Unlocking Automation Excellence: Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf CRM Software

Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf CRM software
19 September, 2023 5 min to read

The intensifying competition across industries prompts businesses to better understand customer behavior and improve communication in order to lead from strength and build enduring customer loyalty.

That is why 91% of companies with more than 10 employees adopt CRM systems. CRM apps enable companies to technologically advance their workflows and get into customers’ heads and hearts, allowing organizations to provide better services and stay ahead in their industries.

Reasons to Develop Custom CRM

Problems Caused by Outdated Systems

The endeavor to adopt a new CRM solution faced setbacks due to unmet objectives attributed to the lack of contemporary technological advancements. Doubts surrounding the team's proficiency in effectively utilizing the software further complicated matters. Concerns about the reliability and safety of old systems, such as their susceptibility to ransomware, made it crucial to switch quickly. So, the need for a modern system that used current technology, especially to ensure it would work well with upcoming сustom solutions, arose.

Embracing a new CRM system comes with exciting opportunities. While the conversion process demands dedicated effort, it's a step towards enhanced efficiency and growth. As we embark on this journey, we'll temporarily shift our tech focus to ensure a seamless transition. To make the best choice, we'll explore three enticing avenues: crafting our own tailored system, partnering with expert custom developers, or collaborating with accomplished firms like Ergonized. This strategic decision holds the key to unlocking cost-effective solutions, leveraging specialized skills, and aligning with our overarching business vision.

pros and cons to adopt new CRM system

If you made it to this section and are still wondering, “Why do we need a CRM system?”, stick with us. We will give you some more reasons for creating a CRM from scratch.

But first, let’s go over the instances when you should put off hiring a company for custom CRM software development.
  • Your company won’t be able to maintain the custom CRM, update it, train employees, or provide support for your staff.
  • You are not ready to invest at least $50,000 into the CRM app development (that’s the initial cost, but it can be higher depending on the complexity of the software).
  • You want to reinvent the wheel and design a product that already exists.

Of course, all of these issues can be addressed. So, putting these scenarios aside, there are plenty of positive reasons to build your own CRM software.

When You Want CRM That Scales With Your Business

When an organization gets an off-the-shelf CRM, it is frequently packed with standard features that factor into its final price tag. Your team might make use of some of them, while others might be left aside. A bigger problem is that your employees might get confused with a complicated interface that will require additional investment in educating the staff. In this way, the company wastes resources and money on functionalities it doesn’t even need.

The greatest advantage of a custom CRM system is that you can pack it with the amount and types of features the team requires at this particular moment. In this way, the tool might stay simple and intuitive if your company’s reps don’t need many tools at the start. You can always upgrade the CRM with the modules or options essential for continual business growth later on.

When Your Team Needs Specific Integrations

Ready-made CRM solutions integrate with the most popular analytical tools, email services, and project management apps. But a custom solution may come into play if your employees work with a customized call system or database that can’t be connected to a standard CRM.

A custom CRM system can become a part of the corporate software ecosystem built with other custom solutions or apps that cannot be integrated with off-the-shelf CRMs.

When Your Employees Require a Unique Set of Features

Finding a CRM system to satisfy your business objectives completely might be challenging (or nearly impossible). Some apps might focus on operational processes while setting marketing or analytics aside.

Thankfully, a custom CRM is a remedy for this problem. Through close collaboration with skilled and experienced developers, your company will be able to get software with all the essential functions necessary for your employees to unleash their potential and create a deeper bond with customers.

How Long Does It Take to Make a CRM?

Of course, you do not want the custom CRM development process to take ages. In some cases, you don’t have to wait long, as the developers will deliver the product in a month or less. But in other cases, custom software development might take six months or even a year.

Why do the timeframes vary so much?

Because every custom digital product is unique, developers’ resources vary as well. With that in mind, let’s see what makes the most significant impact on the CRM delivery deadline:

  • How complex the app functionality should be;
  • How big and experienced the team is;
  • How organized and clean the data is;
  • How big your company is and how many users you want to add;
  • How many integrations you would like to set up;
  • How complicated the CRM automation is;
  • How much data do you want to migrate from the legacy CRM or database.

Here is the breakdown of the most popular CRM features and how long it takes to code them. You’ll also find the rough CRM development cost, along with the estimated time of accomplishment.

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    It should now be clear that the more complex your company wants the CRM to be, the more time developers will need to write and test the code. At Ergonized, we are backed by skilled and seasoned developers with years of CRM development experience under their belts, so we will minimize the app-building time by implementing the Ergonized CRM platform.

    What Should a Business Consider Before Putting a CRM Program in Place?

    Regardless of whether your employees already use a ready-made CRM or have never leveraged this digital product, implementing a new custom CRM solution might not be that easy. But certain things would ensure a smoother transition to a new platform for the whole organization.

