Who Needs a Custom CRM and How to Build It From Scratch?
Picking the right CRM software is one of the most important business decisions you can make. To rent ready-made software or go for your own CRM development? Which option is better? Let's figure out this business enigma.
Custom CRM Software vs Generic CRM Software
The good news: the CRM market is worth about USD 44.64 billion. You can choose from plenty of generic CRM apps. This software offers wonderful options and tools. And come with various pricing plans, too. You can immediately jump on any CRM as a business optimization tool.
Now for the reality check: How much does the generic CRM know about your business needs? The chart below shows that SMB CRM users aren't quite happy with their current app. Generic CRM fails to cover crucial business aspects. Such pain points, such as efficiency and no system in place, prove it. Meanwhile, customization is a must-have. You need to tailor the app to your sales processes and workflow.
So renting a CRM and its customization makes you throw the expenses you really didn't need. And quite often, what you might consider a "good" deal is actually a not-good solution. While custom CRM development becomes a new thing that feels totally right.
Why is custom CRM better than the generic one? Because it provides features and integrations that meet your business needs. This CRM is neatly built to enhance data entry and access, sales processes, customer management, order flow, and other aspects. But the perks don't stop here. You plan your CRM design, too. So the employee learning curve can be drastically reduced, or even omitted. While the generic CRM requires time-consuming customization and team onboarding. That's easier said than done.
Let's go directly to the reasoning benefits of your own CRM development.
6 Reasons for Custom CRM Development
If your business keeps up with the times instead of staying ahead, it is high time for a change. Custom CRM is an attractive option due to these reasons.
The yikes: At first, it seems that the custom CRM development cost is much higher than renting a ready-made one. But the Statista forecast of the spend per employee shows that the price is going to rise from $22.81 in 2023 to $36.88 in 2028. In the US, at 91% of businesses 10 and more employees are using CRM. Looks like it would be pretty expensive within a year or two.
The fix: In reality, custom CRM can save you money. Obviously, the saved amount depends on the company size. Either way, it ranges from $1K-10K+ per month. That's one up closer to investing in CRM development.
Besides, with custom CRM development you don't need customization. So you don't pay for extra settings of the software which you've already paid for.
2 Business Processes
The yikes: Why create a custom CRM from scratch? Because the generic CRMs are focused on doing a couple of tasks well enough. They won't fit your business processes like a glove.
The fix: If your company has processes that require automation, then go to custom CRM development. This way you cover them completely. No ready-made app can boast about satisfying the buyer's needs, no matter what the industry or company size is.
3 Expect Scalability
The yikes: The ready-made CRM offers the standard business processes. But things go differently once your company gets more customers and products. Then you need to buy a more expensive plan. However, its functionalities may fall by the wayside in satisfying your needs.
The fix: In case you build your own CRM, things go in the reverse order. In the planning phase, you forecast your possible business growth. Then design the functionality to perform correspondingly with the larger workload.
4 Smart CRM Design
The yikes: CRM adoption and staff training has turned into a separate niche of services. 47% of companies have a CRM adoption rate of over 90%. So you may need to hire a certified professional to teach your team how to use the generic CRM.
The fix: In the custom CRM, you can create the user interface. So you make it follow the logic of the business processes your team already runs. The user onboarding will be less stressful. Plus, easy integration into the company's database.
The yikes: Your ready-made CRM may not include third-party integrations. You can
a) buy a more expensive plan,
b) hire a professional to write this integration, or
c) use a service like Zapier.
The fix: On the other side, with custom CRM development you can have the built-in integrations. That way you get exactly the needed business tools to enhance the process workflow.
The yikes: Don't overlook data security. With the generic CRM, your data security depends on the vendor heavily.
The fix: Due to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and other similar services, you can create and host your own CRM. So you care about your data security in-house or hire a partner agency for that. Today this is easy and affordable too.
How Many Types of CRMs Are Available?
How about looking at the major types of CRM software on the market? Here are the major ones.
Operational CRM apps enhance the performance of sales, marketing, and service departments. It provides a complete overview of the customer journey in your company. These features are presented either as standalone software or incorporated into a single solution.
- Sales automation facilitates contact creation and distributes leads between sales reps. Apps of this type deprive your team of manual data entry, automate follow-ups, trigger actions, and so on.
- Marketing automation handles campaign management, lead nurturing, and remarketing the prospects. The key advantage is the automation of campaign sequences and triggered action which takes off the manual work.
