How To Build A Custom CRM And Make It Thrive – The Ultimate Guide to Improve Your Customer Relationship Management Strategy

The pace of competition between various businesses in the market has become immense. And the key to surviving in this rivalry is by managing customer relationships. Custom CRM (customer relationship management) is the leading tool to control customer relationships. According to the statistics, it can bring a 9-dollar revenue for each dollar put in its development. It provides a number of relevant for your business functions: it tracks the purchases and activities of customers, makes customer retention and satisfaction levels rocket, and leads to faster sales. 

However, there are two types of CRM, off-the-shelf and custom ones. And sometimes it’s complicated to make up your mind which one suits your needs more. That’s why in today’s article, I provide you with the main benefits of custom CRM, reasons to go for it, as well as the main steps to build custom CRM. Hopefully, it’ll help to decide whether this is the tool your business is in need of right now.

Why may you need custom CRM?

  1. 1. You may go for custom CRM if your business needs specific integrations.

Huge B2C networks, large-scale corporations, global retailers, conglomerates, transnational companies, will struggle to use ready-made solutions because the more extraordinary tools are used, the more complicated it is to find solutions that can integrate with them. Large-scale companies have EDMS and numerous other systems that need integration.

  1. 2. Custom CRM allows using only necessary functions.

The features of ready-made CRM are made for various businesses. This means they include the functions you may never need. This software is not tailored for your needs, and even if you need one specific feature, you will have to pay for all of them.

  1. 3. Custom CRM allows you to customize the UX/UI design and stay ahead of your competitors.

While commercial CRM software is a template that doesn’t allow customization of the UX and UI design, with custom CRM you can tailor the design according to your needs.

  1. 4. Custom CRM gives an opportunity to stay ahead of competitors.

Communication with customers via emails and messages may become too similar when using non-custom CRM and there won’t be any difference between you and your competitors who use the same system. Custom CRM, on the other hand, allows you to outpace the competitors working in the same market.

What are the main steps of custom CRM building?

The process of custom CRM development consists of the following important steps:

  1. 1. First things first, before starting your custom CRM development, you should define:
  • commercial goals – define how the company’s revenue should grow due to the CRM system implementation;
  • target audience, as well as their challenges you want to address;
  • requirements – write down principal features of your CRM: work speed, integrations with databases, secure functions, etc.
  • the CRM class: operational, analytical, communication, or strategic.
  • the layout and functionalities of the platform;
  • the design – keep in mind the people who will be using it. Be aware that according to the goals and tasks of the platform, its functionalities and, consequently, the design will differ. For example, platforms for sales teams and marketers include different functions, so they will look slightly distinctive.
  1. 2. Secondly, find a dedicated, reliable technology partner. It requires as much work as defining your goal and ideas and market research. When looking for a provider who will be developing software for you, read reviews from other customers, ask about expertise in your specific domain and industry, conduct technical and language interviews. Don’t forget to choose the provider with a close mentality to ensure values similarity. You can find more information on choosing a dedicated provider for your business in the article.
  2. 3. Thirdly, build a minimum viable product with the most relevant features and launch it. There is no need to spend much time on developing an ideal final variant. The modern world requires fast and profitable results. That’s why it’s smart to use an MVP and constantly improve it by adding the most necessary functions which are of the greatest priority for the business.

Before jumping into custom CRM development, you may wonder what the core features of a CRM software system are.

No matter what the type of your CRM software is, there are certain key features every business requires in its system.

  1. 1. Contact and lead management.

Contact management is the functionality that stores customer data, records, contact details like email addresses, phone numbers, etc. It’s a basic part of any CRM software. Lead management keeps an eye on your potential clients. It helps to monitor how the leads are progressing towards a conversion.

  1. 2. Task management

Task management functionality in your CRM system helps keep numerous sub-tasks under various departments planned and systematic. It allows creating tasks, adding members to those tasks, and leaving all the necessary comments.

  1. 3. Calendar and reminders

Meetings and schedules are an indispensable part of any business operation. That’s why functionalities related to reminders and calendars are an integral part of lead management, task management, and any other process.

  1. 4. File sharing

Teamwork requires collaboration. Without file sharing functionality, you would have to download the same files over and over again. Quick file sharing, on the other hand, will save much time.

  1. 5. Dashboards and reports

Dashboards provide a picture of the work in progress. Reports enable team members to understand how productive and effective they are and how well each department is performing according to various parameters.

Besides, there are certain advanced functions that your business needs on top of the mentioned above:

  1. 1. Mobile access – remote teams and work from home are becoming more and more popular these days. That’s why the feature of mobile access makes the CRM system more convenient for all users.
  2. 2. Price Quote Solutions and the system of automatic creation of commercial offers – you can generate invoices, track their history, check their statuses, etc.
  3. 3. Custom reports  allows learning and understanding everything about your target audience, a gold mine of customer insights for you.
  4. 4. Customer scoring – helps prioritize tasks of sales representatives and sell more.

If you are still at a crossroads and can’t decide whether you should go for custom CRM development, let’s look at the major benefits it can give to your business.

  • It’s tailored to your needs. Off-the-shelf CRM systems make you pay for the features that are of no use for you, and the ones you need may be absent there. Custom CRM, on the other hand, includes all the functionalities you need. Plus, if you need to test, update, modify, or fix sth, your software development team will be here for you anytime you need.
  • Scalability. Custom CRM allows developing the elements of the system in tiny sessions, scaling, and modifying them whenever needed.
  • Centralized data. Custom CRM allows working with databases in the format accepted in your company. Besides, it gives you a full overview of what is going on inside your company on the digital level. Sometimes, the function of monitoring is offered by off-the-shelf CRM developers, but none of these providers can fix any technical errors that can arise.
  • Customer insights analytics. Ready-made CRM can help you get basic data, such as your customers’ age, geography, or order quantity. But if you need a group of filters that are not in the packaged CRM, you should go for a custom CRM that can help you figure out at what stage you lose customers and fully explore your customers’ insights.
  • Security. Custom CRM is less vulnerable to cyberattacks in comparison to ready-made solutions that can be accessed by third-party systems. Custom CRMs are only controlled by one organization.
  • Automation. One of the biggest advantages of custom CRM is that it can automate marketing, customer support, analytics, sales, delivery notification – hence, save your time and money. Some kinds of automation are not possible in off-the-shelf CRM, as they are designed to cover only the general needs of numerous businesses.

To sum this all up, no matter how typical your business may seem, its inner processes, team, operating style, and ideas are unique. That’s why it’s complicated to find a universal CRM software that can be used by everyone in the best way possible. In this situation, custom CRM may sound like an excellent idea for your company, as it improves your business in several aspects, such as sales, customer support, and marketing.

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