Within the first few years, business owners don’t usually expect too many customers. So Excel, Google Sheets, or sticky notes may be sufficient for obtaining and managing client data. Yet as a business grows and reaches more customers, it becomes difficult to collect all the data. Therefore, companies start looking for a new scalable solution: a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Read on to understand how you can build your custom CRM software with five key steps. But before that, get familiar with CRM and its benefits:
What is CRM?
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a system software that regulates relationships between companies and clients. The ultimate question in every business is how to store and analyze customer’s data to provide them with the best services and drive significant revenue.
This is where CRM comes in. It uses information from different sources, including client’s website analytics, phone history, email services, and social media analytics tools. Analyzing this behavior can help with more efficient consumer interaction. Marketers, sales managers, support agents, and brand analytics use it to make informed decisions on marketing and sales strategies.
An example of the earliest CRM system is a simple Excel document. Managers used it to help gather customer data and put it in order. This method was inconvenient due to data hoarding and the burden of entering too many details manually. Nowadays, software such as Kohezion lets you build your CRM capable of handling marketing, sales, and customer service tasks by automating business processes.
Why You Should Opt for Custom CRM Software
Before executing a strategy, you need to understand how a custom CRM software can help your business in practice:
- It’s tailored to your needs: All industries are unique, and hence they have diverse demands. When you choose an existing CRM solution, you don’t get to meet your business needs to their fullest. It is because such CRMs put more focus on fulfilling the needs of a wider audience. They offer numerous features, and even if you need just one of them, you pay for everything else in the package. On the contrary, you can outline and implement custom CRM software to satisfy your specific requirements. The flexibility depends on selecting the processes that call for automation and granting access to departments to a particular set of information.
- Offers better security: Furthermore, CRM systems hold sensitive data, for example, customer contact information, details of different transactions, and reports. It’s crucial to make sure you maintain information confidentiality and security. This is where custom CRM software fits the bill.
- Allows specific integrations: Ready-made CRM software integrates with some popular social networking or email platforms. However, there is no guarantee that you can also work with your internal databases or custom online call systems. The more unusual tools your employees use to serve clients and record their data, the harder it is to find a solution.
- Fits your brand: A pre-built CRM software is a template. You can’t customize your UX and UI design as much as you want, and as a result, you can fail your HR branding. Most of your competitors probably use ready-made CRM software with the same features, algorithms, and designs. Hence, communication with your customers via emails and messages also may become a bit standardized.
Creating Your Custom CRM Software
So what are the main steps to build CRM software? Here we list five stages to follow if you are just at a start line to creating your CRM system:
- List your goals, requirements, and budget.
- Determine your desired features and technical specifications.
- Address UI/UX design.
- Conduct QA and testing.
- Launch and monitor the CRM software.
Goals, Requirements, and Budget
Before you start building a CRM system, you need to pass the preoperational stage. Find out how the company’s revenue should grow due to system implementation. What are you hoping to achieve with your custom CRM? Customer relation management software can solve various types of issues. You don’t necessarily need to have an all-inclusive hybrid. There are four types of this software:
- Operational CRM – This CRM type mainly deals with routine business tasks. It uses dashboards to overview all processes happening in a company and monitor individual client pages. You can see it in financial, healthcare, sports organizations, the retail industry, construction, real estate services, etc.
- Analytical CRM – Try this type if you’re wondering how to create CRM software that would provide you with insights on customers’ behavior. It relies on data gathering and analysis. The tools you use in analytical CRMs are charts, diagrams, dashboards, and reports.
- Collaborative CRM – This model enables a company’s marketing, sales, and service departments to share customer information freely with one another. Its goal is to improve customer experience and the company’s image.
- Strategic CRM focuses on building long-term customer relationships by acquiring information on a client who passes the sales funnel. Such data helps improve interaction with the consumers by making it more personalized.
Choosing the right CRM software type sets the foundation for good customer relationship management. However, you have to do much more to build upon it.
How much are you willing to spend on this new system? Custom CRMs don’t come cheap. The price tag can add up quickly if you want to include additional features. Have a firm understanding of your financial situation, and set an appropriate budget for your system.
