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November 4, 2022

How to Build a Custom CRM: The Complete Guide

Customer relationships are essential to the success of any business, and the management of those relationships via software can make everything easier. With the help of this article, you'll see what it takes to create a custom CRM.

Mitya Smusin

Chief Executive Officer

In the world of marketing and sales, good customer relationships are absolutely necessary. Customer service is critical not only for your sales team but for everyone involved in direct communication with clients. That's why a good customer relationship management (CRM) system is a must for your business. However, if you want to build a custom CRM system, you should know some parts of the development process beforehand.

This article explores the dynamics of CRM system creation. It outlines the steps toward completion and estimates the amount of effort you'll need to put in.

What is custom CRM software?

Let’s begin with the definition of a CRM itself. Usually, people associate customer relationship management with a document or a database that contains the contacts and is available for sales and marketing teams. This is a way CRM functioned at the beginning, but now the definition is way broader and more meaningful.

A modern CRM system facilitates a holistic approach to sales, marketing, and business development. This software isn’t limited only to communicating with existing and potential clients but includes all processes connected with satisfying the customer. It works with multiple channels like phone numbers, messengers, social media, and website analytics. Moreover, CRM software helps you organize the internal company processes.

A range of CRM software types

All CRMs have the same main goal and perform similar functions, but each of them will focus on a particular feature. Depending on that focus, we can divide CRMs into four types: strategic, operational, collaborative, and analytical.

Types of CRM software
  • Strategic CRM

Strategic CRM is ideal for the business operation that emphasizes long-term relationships. Such a solution lets you stick to the customer-oriented culture and use a personalized approach. Its main purpose is to collect the necessary information about customers who go through the sales funnel so that your specialists can tailor the strategy to fulfill the needs of those clients.

  • Operational CRM

The operational CRM streamlines your team's more routine tasks by automating the processes of your sales, marketing, and customer support departments. It has a dashboard where you can see all running processes and monitor the pages of individual clients.

  • Collaborative CRM

If you want to enhance communication among the departments within your company, choose a collaborative CRM. It facilitates clear, transparent data sharing among teams and upgrades the overall quality of service.

  • Analytical CRM

An analytical CRM gathers the data about your customers, processes it, and helps you understand your target audience better. This software provides you with insights into the customers’ behavioral patterns so you can come up with an informed decision about your marketing campaigns and customer service flow.

Departments to boost with a custom CRM system

A well-organized CRM system has a variety of features that can be used by virtually any department within your company. However, the departments to reap the most benefits from custom CRM systems are marketing, sales, and customer support. Here is what you can do to help these teams streamline their processes and improve efficiency.

Departments to upgrade with CRM system

Marketing

A CRM solution that focuses on marketers is managed to help them plan, create, and monitor marketing campaigns, analyze their results, and adjust the overall strategy based on the received insights. Also, a CRM system will automate the routine marketing processes, allowing your team to focus on greater tasks.

The most useful CRM modules for marketers will include:

  • Promotion and marketing campaign management. As we already said, it will be the center of a marketing-focused CRM. Users should be able to start campaigns for different marketing channels, assign tasks to other team members, launch search and social media ads, send notifications to existing customers, track the ROI, and analyze the overall campaign performance. They should also be able to see what customers responded to their campaigns and organize communication with them.

  • Customer segmentation. Seeing which customers were acquired by marketing is not enough. Now, your team should be able to segment the audience according to multiple factors. They can include demographic insights (like age, gender, education level, and hobbies) and buying insights (factors influencing their buying decisions, pain points, their image of success, etc.). Analyzing these factors, marketing specialists will be able to upgrade your business’ buyer persona and personalize their approach. 

  • Marketing and business analytics. Speaking about analytics, your marketing team should be able to see the real-time results of each campaign separately and the overall marketing strategy. It will help them present their results to you and make changes to the campaigns if necessary.

Sales

When we talk about a customer relationship management system for sales, this solution should contain detailed information about all existing and potential customers. And when we say “detailed,” we mean it: From the very first communication with the lead to further sales calls, demos, chats, emails, and deal closing, everything should be mentioned. It will help your department organize the data and automate repetitive tasks.

Here are more essential modules for your sales CRM software:

  • Account management. This part basically covers what we have just mentioned. If you want your sales team to convert leads into customers and customers into supporters, they need to know about your clients as much as possible. Sales managers should be able to create a customer card and edit the customer information. A good addition to this would be automatic account management—where the system fills out the most important customer data fields by itself.

  • Sales analytics. Just as marketers, your sales department should be able to analyze their work and adjust their strategy accordingly. Good analytics tools will help them visualize the data they have and derive valuable insight from it. Also, it will be useful to implement customization capabilities for graphs and charts.

  • Sales planning. It will allow you to set certain sales goals and enable task management. 

