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Guide on How to Build Your Own CRM System: Features, Benefits, Cost

by Polina S. & JoinSoft Team
by Polina S. & JoinSoft Team
Technical writer
27 Jul 2020
Reading Time: 12 minutes

Have you ever wondered if there’s life beyond an off-the-shelf CRM?

Rapport with existing clients and prospects is important. You cannot afford to take random customer relationship management.

No doubt, the market has a wealth of solutions. What if we told you that building CRM software can offer a lot more than a classic tool can?

Are you a startup or a large corporation? In either case, CRM software cost might seem high at first sight. However, such custom-built tools usually bring some handsome ROIs.

In this post, we will guide you through a crm system development. You will learn how to streamline internal procedures at your company and enhance customer loyalty.

 

 

What is a CRM System?

 

Whether you want a light personal touch or plan to go all in, remember a few things.

A made-to-order instrument can be more than just software as a service.

When developed from scratch, this piece of software becomes a comprehensive all-in-one system. The tool helps different industries. Companies of all maturity levels can create an ecosystem tailored to their teams.

Think about this for a moment. Your biz is a generations-old insurance company. You badly need a fresh look into those plummeting KPIs.

Build your own crm to understand industry-specific dashboards better. You don’t want to disappoint your forefathers, do you?

A reliable all-encompassing instrument can help you automate heavy legacy systems turning them into agile cloud based tools.

Or, what if you are a medium-sized travel agency thinking how to survive post pandemic? You can benefit from an idea to build your own crm system, too. Even though your current CRM is enough to control simple reminders and treat each of your clients like a king, you’d like to keep that strong personal connection even when you have hundreds and thousands in your customer base.

In any case, your operations, team’s dynamics, internal processes, and business culture are unique and might not fit into a ready-made CRM.

 

This need for customization is universal across different domains including such verticals as:

  • Media
  • Hospitality
  • Healthcare
  • Retail
  • Financial services

 

Even as an NGO you will feel more comfortable with a third-party expert knowing how to build a crm to keep track of incoming donations and fundraising campaigns.

 

 

Who will Use a CRM in your Team?

 

There are a number of stakeholders that require a robust system to integrate data with tasks and finetune customer relationship management. However, these categories of users are likely to use the tool the most.

 

Who will use a CRM in your Tesm

 

  • Sales. We are not saying you need to develop CRM for your commercial department exclusively. However, these folks are at the forefront so they employ the tool most frequently. For commercial teams it’s vital to use customers’ data and enter prospects’ information, do data clean-up when necessary, and take care of multiple notifications.

 

  • Marketing. Marketers do a lot of heavy lifting for accounting teams to have invoicing to handle. They create personalized content and reuse successful lessons learnt. One of the most startling tasks for these experts, however, is to search through noisy data.They really need to target the right audience and monitor customers’ behaviors and preferences.If a marketer can be a few steps ahead of a customer and predict what his next choice will be, revenue might soar. Thus, segmentation by not only demographics but also some advanced parameters might be another perk of a custom-made software.

 

  • Customer support. If this unit does a poor job, you can forget about customer retention and all those leads sales and marketing worked so hard to close.
    On the contrary, an unsatisfied client whose complaint was addressed in a timely manner will become a loyal consumer and might spread a word about your firm’s excellence.To meet such service expectations, your support function should have a reliable system at hand.The initial crm system cost manifests in better requests and complaints handling, efficient communication with existing clients as well as larger customer base.

 

 

Benefits of Building a CRM System

 

Think about this for a moment: businesses using CRM software claim they managed to grow sales, boost relations with customers, lower labor costs, and improve productivity.

 

ROI benefits experienced by businesses using CRM systems

 

 

Want to know about the reasons why to create your own software? Then read on to find out what you get as the end result.

 

  • Highly-customizable tool adjusted to your business processes

When you are creating an application from scratch you won’t have to deal with redundant functionality. The features that you pay for but your associates don’t use will be there in a ready-made system.

Custom-tailored CRMs will have workflows specific to your niche, lead management tuned to your requirements, and dashboards that will really make a difference.

 

  • Efficient cross-departmental collaboration due to customization

That’s another perk you get when you decide to build a new tool that can integrate sales, marketing and customer support modules.

Effective involvement of associates across different departments will guarantee everyone is on the same page and reacts promptly to any alerts and concerns.

 

  • A system easily integrated with any third-party program

Hubspot reports that top 5 key integragrations for CRM are email, calendar, connector, social media and prospecting software. Why sacrifice these opportunities and choose a ready-made system that might limit your options?

The main challenge could be connecting a pre-built CRM with other internal customized tools especially old legacy systems and external services.Therefore, a made-to-order tool is a good alternative to consider.

