Do You Need to Build a Custom CRM System?
Is it possible to make a business prosper with a high-grade sales CRM system? You may be surprised, but the answer is yes, it’s quite possible. Let's explain why it's so.
The fact is that the market is changing too quickly, innovative technologies penetrate into every line of business. To be in trend and compete, you need to keep up with the times and fully control all the internal company processes. And you’ll achieve the goal by implementing a CRM solution for your business.
But remember, there are cases when you have to resort to building a CRM system from scratch in order to get the intended effect. This is especially true for large companies aiming to take a leading position in their business niche. For them, the decision to find an open-source customer relationship program and then customize the system wouldn't be the perfect option.
Want to know more? Take some time to read our detailed CRM software review. You'll find out if you need a completely new system or you can do with the ready-made one. Also, we’re going to give you a full CRM comparison, describe solutions with huge functionality, and provide another useful CRM information. We’re sure our article will successfully guide you through the issue so that you’ll be able to get the best CRM experience.
Are you satisfied with your current CRM software?
As you're reading our article, we believe you haven't decided on the system and its CRM properties yet. And a natural question arises: why are users still dissatisfied with existing tools, what is the mistake of the open-source CRM solutions offered by the market? Why do people choose custom development, despite all the costs?
We're ready to sort the issue out by offering 5 main reasons for the described situation. And you’ll see why a huge CRM tools list has been constantly extending and remains unsatisfactory anyway.
#1. Too many features
Ready-made solutions aimed at customer relationship management must suit a wide range of users, they are focused on almost any type of business. These systems usually have a huge number of features and options which you're unlikely to need and, therefore, use. Also, such tools are difficult to integrate and customize.
#2. Many extra fields
The second reason somehow matches the previous one. Yes, an excessive number of fields may cause users dissatisfaction too.
The plain fact is: some of these fields seem to be completely unnecessary and remain blank, so their presence is just annoying. And, therefore, they interfere with the successful experience with CRM.
#3. Neglect of professional help
The team which has just bought the contact management software is sure that CRM integration would be a simple task, but the reality betrays these expectations.
The CRM market consists of the purchase of licenses and implementation services, and such a trend exists for a reason. Neglecting the help of experts, businessmen don't get the desired benefits and are disappointed in these tools.
Of course, good CRM systems should be easy-to-use, but it doesn't mean you'll implement them without difficulty.
#4. Poorly tested processes
Before buying any expensive technological solution, it would be smart to work out all the processes. Preliminary manual testing helps to determine the CRM tools list and list of features, possible modes and attributes, and so on. Believe our expertise, the described approach greatly increases the efficiency of the subsequent platform implementation.
A lot of businessmen, however, are in too much of a hurry to get a result and don't care to conduct a preliminary study. Sometimes it works, but not in cases when it comes to CRM experience.
#5. Inappropriate UI/UX Design
A lot depends on the design. Improper UX/UI can spoil the whole impression and make the client abandon the tool at all.
But what is it, a bad interface of ready-made sales CRM solutions?
- too many extra clicks. The less action required to achieve a result, the better. The rule of three clicks is still relevant.
- unfriendly interface. The design should be intuitive, clear, and user-friendly.
- inconsistency with corporate identity. It’s desirable that the customer relationship program should be created in the same style as the other corporate attributes.
We've described several main reasons for the failure of ready-made tools. As you could have noticed, the blame lies not only with the providers but also with the users. And let’s be fair: developers of open-source CRM solutions have a difficult task (let's say frankly - an impossible task!) - they should please everyone. As a result, no one is 100% satisfied.
Of course, there is a solution to the problem, namely, - you might customize the system you've chosen, but it would be a time-consuming process (and sometimes not especially effective).
According to these statistics, not every customer resource management tool is easily integrated with other systems. The same applies to customization of CRM solutions. However, the issue is too important to discuss it in a hurry, so we’ll do it later, in due course time, and in a little more detail.