Customer support

It’s quite clear that your customer support department will benefit from a customer relationship management system. It will work the same way as for the sales department: All communication between your support agents and clients should be recorded and added to the CRM.

More modules to consider:

  • Agent console. It’s a simple and fast interface that will allow your support agents to see customers’ requests, prioritize them, assign to a different agent if necessary, and eventually resolve them. It’s possible to apply automation here and build an automatic ticket assignment.

  • Knowledge base. Basically, it’s an organized database that contains everything your customer support needs to help the clients, from customer data to technical information. Without it, every agent will have to repeat the set of actions anew to find an answer each time a different customer asks the same question as previous ones.

  • Service analytics. And again, analytics rules. Besides storing customer requests, your own CRM should provide your team with the necessary tools to analyze them. The results of such analytics play a great role in improving your customer support department as well as your product or service as a whole.

Reasons to build your CRM software

The market already offers several out-of-the-box solutions like HubSpot and Zoho for businesses that want to implement a CRM system into their flow. However, using a ready-made solution can be not that efficient. Here are the reasons why you may need a custom CRM instead of a prepackaged one.

Reasons to build custom CRM
  • Cost-efficiency

A pre-made CRM system usually has a vast range of functions. It’s done to address the most possible amount of potential needs a client may have, but it doesn’t mean you need all of it at the same time. Also, there is a chance that some functions you need won’t be available on a free plan, but a paid plan will include too many useless features.

  • Smooth integration

When you choose to adopt a pre-built CRM, your team will have to spend time getting used to it and adjusting it to your particular goals. Instead, you can just create an application that will be tailored to the needs of your departments. Moreover, the members of the relevant departments can take part in the development so the CRM will be as convenient for them as possible.

  • Scalability

A custom CRM system has all chances to become the foundation for your own corporate software ecosystems. Starting from this solution, you can develop new applications for each department and connect them to create a huge net connecting every member of your team. You can add chat, task manager, and calling features to your CRM so that the ecosystem can evolve.

CRM stats to consider

To prove the benefits of building your own CRM software, we have collected the most notable stats about CRM systems usage. Also, these numbers will give you a clearer understanding of the market if you plan on expanding your solution beyond your company.

CRM Stats for Sales
Source: HubSpot

Things to consider before CRM development starts

The development of your own CRM system is a beneficial option for your business. When you have made the decision, it’s time to start preparations. There are several points to consider before you begin the process.

CRM Development Challenges
  • Determine your goal: Every decision you make—including the decision to build a CRM—should be directed toward the success of your business on the financial, logistical, and employee-management levels. Accordingly, you'll need to ask and answer the "why" question that correlates with your business needs. For example, some typical reasons for the creation of a custom CRM system include an increase in sales, improvement of customer service, or the acquisition of a new audience segment.

  • Legal requirements: Depending on your niche, there can be regulations that limit your ability to collect personal data. You should learn about them and adapt your solution accordingly.

  • Prepare the quality metrics: Your development team will need a clear vision of what it should achieve. To do so, you'll set certain requirements beforehand, such as the desired load speed, security level, or necessary integrations.

  • Define Software Requirements Specifications (SRS): Before you build any custom CRM software, you should analyze the activity of your team and understand their most typical tasks. This information will help you decide what functions to add and build the most suitable CRM for your employees.

  • Include CRM roles: When you know what functions to add, think about dividing them into user roles. It will optimize the work of all departments so customer relations will be perfect.

Now, when we are almost done with preparatory tasks, let’s take a look at the possible list of features for your CRM solution. 

CRM must-have features

It’s clear that for a custom CRM, the feature list will be tailored to your team’s needs. However, most CRMs have several most typical functions that will be useful for every specialist involved in custom relationships.

CRM features list

✔️ Contact information management

The necessary customer-related data can include customers’ names, phone numbers, emails, location, and the history of activity. All the information should be stored in one place and in a convenient form so everyone will easily navigate around it.

✔️ Interaction management

CRM systems should save the history of interaction between you and the client. It should provide a list of the channels that clients use for communication, and optimally it will be equipped with tools for the management of accounts and payments.

✔️ Data management

You can build several tools that will help you and your specialists organize the relevant data. The easiest way to do so is to implement searching and document creation, including tables and product descriptions.

✔️ Pipeline view

This feature lets your team see the whole sales funnel at once. They can filter the clients and leads by different funnel stages and personalize filters for better navigation. Also, you can organize not one but multiple pipelines for different lead sources, locations, products, and services. Labels and tags will be helpful, too.

✔️ Analytics 

Your team will need a sufficient pool of instruments for the analysis of customer behavior. The analytics can be visualized as charts, diagrams, and tables, so of course, your CRM should be able to generate them. 

