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Should I use a SaaS based CRM?

In this article I want to take a look at whether you should use a SaaS based CRM or whether you should self host. Through putting this article together I’ve reviewed both SaaS providers and other ‘self hosted’ CRM systems that run on WordPress.

Pay Monthly to use your CRM

This is what most Software as a Service businesses offer. You can use their service as long as your subscription is active. If you decide that you don’t want to keep paying you have to pack your bags and leave. So, you end up paying every month for access to your data and access to their software.

There’s pros and cons to using a SaaS solution. A big one in our eyes is the fact that once you cease paying, you lose access to your CRM. Here at Jetpack CRM you are running the software on your own site, and once you purchase any extensions, they are yours to keep (you only pay for support and future updates).

Using a SaaS for your CRM (paying monthly)

There’s benefits to using a SaaS for your CRM. You may want to pay monthly for the ease of getting up and running.

  • Already online, so setup costs
  • Software is advanced and has lots of features
  • Sign up and use immediately
  • They (the SaaS company) manage security
  • They manage uptime

But also downsides…

  • You have to pay every month to keep using
  • Can be pricey (per user $)
  • Pay for all features (even if you don’t use them)
  • Can have contact limits
  • Takes a while to set up
  • They control the features (your request *might* get added)
  • Feature overload, you get everything as part of your payment (usually)
  • Stop paying, stop using – pack your bags and leave
  • They keep your data
  • They manage security
  • They manage uptime

If you’ve landed on this article, you’re probably thinking cool, I need a CRM, and have found things like SalesForce, or AgileCRM and I’m considering using them. These businesses exist for a reason. They’re strong CRM providers. The software they offer is great and you can find a CRM with pretty much anything you want to do, as long as you’re willing to pay.

SaaS is expensive though..

Here’s the typical costs of a SaaS type solution, analysing both the costs per month and whether it’s per user or not (the costs below are all per user of the CRM).

So, looking at the most expensive (SalesForce) that can run up to $3k per user, per month. Even the cheapest option can soon get pricey if you have a team of more than one.

Stop Paying, Sorry. Bye.

This one is the kicker for me. If you decide you want to cut down your monthly expenses and stop paying for a CRM each month, your access is cut off. You can export your data, but after that you’re done. You can’t use their features anymore.

This is why a lot of SaaS systems have the attractive introduction pricing, low costs for a single user, or limits on how many contacts you can have. You get used to using it, your business grows and you then find out you need another team member to help you.

Boom. Your costs double. Need a couple more people? They double again.  There’s some systems that may give you no limits on team members, but as soon as you get more than a handful of customers you start paying.

So you decide to stop paying, you can keep using the CRM though. No. You can’t. This is where using a Self Hosted CRM and Open Source software like WordPress comes into it’s own.

Self Hosting your CRM

We looked at why you should consider self hosting your CRM and also how to go about it. While SaaS CRM’s have been the weapon of choice, self-hosting your own CRM has gotten a lot easier and a lot cheaper.

Just like a SaaS solution though, self hosting has its advantages

  • You control the features (through modularised features)
  • You keep your data (since you’re hosting it on your own server)
  • No $$’s price per CRM user
  • Unlimited contacts (leads, customers etc)
  • Pay for what you need
  • Stop paying, keep using (through the software licensing).

and disadvantages….

The costs of self-hosting

On the other hand. Self hosted CRM’s running on WordPress are single costs. It’s the same price if you have a team of 100 or a team of 1.

When a solution like Jetpack CRM exists which gives you loads of features in the core and even more through its extensions.

The costs above have been converted to equivalent monthly amounts for all the features of the CRM. With a self-hosted solution you have to pay monthly (usually) for web hosting, but these days most people with a site will have their own hosting.

This converts to around $199 a year (at our current pricing), for access to all the extensions. If you decide to stop paying though, unlike a SaaS system you get to carry on using the extensions that you’ve purchased. This is one of the main reasons we built the Jetpack CRM.

The core is free, the extensions continue to work even if you cancel your subscription and you can grow your business and not be hit with any increasing costs.

Are you still using a SaaS for your CRM? Talk to us about how we can help you make the move over to Jetpack CRM.