CRM plays a very important role in the life of every modern business. Customer relationship management basically improves the customer experience and makes the employee’s work easier. But how in particular does it achieve that and how to obtain such a piece of software?
Let’s start by explaining how pre-made and custom software is different and how it will affect your business performance. There are 2 main types of CRMs based on the way they can be obtained.
Custom and Pre-Built Programs
Custom software development is on the rise nowadays. And it’s only logical, as the program that was created exclusively for you and your needs will always perform better than a pre-made one. Such programs are always made with your requirements in mind and can include any features you ask for. As long as it’s practically possible to implement those, of course.
Today, there are hundreds of different custom software solution services on the market. All of them specialize in different spheres and specifics. Develux, who specialize in creating any custom software solution one may come up with, are especially skilled in developing CRM systems. That means you are 100% guaranteed to receive the system you have been dreaming of.
Of course, all that comes with a price, literally. Such exclusive systems usually cost a lot more than off-the-shelf ones and can take a few months to create. That doesn’t mean you should be worried about this too much, though. The benefits and especially the effectiveness of a custom built software solution always pay for themselves multiple times. Not even to mention the positive effect on customer experience.
Off-the-shelf CRMs are cheap and usually serve very generalized purposes. They have all the basic functions and features and provide a decent user experience. However, one shouldn’t expect such programs to suit all their needs perfectly. After all, they were made with large numbers of customers in mind, and will never be tuned precisely for one’s needs.
The biggest advantage of these systems is the price – it is pretty low. Also, they often come on a subscription basis, meaning that you can use the premade CRM as long as you pay for it every month. Keep in mind that while the lack of specific features is not that impactful for small businesses, large and mid-sized enterprises can suffer a lot from the lack of personalization.
What to Choose?
In most cases, experts recommend going with custom-developed CRMs. They have everything you need, and nothing more. That means that you only pay for what you will use, cutting away a huge load of potential expenses. Also, they are much easier to use and suit the needs perfectly, improving employee performance.
The biggest challenge here is that such CRMs can cost astronomical amounts of money and take months to be developed. Not every company can afford to pay even $5,000-10,000 for a customer relationship management system. And that’s why buying or purchasing a subscription for a pre-made CRM is still a viable option.
However, there’s still a workaround to get a perfect piece of software, without paying almost anything. Because you can always develop a program yourself, or inside your company. Sounds impossible, right? Well, creating software isn’t an easy process, but it’s certainly doable. So, read along to how to create a perfect CRM and make no mistakes.
How to Create a Custom CRM
Step 1: Analysis
Just like in any business process, everything starts with deep analysis and research. First of all, you must realize your requirements and circumstances. Ask yourself questions like these:
- What is the primary goal and function?
- What processes can be improved with the use of this program?
- How many employees will have to use it?
- How can it positively affect customer experience?
- What are the estimated workloads of the system?
- What platforms should it work on?
- Will it work with an internet connection only?
- What integrations will need to be implemented?
- How large is the customer base, and what information does it include?
- Who will have access to it, and do access levels need to be separated?
The list seems a bit intimidating, doesn’t it? And these are only the most basic ones. Keep in mind that the more time you dedicate to an analysis, the less time you’ll waste on fixing mistakes and making tough choices later. Because the more details you determine in the beginning, the easier it will be on each step.
Step 2: Design
This step includes not only design as in visual content, but also the placement of every feature and part of the program. You need to create an outline, a blueprint, of what later will become a CRM system. Start with the core functions and features, and add everything else based on their importance. The more impactful a feature is, the easier it should be accessed.
Also, don’t forget about the importance of visual appeal. Even if the program will only be used by employees, it should look good and have easy navigation. Why so? Well, the reason is obvious – it makes the CRM system much easier to use, therefore improving its efficiency. The less time a worker spends finding something inside the system, the less time a customer needs to spend waiting.
In addition, don’t forget to create access levels. Even if you trust everyone inside your company, it’s still best to separate the accessible information, at least for security reasons. It takes a little time but can play a very important role later.
Step 3: Develop and Test
Now that you know what your perfect CRM needs to have and how it will look like, it’s time to start developing it. By now, technical specifics like platform availability and the main programming language should be already determined. So, take the plan you designed and the list of your own requirements, and start coding.
Just like in the previous step, start with the foundation, and add each part of the code based on its priority. Don’t forget about integrations, too. Sometimes, integrating third-party API is the best way to achieve what you need in no time.
The main principle of effective software testing is to do it as much as you can. Wrote a huge pile of code? Test it. Added a new feature? Test it. Finished the whole system? Test it. The best approach is to test everything you can separately and then test it again together. Just know your limits, there’s no need to do it for every written line.
Step 4: Launch and Support
After the program is ready and you’re sure everything is working perfectly, it’s time to launch. The key to success here lies in constant monitoring and upgrading. There will always be some bugs and other issues, you can’t avoid that. Find the solutions for all the problems and implement them as soon as possible. Also, don’t forget to spot things that can be improved, and come up with new features.
Creating your own program was never easy, let alone developing a CRM system for your company. Yet, as you can see in this guide, it can be achieved with enough dedication. Just keep in mind that the more detailed the plan is, and the more things you research beforehand, the easier it will be to write the code itself. So, research everything carefully, outline your goals, and don’t forget to test every single part. Good luck!