Advanced CRM features

Certainly, the features mentioned above are important, but with a larger feature set, you can implement functions that will drive your marketing and sales processes.

Advanced CRM features

Employee management

CRM can also be used to automate routine activities. For example, it can have a calendar, task tracking, employee records, and company corporate rules. It will help your team stay on the same page and stick to your overall vision.

Call-center management

If your company has a huge amount of ingoing and outgoing calls, this function will be a must-have part of your CRM. The customer service agents will be able to make calls directly from the system and collect the necessary data immediately.

Sales forecasting

Abundant data about your leads, clients, and sales can help you forecast results. In the process, you can set goals for your team and understand whether the amount of resources you spend is justified.

Chatbots

The chatbot is a smart way to automate routine tasks, such as answering questions, onboarding new employees, and setting reminders.

How to create your own CRM system step-by-step 

We know what to implement, we know why to implement it, now it’s time to answer how to do it. Different companies and agencies can have different approaches to CRM development. Moreover, depending on the type of CRM you need, the strategy can be changed. At Yellow, we offer the following steps:

How to build a CRM software

1. Prepare the requirements

This step includes everything you need to complete before you set forth toward development. This stage is important because it will establish the necessary goals and help you understand the concept of the product.

2. Hire the right service provider

This step may not be relevant to you if your company already has the necessary specialists to complete the task. However, your team might lack the relevant experience. You might even have no in-house development capability. In such a case, you can hire a software development company. Pay attention to the company's location, hourly rate, corporate policy, and reviews from previous clients. If everything suits you, feel free to get started.

3. Design and develop

Once the team understands your requirements and offers the solutions to get them done, you'll be ready for development. It begins with the design of your CRM as a user-friendly, understandable system that your staff will be comfortable using. The tools for design and development will be discussed later in this article.

4. Test

The testing stage will make sure that your employees will receive a functional solution that definitely addresses their needs. We can apply both manual and automated testing so your solution will be checked from all sides.

5. Launch and support

Congratulations! The CRM has been launched and your specialists are using it. Thus begins the next phase in the process, where you'll collect feedback and fix any bugs that have been found in the software. The employees can detect bugs that tests haven't uncovered, and they may even offer some effective refinements. By adjusting the CRM to what your team wants, you'll optimize the customer-relationship process and polish your solution.

CRM software requirements and tech stack

The configuration of a tech stack for your CRM system should be driven by your business needs. So, it should accommodate your legacy software. For example, if your company uses Windows on laptops, your new tech stack should reflect the fact. This isn't the time or place to implement a stack designed for use with macOS.

Some of the most popular tools, however, can fit any platform. That's particularly true if your goal is to create a web solution. Such tools include:

  • Back end: Python, Java, Node.js

  • Front end: JavaScript, React, Angular

Also, you can think about making a mobile solution. It will be a great addition to a web solution since the accessibility of your CRM will increase. To complete these tasks, you can use tools like:

  • Android: Java, Kotlin

  • iOS: Swift

  • Cross-platform: React.js, Flutter

How much does it cost to build a CRM system?

The software development costs depend on a lot of factors. You should take into account the team’s hourly rate and location, the project’s specifications, and the list of desired features. However, it’s possible to estimate the approximate custom CRM development cost and see how much you can probably spend on it. Here is the average team for the above-mentioned set of features:

  • Project manager

  • Business analyst

  • UI/UX designer

  • Frontend engineer

  • Backend engineer

  • QA engineer

CRM Illustration

If we consider an average hourly rate of $40, the total cost will be approximately $45,000. Depending on your company’s size and requirements, the cost can drop to $20,000 or rise to $150,000. For a more detailed estimate, please contact our team of specialists.

A final thought

A ready-made CRM may seem to be the cheapest, quickest way to go, but a custom CRM will pay off in the long run. A system that's designed to answer your needs will give you control over the clients' and employees’ data, communication, and customer service. Your CRM can become a great start for scaling up and upgrading your work. If you want to build a native CRM, simply contact us at Yellow. We'll be happy to discuss your needs and answer your questions.

🖥️ What is a CRM system?

A CRM system is a solution that includes tools for managing and maintaining customer relationships. It ensures a holistic approach to sales, marketing, and business development. It works with multiple channels like phone numbers, messengers, social media, and website analytics.

🖥️ What types of CRMs exist?

Depending on the CRM system’s focus, it can be strategic, operational, collaborative, and analytical.

🖥️ Why should I have a custom CRM?

A native custom CRM solution is cost-efficient, scalable, and integral with your workflow.

🖥️ How much does it cost to create a custom CRM?

If we consider an average hourly rate of $40, the total cost will be approximately $45,000. Depending on your company’s size and requirements, the cost of custom CRM development can drop to $20,000 or rise to $150,000.

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