 

  • Higher level of security

CRM software cost won’t matter much if in the end you get a reliable, extremely flexible tool that meets your security requirements. By adjusting security settings, you can choose certain levels of access to keep hackers at bay and mitigate any leaks of sensitive data.

Configuring a custom-built CRM according to your organizational chart, assigning different roles, and granting security privileges accordingly becomes easy if your vendor knows ins and outs of this type of software and has a proven track record of similar projects.

 

  • Scale at any time and on budget

CRM can operate as a standalone tool or become a foundation of a company’s software. And you know what? You can even develop extra programs for different business units if your contractor knows how to create a crm database and use it extensively.

The problem is pre-packaged CRM tools do not offer that much agility and you will probably have to pay more once new users come on board or another program appears and needs to be added on top of existing ones.

 

  • Advanced customer analytics

Clear insights help businesses identify opportunities and seal new deals. Therefore, your company can better understand customers’ decision-making process and decide what spurs customer loyalty.

Unlike pre-build software, a custom-made tool suggests what appeals to your target audience and how to approach a prospect to earn his trust. Optimization of customer engagement is easier if your team has a 360-degree view of relevant KPIs.

 

 

Types of CRM Software

 

Depending on what goal you want to achieve, you can look into a few different types and pick the most appropriate one. We consider two parameters for our classification:

 

Installation type

 

 

On-premise

It will work for businesses that deal with sensitive personal information. These could be financial brokers, insurance companies or healthcare providers, for example. Such systems require a vendor that knows how to create a crm database and maintain an appropriate security level to keep that data safe.

 

Cloud based

This alternative is for businesses that prefer to use web-based applications on subscription basis. Compared to on-premise CRMs’ features, cloud CRMs are pocket-friendly and they collect and store customer data on 3rd party servers. As a business owner, you don’t have to cover individual licenses for multiple devices.

 

 

Functionality type

 

Analytical

This CRM gathers and analyzes loads of customer data to help decision-makers sign off on different options at hand. The key task of this intelligent tool is to help sales and marketing look at multiple sources including case studies downloads or questionnaires to create prospects personas.

 

Operational

These systems assist companies with daily tasks. An operational CRM system helps businesses keep track of a smooth customer experience. This kind of software gathers customer interactions, company’s processes, and support efforts under one roof.

 

Collaborative

Or strategic CRMs help business streamline communication between different team members. Task allocation, progress monitoring and control, sharing customer-specific data across units are among the capabilities of collaborative CRM that emphasizes the CX component.

 

 

7 Must-have features of CRM System

 

Of course, you can have a feature-packed CRM at Oh là là cost. But what are the essential functions each CRM needs to have? Keep reading to learn what core features are worth paying for.

 

Must-have features of CRM Software

 

 

Contact management

Basically, these are your customer and prospect personal data that includes their names, zip codes, and social media profiles that are easy to find in a database.

 

Reports generation

Pivotal for sales, this feature includes creation of a standard opportunity pipeline, campaign performance, lost deals, and lead source reports among others.

 

Customer interaction tracker

Monitoring of interaction history and file dialogues with certain contacts is a must. As a prospect moves up a sales pipeline, all team members can cooperate more effectively with history at hand.

 

Lead acquisition and management

Turning leads into real clients, assigning scores to qualified prospects have to be in any CRM. At the end of the day, this is what constitutes any sales pipeline transformation and change.

 

Integration of email system

Whether Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook, a good CRM can manage, cluster contacts, and account for internal collaboration among company’s associates as well.

 

Documentation management

One single location to collect and keep all the customer or prospect-related attachments allows any team member to access useful insights at any time especially if you have distributed squads.

 

Automation of workflows

Another core task of a CRM is to automate routine tasks and build workflows that prompt actions or send reminders for next steps. This helps a team to concentrate on other, more important tasks.

 

 

CRM System Pre-development

 

As in any other process, planning is crucial. Before starting a project, bear in mind a few important things.

 

Decide on required features

Ask yourself and involved team members about the problems you want to solve. The more specific you lay out your requirements, the better your vendor will understand your process webs.

 

Define clear roles

Think of the functional units that will use this program. Depending on who you are building crm software for, access and security levels will vary so will its functionalities.

 

Consider legal limitations

GDPR, MiFID II or CRM2 (for Canada) are just a few privacy regulations to account for when planning a project. If your firm does business in a highly-regulated industry, you’d better ensure you have software with all the legal compliance automated.

 

 

Guide on How to Build Your Own CRM System: Features, Benefits, Cost

 

As any project, an endeavor with a tailor-made CRM will have a starting point and an end. We will walk you through the whole process and explain every stage.

