Easier to scale

As your business grows, so does the list of responsibilities. The ‘Per-User’ pricing structure might limit (due to monetary reasons) the amount of people from your team with access into the Account. This may not seem like a big issue at first, but imagine the stress this causes as your company grows. You don’t want to be trapped into paying additional costs, per month, to add on each new user and/or new feature that your business needs. This hinders your growth because the ‘Per-User’ pricing structure does not take into account how many clients you are generating revenue from, but rather the amount of employees that have access into managing these clients. Small businesses often feel trapped in this model due to the high costs.

By limiting the amount of users that can access the account oftentimes leads to internal issues such as overwriting of important data, double work, and no trail for accountability. 

CRM Pricing Issues That Arise With “Per-User” Pricing

  1. Employees share multiple log-ins
  2. Lose accountability
  3. Huge effort to resolve or identify changes
  4. Weaken overall business management
Employees share multiple log-ins

With ‘Per-User’ pricing models, we find that businesses who don’t want to pay for each additional user will “cheat the system” by having multiple people on the team share log-in credentials. Although this might seem like a good idea to prevent rising monthly costs, this is a big no-no. When business share log-in credentials across multiple people to avoid paying for an additional user, the power to manage, track and hold accountable diminishes. 

Lose accountability

When employees log into the CRM to manage their contacts, complete important tasks, or make any adjustments to the data - we need to track this! As the business owner, it is important to know what your employees are doing within your business and keep an overview of all tasks being completed. When we have multiple users using the same log-in, you lose this ability to really manage your business and hold your team members accountable.

Huge effort to resolve or identify specific changes

Tracking and managing upcoming tasks/activities, major/minor adjustments made, or any other changes in the system are based on the log-in credentials for the specific user currently logged in. When you have multiple users sharing the same log-in, it can be very time consuming and frustrating to search back and try find out who exactly made a specific change - or worse, deleted a contact record!

Weaken overall business management

Sharing the same log-in credentials to work within one account decreases your effectiveness to properly manage your employees, clients, and business. Your CRM needs to have structure, tracking, and accountability to best align your business goals with employee expectations. It also makes it almost impossible to create, manage, and track successful customer experiences. When each employee is their own user with their own dedicated log-in and password, they become a manager of their clients and specific tasks. Also, any adjustments made within this user’s account are tracked for reference and report generation. Accountability and transparency are important in any business, especially when we are in it for the long run.

CRM Companies using ‘Per User’ pricing can be seen as deceptive. Many of these companies lock you into a contract, which will increase the price per month with every additional user and feature. The price you see on the package when first signing up is ultimately not the actual price you pay - do your homework. You want to find a CRM that does not restrict the number of users in the account or the features you have access to, but rather one that charges based on the amount of actual contacts within your Account. 


Why ‘Per-Contact’ Pricing is the Solution Why Per User Pricing

By paying based on the amount of contacts (Per-Contact model) that you are working with, the focus is directed on generating new leads, nurturing your contacts, and growing your business through collaborative sales, marketing, and operations. As stated by Lars Helgeson, CEO and Founder of GreenRope CRM, "We are completely flipping the CRM model on it’s head by not charging based on users or features, but rather only on the amount of contacts in your system.” This innovative approach to CRM helps businesses focus on lead generation, client retention, and accurate and consistent tracking of all engagement, sales and so on. Your business needs multiple users, from different departments (sales, marketing, customer service), to engage with clients on various levels, Complete CRM is the key. 


GreenRope CRM is ahead of the curve, and focuses on helping small to medium-sized businesses grow and increase their ROI by not spending wasteful dollars on users, but rather valuable dollars on the bread and butter of your business - your clients. Their pricing structure provides unlimited users, access into all of the features, and no cap on emails being sent. This is a very powerful pricing model that bases the pricing plan on your business growth instead of the number of users or sales people. Do yourself a favor and do your research when it comes to finding a CRM that’s right for your business!



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