What tasks a CRM tool performs
In essence, really good CRM systems contribute to improving the overall company efficiency through special tools for managing internal business processes. That is, you build a custom CRM to facilitate the work of both staff and management. To make it clearer, let's sort the question by points.
- Automation of workflow. A CRM system is needed to automate the process of generating and printing documentation for transaction support (contracts, invoices, reports). In general, this implies automating the sales mode;
- Marketing planning. It’s difficult or even impossible to imagine a company which wouldn't take advantage of modern marketing techniques. And a CRM platform is able to simplify using these techniques and monitoring all ongoing actions and initiatives;
- Сustomer relationship management and sales. The work with the client can be divided into several stages. CRM systems help to effectively control the whole process. Besides, there is a great opportunity to analyze which steps have already been taken and which ones still need to be implemented.
- Monitoring the work of employees. Among others, the efficient contact management software would come in handy if the company executive wants to monitor the quality of work of each client manager and analyze the performance of the entire department.
- Standardization of processes. And, finally, another of the CRM functions is the chance to have common templates of your documentation, which makes the process standardized and more efficient.
Benefits of building a custom CRM system
We’ve already talked about the complexity of the CRM integration, especially, when we're dealing with ready-made open-source tools. So, maybe you should take a chance and build your own CRM system - the one which will be well-adapted to your specific needs?
Let’s discuss why unique CRM solutions with huge functionality would be a good and profitable idea. In other words, what benefits are you getting?
#1. Custom functionality
The custom CRM approach allows you to obtain exactly as many features as you need. Moreover, you’ll be able to expand the functionality without difficulty whenever you wish.
By the way, maybe, one of the success factors of Apple products is the clarity and simplicity of their functionality, which leads to the comfort of use. And custom CRM application development ensures you have the same comfort.
#2. Easy integration
Using your own platform instead of the default functionality package, you can easily integrate other business processes of your organization. Document flow, sales management, technical and CRM support, SMM, communication - all of these can be controlled through a single interface.
Also, people choose custom development because they like the possibility to get a user-friendly interface which can be easily integrated into their databases.
Unique solutions are much more flexible, which means such systems can be expanded, supplemented with new features, and so on, if necessary. It’s very important if your company plans to grow, and you’re going to scale your business.
As you understand, the problem of information security cannot be overestimated. And ready-made systems won’t be able to provide such a level of data safety as unique solutions developed for your business do.
Briefly summarizing, let's say: by creating a custom personalized system, you’re getting the chance to give it those CRM properties which you so badly need. And nothing more!
So, build own or customize selected CRM?
If now you think you're in any case obligated to build your own CRM system, you’re far from the truth, for this is not really the case. Some companies can be satisfied with ready-made solutions - but, of course, they should choose the most customizable CRM tools.
Let’s discuss situations when there is no point in building a CRM system from scratch:
- Lack of competition. We are talking about the monopolists of the industry who have no problem with finding customers and selling products. While the flow of customers is stable and there are no strong competitors in the market, managers won't think about the need to create a unique CRM. But if there is competition, the situation changes, and every factor becomes decisive, including the ability to effectively manage the customer base. And at this stage, a lot of businessmen become aware of the imperfection of their old CRM client management systems. And they start thinking about custom CRM application development.
- Situational business. There are areas of business in which a company owner relies on the assortment and location. Let's say the customers are passers-by. A striking example is a cafeteria located near the university. Hungry and sleepy students rushing to a lecture will eagerly buy coffee, hamburgers, and buns. That's why such companies believe they don't need any CRM system at all. Although, in fact, they're wrong, they should have a certain database to work with clients either. However, obviously, it's too early to think about custom solutions, ready-made ones will also do.
- Small client database. Sometimes a business has a small customer database and is not interested in its growth. There are many possible reasons for lack of interest - say, the fear of not coping with a higher level of responsibility, because business growth is associated with the increased quality control. In such a case, the owner of the company may choose one of the open-source CRM solutions.
We've described 3 main situations when custom CRM development services aren't indispensable. All the companies of the sort have to find a ready system and then improve a chosen platform.