    Navigating the CRM Search: Custom Build vs. Off-the-Shelf

    Considering our team of skilled in-house programmers to craft a custom CRM solution from the ground up holds enticing potential.

    In house CRM development pros and cons

    Ultimately, the choice hinges on whether to embrace a custom-built treasure or a pre-set gem. Your strategic decision not only shapes our CRM but also echoes across our business horizons.

    How a Custom CRM Fulfills Commercial Needs

    No matter how long you’ve been trying to dominate the market, if you have a business, it should have clear goals and market strategies. One or several objectives should be fulfilled by implementing a custom CRM. For example, you might want to automate workflows to cut expenses or reach more leads through new channels. Think of your goals and define which CRM features will help you achieve them.

    Allow enough time for the adoption of a new CRM

    Developing a CRM system is not easy. But the most challenging part begins when the time comes to implement it. Just understand that it takes time for any employee to get accustomed to new software. Full results will take time. User adoption is by far the hardest part of the whole CRM implementation process, but with patience, it will come.

    Think of the legal side as well

    There most likely are regulations in your industry you’ve got to adhere to in order to run a legitimate business. For instance, you won’t be able to collect specific data about your customers due to certain privacy policies. If there are such regulations developers should know about, you’ve got to mention them in the project documentation.

    Align with the team

    Your company has made a huge investment in implementing a custom CRM system, and you definitely do not want it to be wasted. That is why you’ve got to be certain every employee understands the whole idea of digitalization and will be able to make use of the new platform.

    So, first, get the team on board and explain the benefits of a custom CRM solution. Motivate them and emphasize that the company’s focus is on building relationships with leads and turning them into loyal brand fans, which is impossible without a strategy that can be carried out and tracked through a CRM platform. Also, you should make sure every team member is familiar with the app, how it works, and its capabilities. All in all, take care of onboarding training to increase the odds that all users will benefit from this new digital solution.

    Build a framework for measuring ROI

    First, look for the potential return on investment at the planning stage of the custom CRM solution. You’ve got to run the numbers to estimate the potential return, which is an essential step when considering the cost of a custom CRM. Define how soon and to what extent the CRM will benefit your company in terms of communication with customers. Of course, these would be rough estimates, but they will enable you to see whether it’s worth it.

    Then, carefully track the ROI once your company implements the CRM to understand whether the upgrade is succeeding or failing. To measure the success rate of adopting a custom CRM, you’ve got to establish a framework. It includes much more than the price tag for the custom-built CRM and revenue. Here are the basic things we recommend considering when defining the ROI of a custom CRM.

    CRM cost & NET gain of value

    The list can be as short or as long as you want, depending on what your organization considers critical for defining the ROI of a new CRM app.

    Take care of other app versions if needed

    Around 81% of CRM users operate the software on multiple devices. In the past few years, there has been a huge rise in mobile CRM apps as they enhance data availability for employees, resulting in better productivity and higher adoption rates.

    If a company's employees work at one desk from a single PC, it might not be critical to build a CRM that is responsive and compatible with other devices. But if your team works on the go or from different locations, a mobile CRM is a necessity. So, go over the functionality of both desktop and mobile versions with the vendor to ensure every user has equal access to the full suite of features, no matter the device.

    Clean and organize data before moving it to custom CRM

    Bad data is a time killer for numerous organizations. Many businesses do not care about proper documentation, which results in chaos in workflows and errors.

    If you are certain that your data is organized properly (it is accurate, free of misleading duplicates, and contains all the files), you can move the database to a new CRM. However, we still recommend auditing the information just to ensure you do not overload a new system with redundant or inaccurate data.

    For this purpose,

    • Locate where you store customer data and gather it in one place;
    • Organize the information according to specific criteria;
    • Prioritize customer-related data based on its value to the business;
    • Delete any duplicated or irrelevant data;
    • Add any missing pieces of information;
    • Create a unified system of data entry.

    Migrating clean and accurate data to the CRM will save you tons of time in the long run.

    Consider who will maintain the custom CRM

    There are several options when it comes to assigning the party to be responsible for maintaining and supporting your custom-made CRM:

    • Your local IT department;
    • The CRM developer;
    • Another third-party service provider.

    Either way, you’ve got to find someone in charge of running the database, maintaining the server, ensuring security, and supporting the staff in case any issues occur.

    Hiring CRM developers pros and cons

    What Should the Best Custom CRM Do?

    Customer satisfaction has become the measure of sales success. That’s what global customer growth and innovation expert Tiffani Bova tells Salesforce. She continues: “There are no sales pitches in the new Age of the Customer. Today, the name of the game is ‘customer experience,’ and the consumer is king.”

