Not “Super-Size” but “Right-Size”


From airlines to investment fees to toll roads, pricing tiers are set based on usage frequency or the number of features used.    The popularity of this approach falls on the basis of fairness:  “I’m charged for what I use.”  Essentially, cost is right-sized to usage.   (Compare this to a “one-size-fits-all” pricing scheme such as gym memberships, brunch buffets, or digital subscriptions.) 

For a given level of benefits, the lower the costs, the higher the ROI.  With CRM, too often firms look only at the system’s costs, and, as a consequence, limit deployment to fit a target budget.  Right-sizing license costs deliver a larger user community for a given budget, allowing this truism to take hold – the more users on a CRM system, the more benefits a firm receives.  (Noting here that expected CRM benefits are increased productivity, more astute insights, improved sales yields, fewer mistakes, higher service quality, consistent processes, and more loyal clients.)

CRM License Options

At ProTrak, we emphasize a license series specifically matched to an employee’s needs (i.e. the lower the usage intensity, the lower the relative cost.); a representative license usage hierarchy is below.

  • User-Named license. A license applied to a specific person for his or her anywhere/anytime access through a dedicated computer and/or a browser.  A named license targets power users (e.g. business development; inside sales; investor relations; client servicing; research analysts; due diligence analysts; pooled assistants) that contribute daily content through meeting notes, emails, and documents. Equally important, each person relies on the CRM for tracking and processing the volume of completed tasks and ToDos day after day.
  • Shared License. Some employees need full CRM functionality but have intermittent usage; this permits a license to be shared.  As more employees share a given license, the license’s cost will be fully utilized.  For budgeting purposes, a single license supports multiple employees.  Just like a machine that continually produces has high productivity, so does a shared CRM license generate a high ROI.  A shared license is an excellent match for marketing departments, administrative assistants, and portfolio managers.
  • Mobile License. Many employees are often out of the office yet need core CRM functions for data entry, information retrieval, and meeting preparation.  A mobile license operates optimally if it is designed for the device’s unique interface (i.e. accounting for the differences in screen size and touch-screen navigation to a desktop or laptop).  C-suite, sales management, and traveling sales are common roles that most benefit from a mobile license.
  • View License/View + Emails. A primary CRM user sources content that populates the database, information such as meeting notes, emails, and attachments.  Within a company, there are others that want an up-to-date view of work that’s been completed and work that is upcoming but themselves do not originate CRM content.  The C-suite and executive management are typical users of this license.  One step beyond monitoring work in “View” mode is combining access to all emails and associated document attachments.  In this package (View+Email), the top management gets both a birds-eye view down to specific activity/communication events.
  • Emails Only. Occasionally, certain employees in compliance, accounting, or legal exchange important correspondence with the firm’s key relationships.  Since the CRM’s value increases the more comprehensive the content record becomes, this correspondence can still be secured to the database without these employees requiring any training.


A companion to license usage is an associated training program.  While intensive users are trained for productive use across the CRM’s feature set, the lighter-usage employees need modest training.  A CRM system allowing for different usage levels decreases out-of-pocket training expenses and actual training time. 

Right-sizing licenses to usage needs leads to cost efficiency, a key consideration in any purchase decision.  ROI has two components:  1) the cost to acquire capabilities and 2) the resulting benefits received.   With right-sizing costs to usage, the total cost of ownership decreases as high usage employees are counterbalanced by those with low usage, yet the CRM’s benefit package accrues to the entire firm resulting in a high ROI. 

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