Desired Features and Technical Specifications
Another vital step is determining features to include in your CRM. The goals we talked about in the previous step should guide you in this decision. Although some functionality is appropriate only for specific CRMs, some appear in nearly every CRM system. Below, we list some of the critical features of any CRM. You can choose those suitable for your case and make your features list.
This is the leading technical feature of a CRM system. It allows you to store essential data about your customers, such as names, email addresses, and social media profile links. This way, you can view personal data on the client’s location, transactions, history of communication with support managers in one place.
CRM Email Marketing
Levering CRM email marketing functionality can significantly improve lead acquisition, engagement, and conversion. This integration allows tracking communication with every customer. It’s beneficial if managers send many emails every day. CRM can perform mailing automatically and even send a sequence of emails. The system will forward them following the set parameters. For example, if a client opens the introduction email, they get the next letter from a chain.
This functionality allows integration with other document management systems. Use it to compose, manage, and share access to the documents among each company’s unit. You can set the system to register all records of working with files. This way, you’d be able to see who’s been working with a doc and look through the edits they made.
As far as reporting is concerned, sales analytics is one of the most valuable features of a CRM. It helps you collect data from social media, polls, and website traffic, then analyze it — all with the same software. You can make better decisions and target groups of customers likely to bring in the highest ROI.
Automating certain aspects of your sales process brings in more effective future campaigns. It can include outgoing calls, follow-up campaigns, and the organization of data. By automating these repetitive tasks, your workers can focus on more complex tasks.
The Pipeline View is a visual way to organize and manage your sales processes. With its help, you can see at what stage each lead is at the moment. It also lets you spot the stage of the funnel where you lose customers. All in all, it’s a prominent feature to keep track of what’s going on with your sales at any moment.
Your custom CRM’s interface and usability are the two fundamental factors. They set the bar for what you and your employees can get out of your system. You can bring in a third party to design your UX. It should be a qualified developer who can create a seamless user experience no matter how complex or straightforward your CRM needs to be.
Make sure that this custom CRM you’re building reflects your brand identity. You could use a ready CRM as a starting point, but ultimately, your design should fulfill your needs. You’ve completed this stage if you have a workflow scheme, a user interface elements library, a summary of functional processes, and a working prototype.
Conducting Tests and QA
Once you’ve programmed and built a system architecture, you should conduct QA and department-specific testing. This is to ensure that your new CRM is free from defects and bugs before your staff starts leveraging it.
Launching and Monitoring
Launching your custom CRM software will be a gradual process. You’ll spend half the time on database integration and another half to install the program on all devices. You will also have to teach your staff how to use the system.
Even though you’ve run tests and fixed some bugs, it’s when you truly start using the system that you’ll find pieces that have room for improvement. Keep in mind that your custom CRM is like any other virtual software — it’s going to go through various iterations and updates. If you continuously study user behavior and continue product iterations, you’ll be set in no time.
Any CRM software is designed to help a company draw new customers and retain existing ones. Usually, they work as a practical tool in all the stages of communication with clients. However, a ready-made CRM system doesn’t entirely fit into your business processes. It gives you no possibility to scale it, enlarge or even change something. By embracing customized development, you get to fabricate your CRM system that is tailored to your needs, offers better security, allows specific integrations, and fits your brand.
This article covered the necessary courses of action you need to take to build your CRM system. Here are the five key steps, in case you forgot:
- Listing your goals, requirements, and budget.
- Determining your desired features and technical specifications.
- Addressing UI/UX design.
- Conducting QA and testing.
- Launching and monitoring the CRM software.
You should find out what you are hoping to achieve with your custom CRM in the preoperational stage. You can start by choosing the right CRM software type: operational, analytical, collaborative, or strategic CRM. The next step is finding technical features that will best suit your business. Some of them may include contact management, email marketing, file sharing, sales analytics, sales force automation, or pipeline view. Certain functionality is appropriate only for specific CRMs, but some are in nearly every CRM system.
In the design stage, you need to obtain a workflow scheme, a user interface elements library, a summary of functional processes, and a working prototype. Before you launch the software, make sure to go through testing. It will ensure that your new CRM is free from defects and bugs.