    So, a custom CRM platform should be responsive to market realities and provide the business with tools that can satisfy consumers throughout the entire customer journey.

    For this purpose, a CRM should become a multi-faceted solution that fosters productive lead interactions and measures data throughout the customer lifecycle. It should have a well-organized database that gathers, holds, and analyzes data about every client. A well-designed custom CRM also combines operational, analytical, collaborative, or strategic features, as well as sales, marketing, and customer care modules.

    Since we’ve already glimpsed four types of CRM, let’s also see what stands behind the three core modules of the app.

    Sales module

    A sales module is meant to boost the efficiency of the sales department by providing the tools they need to remain at the peak of their productivity. This may include everything from tracking the communication with leads over the phone, emails, and more to cold outreach options, demos, pipelines, and closing deals. This module also enables tracking hot leads and their behavior, which allows for making more educated decisions about the behavioral patterns of every individual customer, as well as the whole group. It is especially beneficial when sales agents are seeking to up-sell, down-sell, or cross-sell, depending on the situation.

    All in all, a sales module allows a company to build more meaningful sales strategies based on statistics and reports. Also, it helps sales reps make personalized offers based on the lead’s interests and interactions with the brand.

    Marketing module

    A marketing module automates, streamlines, and tracks every marketing effort and activity as you try to reach more leads through various channels.

    A CRM with an integrated marketing module will enable you to create, track, and analyze marketing campaigns across multiple channels, as well as plan and control budgets, manage workflows, centralize marketing materials, and track ROI. It might also carry out audience segmentation based on numerous criteria like location, preferences, and purchase history. With this module, you will also get real-time analytical data about marketing activities to inform the most lucrative and beneficial strategy for the business.

    Customer care module

    Since the level of customer satisfaction is heavily influenced by the quality of assistance they get from organization representatives, this module allows the business to provide potential and existing customers with seamless support. By aggregating tickets, phone calls, emails, chats, and other sources for easy retrieval, a CRM system with an in-built customer support module makes it easy for department members to solve issues and perform their duties.

    This custom CRM system might include a help desk, agent console, knowledge base, service analytics, and other features customer care reps will require to do their jobs.

    AI-powered CRM module

    AI-powered CRM systems have sparked remarkable interest in the market by revolutionizing customer interactions, automating tasks, and delivering data-driven insights. Here are some sought-after AI-driven CRM capabilities that hold immense appeal for business owners:

    1. Anticipate Customer Behavior: Leverage AI algorithms to decode historical data, foresee customer behavior like purchasing trends, and churn probabilities. This proactive approach empowers you to address customer needs effectively and make well-informed decisions.
    2. Prioritize Promising Leads: Harness AI's prowess to evaluate leads based on diverse criteria, such as demographics, engagement levels, and online behavior. This means your sales teams can focus their energy on high-potential leads, resulting in smoother conversions and increased sales rates.
    3. Unleash Personalized Marketing: AI scrutinizes customer data to craft tailor-made marketing messages, offers, and recommendations. Elevate customer engagement and loyalty by delivering experiences that resonate with individual preferences.
    4. Round-the-Clock Chat Assistance: Imagine AI-powered chatbots always at the ready, providing instant customer support, resolving queries, and guiding users through processes. These tireless assistants manage routine inquiries, freeing up your human agents for more complex tasks.
    5. Gauge Customer Sentiments: AI analyzes customer interactions across various channels to decode sentiments and emotional tones. With this insight, you can accurately measure customer satisfaction and promptly address potential issues.
    6. Tailor-Made Customer Segmentation: Leverage AI to categorize customers into segments based on shared traits, behaviors, and preferences. This strategic approach empowers you to fine-tune marketing strategies and product recommendations for each segment.
    7. Rapid Responses, Zero Hassle: Experience the efficiency of AI-driven responses to customer inquiries. Whether it's suggesting relevant email responses or providing real-time solutions, AI enhances your customer support experience.
    8. Adaptive Pricing Strategies: Let AI dynamically adjust product prices based on real-time market dynamics, competitor pricing, and customer trends. Witness optimized pricing strategies that drive maximum revenue.
    9. Elevate Sales Opportunities: AI evaluates customer purchase history and behavior to recommend complementary or upgraded products, driving additional sales opportunities.
    10. Future-Focused Sales Insights: Unlock AI's potential to forecast sales figures through data analysis, industry trends, and more. Doing so aids you in setting ambitious yet achievable goals and allocating resources strategically.
    11. Seize Insights from Conversations: AI-powered voice and speech recognition transcribe and analyze voice interactions, transforming them into actionable insights and follow-up tasks.
    12. Streamlined Operations: AI automates repetitive tasks such as data entry, appointment scheduling, and reminders, minimizing errors and boosting operational efficiency.
    13. Enhanced Customer Value Estimation: AI analyzes customer behavior to predict their potential value over their entire engagement with your brand. This valuable insight guides resource allocation and engagement strategies.
    14. Real-Time Social Pulse: AI monitors social media platforms for brand mentions, customer feedback, and trends, providing a pulse on public sentiment and facilitating swift responses.
    15. Intelligent Product Recommendations: Witness AI-driven recommendation engines suggesting products or content aligned with customer preferences, driving cross-sales and enhancing user experiences.
    16. Personalized Content Creation: Experience the magic of AI generating personalized content, such as email subject lines or product descriptions, effectively connecting with individual customers.

