Choosing the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software for your business is an important decision that will have a huge impact on your clients and employees. One of the first decisions you will need to make when choosing a CRM system is whether you can meet all your needs with a commercial, off-the-shelf CRM tool or you require a customized CRM system.
There are many excellent CRM software vendors on the market, such as Salesforce, HubSpot and Highrise. However, you may find that none of these are a perfect fit for your business. That’s when you may want to consider a custom CRM solution.
When it comes to custom CRM software, there are three options available:
- A customizable CRM platform — these are commercial software applications that have built-in customization options.
- Independently building a custom add-on for a commercial CRM platform, such as a data import tool.
- Building a CRM platform completely from scratch.
Deciding which solution is right for your business will depend on your unique needs. You may find a commercial solution that meets all of your needs and just requires just a few simple customizations or add-ons, or to be integrated with your other business applications. You may find that there are no commercial solutions that come close to meeting your requirements and opt to build a custom CRM application from scratch.
Benefits of Using Customized CRM Applications:
- Better Fit: The most obvious benefit of customizing your CRM system is achieving the best possible fit for your business needs. Customizing also presents the opportunity to further automate your sales processes beyond what is offered by commercial software vendors.
- Integrations: In addition to merging easily with your existing sales channels, you can customize CRM software so that it integrates with other applications you may be using for your business. This can vastly decrease manual data entry, which saves both manpower and time.
- Simplicity: Pre-built CRM systems are designed to appeal to the majority of businesses. As a result, they may have many features you do not need and create unnecessary complexity and distraction. This often presents itself in the form of excessive data entry fields where staff may end up filling in more information than necessary simply because they are being asked for it. With a custom CRM software, this problem of excessive data entry can be avoided.
- Less Training: A custom CRM system is modeled after business practices that are already in place, making training simpler as employees are already familiar with the workflows.
- Avoiding Per-User Pricing: Most commercial CRM platforms are priced per user, which doesn’t make sense for many organizations. Some staff, such as salespersons, may require daily access, whereas others may only require occasional access. In such cases, per-user pricing isn’t an accurate reflection of usage.
- Scalability: When you build a custom software application, you can ensure that it evolves alongside your business to meet your needs in the future.As well, you don’t have to migrate from one platform to another should it no longer serve your needs or become outdated.
For early-stage start-ups, it is often better to select a commercial platform and customize it, as your business processes may be unrefined and subject to change. For businesses with clearly established workflows and unique needs, a completely custom CRM may be ideal. Whatever you choose, ensure that your data is backed up regularly and can be exported so that you don’t have all of your information tied up inside of one platform.