 

Guide on How to build your custom CRM

 

 

1. Gathering requirements

At this point an account manager will be your point of contact. He, along with his colleagues, will interview your team members and try to understand their needs. Later, engineers working on your project will follow those initial requirements specific to your organizational needs.

 

2. Specifications analysis

Then, a business analyst will step in to analyze initial information and produce estimates along with developers. At this stage, requirements mapping and prototypes discussion happen. A team of developers conclude what challenges exist and ways new software can improve business processes.

 

3. Designing and prototyping

Stakeholders on your side will see and discuss the first wire frames, express their likes and dislikes so the development team can move forward and polish initial designs. Once there is a final design everyone at your company agrees on, a vendor will proceed further.

 

4. Testing

The most effort-heavy part of a project is creation of a system. This is when engineers and software developers work hand-in-hand along with a project manager.

Beyond that, a quality assurance team comes on board when a certain part of a system is ready for testing.

Depending on a project, a vendor’s team would schedule demo sessions to obtain your feedback.

 

5. Product launch & monitoring

This is when you will finally get a chance to use a brand-new tool with the features you asked for. Onboarding sessions usually happen so that your associates learn how to use a new piece of software and ask questions if any.

 

 

How to Estimate the Cost of CRM System Development

 

The exact crm system cost is a matter of individual request for quotation, which will be based on your requirements. However, there are tentative estimates to give you an idea of a workload and cost of billable hours required to build a standard 3-component CRM anew.

 

How to Estimate the Cost of Custom CRM Development

 

 

A final cost of a CRM depends on the features you want to have. Usually, a CRM can cost anything between $40-300K. If you look at this breakdown and consider the costs split, you can expect that:

Business analytics will amount to $4-30K.

UI/UX and project management will take $6-45K each.

Finally, development and QA, of course, would account for the most of the budget and constitute $24-180K.

 

One more thing to remember: the price for CRM might vary depending on location you choose to outsource your project to. For instance, you can find subject-matter experts with years of experience in Eastern Europe for $40-50 an hour. JoinSoft  has developers within this payscale, too.

As for the time required to develop crm systems including the following components, plan for:

 

Sales component

  • 3 months: Accounts, Opportunities, Leads, Pipelines, Contacts, Tasks, Dashboard
  • 2 month: Sales Analytics
  • 2 months: Sales Planning and Forecasting

Total for sales component: 7 months.

 

Marketing component

  • 4 months: Marketing Campaign Management
  • 2 months: Customer Segmentation
  • 3 months: Marketing Analytics

Total for marketing component: 9 months.

 

Support component

  • 2 months: Help Desk & Agent Console
  • 1 months: Knowledge Base
  • 2 months: Service Analytics

Total for support component: 5 months.

 

 

How to Find a Reliable Remote Team for your CRM Creation?

 

If, after careful consideration, you decided to outsource and find a reputable contractor.

Once you have done primary research and searched the web or asked fellow entrepreneurs, read through reviews and checked their pricing, it’s time to send a request for proposal.

How do you pick the one among all the companies getting back to you?

 

Ask for details

There will be lots of details a vendor won’t disclose because of an NDA, but you can always ask questions – they are free. Use this opportunity to see if you are on the same page. Ask your potential tech partner about past projects, discuss the scope of work for your own endeavor, and inquire which of your business flows he thinks he can improve.

 

Check if they have a blog

If a company is active, they post regularly. Oftentimes, you will find articles about their core competencies which can be CRM among others.

 

Consider location

Do you want to find a contractor in the same time zone? Or, perhaps, you care more about keeping your project budget as low as possible?

Eastern Europe, for example, is known for skilled engineers; rates here are much lower than in North America. Of course, you can find a developer right on the spot – in the USA at $130 per hour, but a programmer offshore with the same skill set won’t cost that much. This will result in better margins for your company.

 

Discover types of collaboration

It’s important to see eye to eye with your future tech partner who will help you with the tech part of your project.

JoinSoft offers a dedicated team so you won’t have to share resources with other clients your vendor has. That’s a relief – no delays because a team member gets stuck with another project while yours is on hold. Such things are important to negotiate before starting a project.

 

Ask about business domains

Does a contractor have projects in your industry? No doubt, it would be better to work with subject-matter experts rather than entrusting a new software creation to Jack of all trades.

 

Takeaway

If you decide to venture on a journey through crm system software development, it is better to find a third-party contractor who’d know inside out the type of product you need.

At JoinSoft, we have worked across multiple industries and built high-quality products that helped our clients excel.

We know how to help your business. Do not hesitate to reach out for details.

 

 

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