- Service automation provides the self-service, knowledge base, and FAQs section to your customers. The customer service chat support and call center are treated for granted. Yet this option is available if you have an operational CRM in place.
The reporting tool helps to see the performance, track KPIs, and spot the weak points. This type is favorable for any company that looks for performance streamlining.
Analytical CRM software analyzes information and suggests patterns. That is essential for business-decision making. It delivers reports on why customers buy (or don't buy). The app compiles the buyer persona and a targeted customer. Also, you get KPIs and profitable touchpoints tracked.
- Data warehousing collects, organizes, and stores all company data. You can also integrate other sources to complete or extend the existing records.
- Data mining analyses and generates reports of the provided data. It uses classification, association, and anomaly detection techniques.
- Online analytical processing (OLAP) represents the core of business analytics. It handles data discovery, complex calculations, predictive "what if" scenarios, and unlimited report viewing. The essential part of OLAP is forecasting capabilities: different scenarios for data-driven business decisions.
Collaborative CRMs store company data and share it with internal teams and external stakeholders.
- Channel management routes all communication channels you provide into a single place. It helps to interact with customers via the most suitable channel (email, phone, social media, messengers, and so on.)
- Interaction management shows all the channels and communication points your company has with a customer. This feature segments contacts, maps the customer journey, filters interaction touchpoints, and the like.
What Industries Can Benefit from CRM Development
The CRM market is never stuck in a state of suspended animation. Personalized experience with companies enjoy the customers of
- Highly regulated industries:
- Industries with specific workflows or moving parts:
- Travel and hospitality
- Professional services
- Consumer packaged goods
- Transportation and logistics
- Real Estate
- Industries that require people management and their items
- Sports and entertainment
Looks like a lot? But look at this list as an opportunity to grab. And here is why. Ideally, industry-specific CRM includes unique industry requirements and covers all processes and workflows.
In reality, these generic CRMs have limitations, too.
- a high pricing plan for being a specialized solution while the toolkit looks like any other CRM app
- polished industry-specific features, but the performance of other options could be better
- often crave flexibility and limited in user roles
How to Build Your Own CRM System?
Now you are armed with fundamentals, ask yourself a question: Where to start with creating your own CRM development? This cheat sheet will help you to define the starting point.
- Business analysis. View your company as what it is: a living entity run by real people offering real value. Identify the operational processes, workflows, and tasks you want to track in your custom CRM.
- Draw up the desired requirements. Define the type of CRM you need. Describe the features and options your business needs. This list will be useful during the discussion of development aspects.
- Find a CRM development company. At this step, you look for a development agency. Consider the outsourcing company as an option. Here is more about hiring outsource developers.
- Development stage. Once the software development contract details are agreed and discuss:
- technology stack
- time frames
- Test the performance of the custom CRM. Run all the processes and check up the features. The key aim is to track the inconsistency, weak spots, and features that could be also added.
What Are the Key Features of CRM Software?
Let's check out the SoftwareAdvice buyers guide for the top-requested CRM features.
Here is a list of primary features for you to consider.
- Contact management maintains, organizes, and groups valuable customer, clients, or partners data. Besides, you can sort the contacts by attributes. To name a few: location, industry, company size, and revenue.
- Track interactions. It manages all communication points with customers and gathers information in a single place. It's like keeping every aspect updated, filtered, monitored by managers, and shared across the company.
- Scheduling/reminders enhance task management. It helps to manage the chaos of appointments, meetings, calls, reports, and all the other activities connected with a CRM app.
- Pipeline/funnel monitoring is more about getting a dedicated dashboard. It updates regularly and filters data to specific parameters. You can make it accessible across the company or build role-based access.
- Sales automation handles the reach-out process for the sales reps. Pretty standard: calls, emails, live chats, or other communication channels. The other perk of this feature: the team performance management. Plus, it provides data for analysis and forecasting.
- The central database consolidates all your data: customer profiles, deals, orders, opportunities, interactions log, reports, and the like. To be efficient, this feature needs to be easily filtered, accessible and secured.
- Email marketing deals with email editor, auto-responses, and sending/tracking sent emails. Many businesses choose this option instead of marketing automation. Why? Email marketing costs less and shows better results.
- Customization is all about getting the CRM software flexible and scalable. It tailors generic processes to your needs and adapts the core functions.