The ways to customize the system
Although the article focuses on how to build a custom CRM solution, it'd be unfair to ignore the problem of customizing ready-made systems. So we'll consider the main cases you can face dealing with the issue.
#1. Open-source CRM solutions
We’re talking about the simplest option when the code is fully accessible, and any developer can easily change it as a client requires. However, in addition to great advantages, there are also a few disadvantages.
- The ability to freely modify the system and adapt it to any business logic.
- Versatility and portability.
- Modularity (having a proper qualification, you’re able to set up any corporate system).
- High customization properties.
- The need to find qualified programmers with the appropriate skills (and their services are usually expensive).
- High overhead when implementing the selected solution.
- Inefficient analytical modules in the default version.
#2. Cloud CRM with API
API is a set of ready-made components (classes, functions, constants, etc.) which may be used in external products. In such a case, it’s about creating and customizing CRM client management tools.
These cloud systems with API have several disadvantages but remain popular due to the speed of implementation, scalability, and modern interface.
- Lower requirements for the level of developers (compared to open-source CRM solutions) to customize the system.
- Extensive opportunities to work with API, flexibility.
- Sets of ready-made applications, plug-ins, and connectors.
- Well-evolved community of developers.
- Limited functionality and (often) expensive customization.
- Dependence on the third party - the developer of the widget or application.
- Long compatibility debugging.
- Possible security issues.
#3. Paid CRM-systems with platforms and SDK
These are systems with paid licenses and closed code. However, if necessary, suppliers provide development platforms and SDKs for customers, as well as perform customization independently.
- Good modularity and customization.
- A set of numerous industry solutions.
- The simplicity of the means of improvement.
- The high cost of customization by the vendor.
- Insufficient set of features in the basic version.
- Dependence on system requirements and hardware configuration.
#4. Improving the system by the vendor with a strong basic version
These customer relationship programs have a good range of capabilities which accommodates the entire vendor's experience. As a rule, they include several sets of functionality in order to save the client from unnecessary features which don't meet his requirements. In addition, vendors offer personalized system's customization (if needed).
- Strong basic functionality.
- Regular releases and major system updates.
- Availability of industry solutions with an established business logic.
- Included integration solutions (not always, but often).
- Fast professional system development with the help of a vendor.
- Easy customization at the advanced user level.
- Inflexibility - major changes require time and money.
- The presence of restrictions related to system requirements (OS, database server).
- Low level of self-customization.
- Excessive functionality in a standard feature set (sometimes it becomes a disadvantage).
How to build your own CRM system?
If you decide to build a custom CRM platform, then we'd like to give you some useful tips.
Customer relationship management trends
As follows from the Forrester report, these trends include the following factors:
- Mobility. Unfortunately, today's CRM platforms are unable to fully meet the demand in mobile and optimized systems.
- SMM techniques. Content-oriented marketing is in trend everywhere in the world and in many areas, and, of course, customer resource management is no exception.
- Cloud technologies. Every successful management system is simply obliged to have fast and secure cloud functionality.
The rules of custom CRM application development
The project traditionally consists of such stages as:
- Analysis. At the first stage, specialists study your business and its internal processes. That outlines the range of tasks to be monitored using CRM.
- Making a list of requirements. Now it's time to describe all the features and other aspects of the system which may be required (including those which standard CRM configurations don't provide us with).
- Development, namely:
- writing code
- integration with all necessary services
- An expert approach to system introduction. It means you resort to qualified consultants who help you get comfortable with the new system and set it up.
- Audit and CRM support to evaluate your platform's performance and determine if you should add something else to improve the effectiveness.
We hope our CRM overview has been useful and instructive. We've done our best to clarify the issue at length and provide you with all the necessary information. And we believe now you're ready to integrate the CRM system. Moreover, you’ll choose the best platform which meets all your specific requirements.
Contact us if you want to get unique solutions developed for your business or qualified consultation. We'll help solve any problem you have regarding the creation of applications and websites.