If your business is planning to scale, a custom Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution will be imperative. In fact, it’s an important tool that’s used by all modern enterprises to keep records organized, available, and secure.
When it comes to CRM software, there are plenty of solutions. But when no two businesses are the same, how can the same CRM software serve the needs of the masses?
Turnkey solutions are designed to serve a variety of general business needs. However, when you start to customize it to meet your specific business demands, it can quickly get tricky and expensive.
For example, out-of-the-box CRM software will be packed with all sorts of features to cover everything you can possibly think of. This is because they need to cater to the needs of several industries, not just your business.
As turnkey solutions are also packed with multiple tools, you will also spend a lot of time training staff on how to use the ones that are needed by your company. A custom CRM solution will only contain those features that are necessary to achieve your business goals.
On the other hand, building your own custom CRM software can help you serve your brand across multiple levels. This means developing specific solutions with an in-depth understanding of the processes involved. It also means building a custom CRM system that can seamlessly integrate with emerging technologies.
So what do you need to know before developing robust custom CRM software? At Intersog, we are highly experienced in building custom CRM solutions. Here’s our take on it!
Different Types of CRM
Before you design and develop a custom CRM solution, it’s important to note that there are different types of CRM software. Here are the top three:
Analytical CRM can be leveraged to source a massive amount of data from multiple touch points and process it. In this scenario, the software will provide you with profound insights and analytics data.
The primary purpose of analytical CRM software is to help companies gain an in-depth understanding of internal and external processes. It’s also an excellent tool to engage in real-time data analytics to keep a close eye on your business operations.
Collaboration and communication are at the core of all CRM solutions. They are designed to enhance communication, teamwork, and overall productivity in a transparent data sharing environment.
Leading collaborative CRM software solutions have great tools like chat, shared boards, spaces for collective discussions, and more. These can also be used to share files and streamline workflows.
Operational CRM software is often used to streamline and automate workflows. It’s ideal for sales teams, customer service departments, and marketing.
If you want to customize a similar solution, you’ll have to add more features like lead and contract management, sales funnel, and more.
According to Andrew Brittain, Founder and Managing Director of Advantec and AC Brittain, “a CRM system is an important tool for building customer loyalty and encouraging retention. It will also keep your business competitive, but one common trap that can be fallen into by organizations is to see it as a standalone tactic, rather than developing it as a strategic function...”
If you want to be successful with your custom CRM software, you have to spend time developing your strategy. You should also consider your future requirements before committing to a solution.
Your CRM strategy should take a close look at all the business processes and practices across all levels. These include the following:
- Business Intelligence
- Customer service
- Inventory management
- Staff management
- Stock ordering
- Technical support
You also have to consider replacing legacy systems completely. At the same time, you have to figure out how you’re going to use new technologies to enhance customer connections. How will you use new channels for greater customer diversity?
Great custom CRM tools are built on the foundations of excellent strategy. This makes it a vital component of the whole custom CRM development cycle.
Improves Business Processes
If you want various departments to use CRM software, integration with available systems can quickly turn into a considerable challenge. More often than not, out-of-the-box solutions only have features that are designed for a specific purpose.
The same can’t be said for customized solutions because you get to decide which processes will be automated and who gets to use it.
When you work with custom CRM software, you get to benefit from smooth data transmission, rapid processing, and seamless sharing across departments. This approach will also help you save time and boost interdepartmental communication.
Improves Agility & Scalability
When you work on your strategy, you should also ask yourself if you want your CRM software to be a standalone platform or a core part of your business operations.
For example, if you wanted to use CRM as your core enterprise software, you can add additional applications to cater to the needs of different departments. As all of them will be working off a centralized database, you’ll also be well-placed to leverage data and analytics to improve operations and boost productivity.
With a turnkey solution, you’ll need the vendor to provide APIs for developers. This can quickly become expensive as you’ll have to pay for each user and for each additional application you add to it.
Top solutions like GoldMIne, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Salesforce all come with options, but you have to consider your available budget and resources before integrating applications to your CRM system.
When you’re working with a highly customized solution, you’re free to do whatever you like with it. You can scale it up or down based on present needs, change processes and features, and modify it as your business evolves. All this can be achieved cost-effectively.
Key Features of Custom CRM
While custom CRM software used by companies can be very different from one business to another, there are some essential features that they will have in common.
At its most basic, all custom CRM software solutions should be able to do the following:
- Edit calendars
- Generate simple reports
- Manage contacts
- Manage tasks
- Set reminders
Some niche features are as follows:
- Custom reports
- Email marketing
- File sharing
- Integration with social media
- Interaction tracking
- Mobile access
- Pipeline view
Some advanced CRM features are as follows:
- Call center management
- Integration with third-party applications
- Lead scoring
- Referral customers tracking
- Unity with other internal software
Building a robust CRM solution from scratch can have a significant impact on your bottom line. But to get this right, you have to invest a considerable amount of time understanding your business, internal operations, and your present and future goals.
You’ll also need to have a deep understanding of how technology can be deployed to improve business process, boost productivity, and enhance agility.