- Reporting/analytics monitors campaign status, sales, and customer support performance. The data collected from different teams helps to:
- understand a targeted customer
- improve weak spots in individual and department performance
- aggregate data for decision-making and forecasting
- Integration improves business processes by connecting third-party apps. This way you avoid jumping between the software and reduce manual data entry or updates.
- Lead generation facilitates data entry of the potential customer. Then lead qualification and then move prospects through the sales pipeline.
Either way, those are the top-requested features. And in custom CRM development, you don't need to burn a pile of money on the features you hardly ever use. Just keep the focus on your business processes and customers while planning your CRM toolset.
How to Estimate the Custom CRM Development Cost?
The price of CRM development depends on a set of factors. Such as
- What type of CRM do you want to build?
- How many users will work with this CRM?
- What security do you expect to have?
- Give your preferences for CRM design and UI/UX logic and convenience.
- Think about the scalability of your business and the flexibility of your CRM application.
- What are the time frames of this custom CRM project?
- What is the developer team’s hourly rate? That impacts the final costs, too.
Apiko's Expertise: Pro.con Success Story
And here we want to share our CRM development experience. Pro.con is a German company that works in mobile communication. They hired the Apiko team to build B2B sales management software.
The story behind: Pro.con already had a website with a few functions. However, they wanted to scale the sales features and make the platform a highly functional B2B solution.
Work to do: Apiko team got the task to extend the functionality and maintain the software.
What we have done: After the refactoring of the web app, we migrated the database to MongoDB. Then transferred Pro.con data to a new app.
The next step was custom feature development: contract management, commission control, additional commission management, statistics, marketing automation, restricted access, call center, and dashboard.
Last but not least is the maintenance. The team ensures that the sales management app works like a Swiss watch.
Result: Satisfied customer. B2B sales management software for network operators and distributors. The experience we are proud to share.
ThinkNet case study
Inspired by the success of Pro.Con, the client entrusted Apiko with its new project: ThinkNet. It’s a CRM platform for SaaS administering which also includes tasks management and staff management modules.
The story behind and work to do
A magnet board with cards. Seeing how managing tasks manually gets overwhelming. A pure necessity to automate this process and boost its efficiency.
We received the requirements for primary SaaS functionality: tasks and staff management modules. The SaaS management platform was also to be developed from scratch to streamline the interactions with customers, and manage their subscriptions and payments.
What we have done
Having set all the software requirements clear, we
- Built task management and HR management system from scratch to keep track of projects’ progress, personnel schedules, and workload
- Developed a SaaS management module to store customers’ data, manage interactions with clients, monitor subscriptions tendencies, and come up with the most suitable software plans for the audience
- Built a payment system and enabled software reselling, introduced different SaaS packages and subscription plans
- Integrated ThinkNet with Stripe to process payments within the platform
A fully-functional system capable to
- Effortlessly keep track of and manage the clients’ SaaS subscriptions
- Streamline the workflow and track projects’ progress
- Monitor talents availability and timely fill in open vacancies
“Apiko helped to increase the company and product growth” Sven Kohrs, Product Owner of ThinkNet
Private jet booking app and CRM system
A successful boutique private jet company requested app modernization services to take their software performance and customer experience to a new level.
The story behind:
The client has already had a reservation management system for shared private jet flights. However, it was outdated and had a very limited scalability which could no longer satisfy the business needs. The legacy app modernization was required.
Work to do
Apiko team had to
- resolve the scalability issue
- enable adding and managing new private flight clubs and their members, flight routes, etc.
- create new app design to provide a truly pleasant and boutique user experience
What we have done
We rebuilt the web app with multi-tenant architecture to provide nearly limitless scalability.
Keeping its core features, we extended the app functionality with:
- reservations management features
- PDF boarding pass generation
- passenger, route, and flight management tools
- features for catering companies
A new mobile flight booking app was built from scratch.
The CRM system was customly tailored to match every peculiarity of the private jet company’s processes. It made flight reservations and management a simple, intuitive, and straightforward journey. Without the scalability limitations there no longer is a need for duplicating the apps for each of the private flight clubs, allowing managing them all in one place. The elegant app design together with proven technologies provide an impeccable user experience, perfectly resembling the boutique nature of offered services.
You don't need to shoe-horn your business into that or this generic CRM software. Custom CRM development is a cost-effective, flexible, and scalable opportunity. Adding functions to your business needs will streamline your company's performance.
Are you down to spend cash on something that maybe works? Go for it. But if you need custom CRM software, schedule a call with the Apiko team. We'll be happy to consult and help you with CRM development.