If you’re considering a new CRM system for your organization, as part of the evaluation and selection process you may have discovered that there is a host of available third party add-on functionality for CRM systems.
The good news is that not all add-ons require yet another swipe of a credit card.
There are a variety of CRM add-ons that range from small utilities to full-blown productivity applications. For the purposes of this post, we’ve also included integrations with standalone applications as a form of add-on.
Here are four general types of CRM add-on functionality:
1. Free Native Functionality
These are completely free CRM add-ons that developers release for a variety of reasons. Native means that the functionality runs entirely inside of the CRM system.
Sometimes, vendors will offer these apps as loss leaders in order to subsequently market paid products. In other cases, developers will post free apps out of altruism or a desire to be recognized — they’ve come up with something useful and want to share it with the world.
2. Paid Native Functionality
This type of CRM add-on is one that generally adds a full set of incremental functionality within a CRM application. Examples are project management, accounting, commission tracking and CPQ apps.
Since these are effectively entire applications within a CRM application, the vendors normally charge full product prices.
3. Free Integration Between CRM and Standalone Apps
Third parties that offer products that run in a separate environment from CRM (i.e. non-native applications) will often provide their integration packages for free. For example email marketing, marketing automation and eSignature vendors will generally not charge extra for packages that integrate CRM systems with their application.
4. Paid Integration Between CRM and Standalone Apps
When third party integration packages are developed by integration vendors instead of by the CRM vendor or third party ISV, then there is an additional fee for the integration itself. Sometimes, the add-on product ISV will charge extra for the CRM integration with their own product. In these cases, there are three different payment streams associated with CRM plus an app.
In some cases, evaluation of CRM add-ons is a critical part of the overall evaluation process. For example, if there’s already a marketing automation system in place, it’s important to make sure that the selected CRM system integrates as seamlessly as possible. In other cases, the evaluation of CRM add-ons can be part of a later phase.