    These AI-powered CRM capabilities are poised to elevate your customer interactions, operational efficiency, and decision-making process. As AI technology evolves, these features will only grow more sophisticated, seamlessly integrating into your CRM system to fuel your business growth.

    Benefits of Building Your Own CRM

    • Perfect Harmony: Customization lets you design the CRM just the way your business needs it. No feature compromises, and no unused clutter.
    • Economical Evolution: Though an initial investment, a custom CRM can be more cost-effective in the long run, aligning perfectly with your growth.
    • Future-Ready Flexibility: The beauty of a bespoke CRM is its adaptability. You mold it as your business shifts, ensuring it remains relevant and efficient.
    • Tailored Excellence: Perfect Features for Your Unique Business.Craft a custom CRM that mirrors your business's individuality, creating effective communication and growth strategies tailored to your essence. Equip your software with the essential modules, boosting productivity and efficiency while avoiding unnecessary costs and staying ahead of the competition with personalized brand promotion strategies.
    • Empower with Control: Seamless Maintenance and Updates. Gain strategic control by managing your CRM's maintenance and updates. With an in-house system, you can swiftly fix bugs and introduce new features, ensuring your CRM evolves as your business grows, all while maximizing efficiency and agility in a dynamic business landscape.
    • Integrated Efficiency: Streamlined Operations for Your Team. Integrate your customer-related tools seamlessly, streamlining workflows and enhancing communication with prospects. By consolidating data from various sources into one hub, an in-house CRM reduces duplication risks and provides equal access, optimizing efficiency and data flow for your team.
    • User-Focused Design: Intuitive, Efficient, and Effective. Replace complexity with user-centric design. Avoid the challenges of training staff on off-the-shelf CRM platforms by custom-building software that aligns with your team's needs, resulting in a user-friendly solution that effortlessly realizes your company's aspirations.

    Pre-Packaged Dilemmas: Know When to Pause

    There are scenarios when custom CRM development might not be the immediate answer:

    • Resource Constraints: Maintenance, training, and support might be challenges your business isn't ready to tackle.
    • Budget Realities: A substantial initial investment might not align with your current financial landscape.
    • Reinventing the Wheel: If your needs can be met with existing solutions, investing in custom CRM might not be the wisest move.

    Embrace Customization for Growth

    Numerous pre-packaged CRM apps come with rich functionality, which might cover the company’s needs to a certain degree. But when an organization aims at scaling and building stronger relationships with its prospects, cookie-cutter software might not be enough.

    Sometimes, another problem might also occur, and your company might pay thousands of dollars for a CRM application packed with features your staff will never use. In this instance, you are wasting company resources that could have been invested in the organization’s growth.

    Custom CRM solutions help tackle these problems and more. Here are some of the ways custom CRM development can benefit a business.

    When your business craves a CRM that scales seamlessly, integrates flawlessly, and empowers your team, customization becomes your trump card.

    • Perfect Fit: Tailored features optimize productivity, catering to your specific needs while eliminating unnecessary distractions.
    • Control and Agility: Maintain and update the CRM at your pace, swiftly implementing changes as your business evolves.
    • Strategic Integrations: Custom CRM ensures your unique software ecosystem remains cohesive, connecting your tools seamlessly.
    • User-Centric Design: Employees adapt faster to a user-friendly, customized system, minimizing training efforts and increasing efficiency.

    Success Blueprint: What's Next?

    Once the custom CRM journey is set, consider the following vital aspects:

    • Team Alignment: Enlist the entire team's understanding and commitment to this transformative journey.
    • Data Purity: Cleanse and organize your data to ensure a seamless transition.
    • Maintenance Mastery: Define who will be in charge of maintaining and supporting your bespoke CRM.

    Elevate Your Business with Ergonized

    As you stand at this crossroads, remember that the choice isn't just about CRM; it's about sculpting the future of your business. By partnering with skilled developers like those at Ergonized, you secure a path that aligns your CRM with your dreams. It's a journey that reshapes your efficiency, amplifies your customer relationships, and propels you toward the pinnacle of business excellence. Your custom CRM isn't just a tool; it's the embodiment of your business's aspirations. Welcome to the future of CRM innovation.

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