Custom CRM Development: Cost and Benefits
In the past few years, custom CRM systems have gained large popularity. Many companies are using them successfully to increase both productivity and profit. However, most organizations are still only eyeing these solutions. Often, you don’t want to build your own CRM system because you are unwilling to waste money on something you can get with standard CRMs.
You may ask: if there are ready-made budget solutions, why develop a CRM from scratch? Many people know popular CRM system examples such as Salesforce, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics. Compared to them, custom CRM software pricing may seem unreasonably high. However, ready CRMs are not able to fully take into account the specifics of customer relationships and therefore are good only for small businesses. Note that the use of standard CRMs also implies expenses on support, improvement and configuration of the system, personnel training, and licenses.
The development of custom CRM solutions is a guarantee of adapting them to the peculiar needs of every medium and large business, ensuring the required level of sales.
If you want to learn how to build your own CRM, you are in the right place.
The Main Areas of Customer Relationships
A balanced CRM strategy does not only consist of a CRM software or application. It is a multi-layered pie that covers various aspects of customer service, both from the front and back office. Let’s talk about the main areas to pay attention to when developing a customer relationship management strategy.
Operational Custom CRM
Marketing, sales, and service are three processes that form a CRM circuit. Automating and optimizing these processes, establishing new communication channels with customers, and effective work with customer data are the main tasks of an operational CRM.
Analytical Custom CRM
The company owns an array of customer data. Directions and ways of monetizing the customer base are determined at the strategy level.
Customer Experience Management
Each interaction with the company should be effective and bring customers positive emotions.
Customer experience management involves not only improving the quality of service but also carefully composing scenarios for interacting with customers through any available channels, from advertising to visiting a post-warranty service.
Detecting early signs of outflow and responding adequately to the threat of customer loss requires diagnostics and active outflow prevention measures.
Customer Loyalty Management
This is not just about a loyalty program that offers bonuses and discounts. At the strategy level, a company needs an integrated approach that captures both rational and emotional dimensions of customer loyalty.
Targeted Customer Communications
Serving the right offer to the right customer at the right time is easier said than done. In this block of the strategy, you need to develop a model of interaction with customers using various communication channels.
All the areas described above should be linked to a single concept. For this purpose, it is important to follow the development methodology. The sequence of steps will depend on the type of organization, its level of experience and its tasks. Let’s talk about the basic elements that are relevant for any business.
Development of Custom CRM Software for Business Purposes
Any innovation needs to work like a clock, otherwise it is no use. You need to rationally approach CRM solutions so that they really function to benefit the company.
To achieve this goal, you will have to go through several stages. You will need to allocate time and involve your key employees, otherwise, you may have to add a lot of changes post-factum, spending additional funds that may be equal to the CRM system cost. To ensure that this does not happen, it is better to approach all stages responsibly and cooperate with the developers closely.
To build your own CRM, you need to decide what goals it must fulfill. Some companies are quite satisfied with a database with the simplest interface, while others set completely different tasks for it, like the automation of routine processes:
- sending letters with commercial offers, promotions, greeting clients on holidays and important dates;
- transferring information;
- constructing funnels;
- storing the history of communication with the company's clients;
- task calendar;
- integration with IP telephony;
- control of mutual settlements;
- automatic uploading of documents, etc.
One way or another, it will be necessary to collect the data that will subsequently be entered into the system and try to divide them into blocks. As a result, you will get a layout, and based on it you can develop software.
A CRM system can have as many fields as you want. This feature seems tempting to many, though it can overload the database with useless information. For this reason, you will need to meet your key employees and discuss the need for each field and tab. It will be necessary to analyze what types of reports need to be received and what purposes they will be used for.
During the discussion, you will probably end up discarding most of the fields, finding out that they will only interfere with the analysis. After all, a database that is too complicated is likely to trigger employees’ rejection of innovation.
Based on our team's experience, it is better to focus on a smaller number of fields, but make them as informative as possible. Afterwards, you can add additional functions, but only after testing. To reduce the time spent on drawing up the layout, you should decide on the functionality that the software will perform. The functions are often as follows:
- sales management;
- marketing management;
- customer service and call center management.
Mirroring Business Processes
The database should work for the company, not against it. So you better go for a simple interface that will be convenient for most employees and smoothly reflect the business processes and functions. For example, a CRM system can be customized to suit your own needs, and it will remind you of unfinished projects, upcoming events, and meetings. Also, a good solution would be to set up birthday reminders for large customers. To strengthen the relationship, it’s a good idea to send them small gifts or cards.
It is very important that a custom CRM is easily adjusted. After all, a business does not stand still, it constantly needs to develop and keep up with the latest global trends. For this reason, you need to be prepared to allocate a budget to update the modules and processes annually. At the first stage of introducing the innovation, you will have to test the system. You will most likely have to add blocks, reports, adjust the structure and interface.
This will all help to establish and, if necessary, automate most of the processes in your company. But most importantly, it will be possible to collect all data in one place and use it for the benefit of the business.
How Much Does CRM Cost?
How Much Does CRM Cost?
- initial analysis of the organization's business processes and building automated strategies;
- direct development of a CRM system (creation of architecture and design, writing program code, debugging, testing, documenting, etc.);
- installation of a CRM system and the appropriate programs and databases on a server;
- implementation of a CRM system with the installation of end programs on computers and smartphones of users with personnel training;
- audit and technical support for the finished product.
In our practice, the time it takes to create your own CRM of an advanced level is about 1000 hours. The CRM cost is calculated accordingly. It also depends on whether you want a mobile app developed in addition to desktop software.
These are the approximate estimations for custom CRM software development:
Our CRM Examples
Our portfolio includes CRM software of the initial and advanced levels, made for the needs of customers from different industries (travel company, taxi service, restaurant management, construction management company, etc.).
Let us quickly describe one of the CRM systems we developed - Tenafy. Our goal was to create a comprehensive solution to improve workflow at the company that manages several dozen properties in Hong Kong. Our task was to collect all the tools of daily management into a single complex. The project consisted of the following:
- Basic software design;
- Frontend/backend development;
- Cloud services;
- Connection of database;
- Modules, etc.
To implement the project, our team analyzed all the customer's working tools and identified a number of main components of business management, including:
- a tenant registration interface;
- a tenant accommodation support interface;
- Cloud services;
- a property and finance management interface.
For this custom CRM development project, we used a bunch of powerful frameworks, software tools, and technologies for a full-on management system development, namely the following:
- Design: Sketch, InVision;
- Frontend: typescript 2.5.3 : Angular 5.2.0;
- Backend: PHP (Symfony);
- Web server: Nginx;
- Database: MySQL 5.7;
- Frameworks: Symfony 3.4, Angular 2;
- External modules: DoctrineORM, FOSUser, FOSOAuth, AWS SDK;
- Cloud services: Amazon S3, Amazon Rout53, Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS;
- 3D-party implementations: Google Calendar sync.
As a result, our customer received a system that combines the powers of CRM, sales pipeline, property and room management, tracking of invoices and payments, and accounting capabilities. All this is accessed via convenient navigation to process contacts individually, group contacts, and keep all related data in check - all this and more in one solution.
Ultimately, Tenafy allows the client to avoid a huge number of human-factor mistakes due to its simple yet efficient interface, and streamline the fundamental business processes. The system has already enabled the client to support 10% more properties without the need to hire any additional staff, which means to us that the job was well done.
This is only one of the projects we have worked on. If you still have questions on how to build a CRM, our CRM experts will answer them, as well as provide approximate rates for the cost of CRM software for your particular needs. Just contact us with your project idea.