How to Build a CRM Solution for your Business from Scratch
Sticky notes. Spreadsheets. Text files…
How do you manage customer-related data?
This is why you might want to build your own CRM.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process dedicated to managing a company’s relationships and interactions with all existing and potential customers.
If you want to explore a custom CRM creation that will meet all your business requirements, this article provides the answers in great detail.
Feature-Set for Custom CRM Development
You first need to explore key features that you can use to equip your system.
Let’s review some must-have and advanced CRM features that are mostly used.
Basic Features of Your Own CRM
The table below represents the basic functionality.
Advanced CRM Functionality
How Much Does it Cost to Build a CRM?
The cost depends on a number of factors. One of the main cost-forming aspects is how you decide on the vendor for CRM implementation.
Here are a few methods you can choose from:
- Work with freelancers
- Address local IT firms
- Outsource software development to Eastern Europe
Ukraine, in particular, offers a unique environment combining competitive prices with the strongest tech talents. If you decide to work with a company from Ukraine, you will get a high-quality product tailored to your specific business needs.
The cost to develop a CRM can range from $60,000 up to $230,000 or even higher based on factors like the number and complexity of features, design complexity and uniqueness, number of supported platforms, vendor type, location, and rates you choose, etc.
The time needed for developing a custom CRM fluctuates between 3–6 months for a simple CRM system version, 4–9 months for a full product, and 9+ months for a large product for two or more supported platforms.
Take a look at the table below providing a CRM cost and timeline breakdown based on development stages and product volume.
Please note that this cost is calculated based on the average rate of $40 in Ukraine.
CRM Development: Services and Processes
The process to create a CRM consists of two main stages:
- Discovery — an exploration of market possibilities, competitors, and overall project planning with a project mind map, functional specifications, and product backlog
- Development — all tasks associated with software development.
Let’s explore the main stages of providing custom software development services.
1. Discovery Stage
The deliverables of business analysis include:
- Market analysis (on demand)
- Competitor analysis (on demand)
- Concept mind map creation
- Documentation of functional specifications
- Product backlog
UX/UI Design is dedicated to creating the logic for user interaction (UX) and for creating the user interface and CRM design. The main deliverables of this stage include:
- UX — user experience (wireframes)
- UI — user interface (mockups)
- Branding elements (e.g. logo)
- Animations and illustrations
2. Development Stage
Coding — building a code base, i.e., its backend and frontend parts, as well as integration of third-party services and solutions.
Below is a table presenting technologies used to build software on different platforms (Web, iOS, Android).
Below, you can see a table describing some valuable integration and third-party APIs that you might use to build a CRM.
QA, Testing, & Deployment — a service of high importance that allows developers to check functionality, performance, and security.
Ongoing Software Support & Development — ongoing work on the solution’s functionality, improvements to its security, and performance.
8 Key Considerations & Steps for CRM Development
You need to first identify your business goals, decide on the use of innovative technologies, and supported platforms.
1. Define Commercial Goals
What are your objectives for creating your own CRM?
Building your own CRM delivers a number of benefits, such as automation of internal operations, better work by the sales team, and integration with marketing and other departments.
2. Finalize CRM Roles
The creation of the CRM user roles helps you eliminate risks and data breaches. Every user group, which usually includes sales, support, and marketing, can have different types of access based on their roles.
3. Check Out Legal Restrictions
Legal restrictions should be considered before you start the development of web CRM software since they can influence the final set of features and their logic.
4. Decide on the Supported Platforms
Depending on what your business needs dictate, you might need to create a few versions of your solution, including a web version of the CRM and its iOS and Android versions.
5. Specify FRS & SRS
Create Functional Requirements (FRS) and Software Requirement Specifications (SRS). These documents are created based on the different types of users that will be using your solution.
6. Staff Training Considerations
While you are developing your solution, you need to decide on staff training. Your employees need to understand how the system works and how they can use its features in their work.
7. Thoughts about Service Support and Improvement
It is safe to say that it’s impossible to release a bugless solution. After your CRM is released, there might be some issues that emerge that will require fixing.
8. Usage of Artificial Intelligence in Future Versions
Artificial intelligence integration into a CRM allows you to save hundreds of hours on manual data analysis and prediction creation.
Learn from CRM System Types and Examples
1. Operational CRM
Operational CRM systems focus on marketing, sales, and service automation.
Examples: HubSpot, Salesforce, Creatio.
2. Analytical CRM
Analytical CRMs usually work in tandem with operational systems, from which they get customer data for further analysis.
Examples: Salesforce Einstein, HubSpot Marketing Hub, Zoho Analytics, Zendesk Explore, Mixpanel.
3. Strategic or Collaborative CRM
Collaborative customer relationship management systems aim to improve teamwork for better customer service, customer satisfaction, and retention.
Examples: Microsoft Dynamics 365, SAP Business One (SAP Customer 360), Sugar CRM, Sage, CRM, Copper, Pipeliner CRM.
Custom CRM Creation based on User Type
Now you will learn three main types of users that will benefit from a CRM creation.
1. CRM for the Sales Team
These CRM database applications usually include the following features:
- Account management
- Sale scheduling
- Sales analytics
2. CRM System for Marketers
CRM software for marketers can include the following functionality:
- Promo and sales campaign management
- Exploring customer types
- Business performance analysis
3. CRM for Customer Support
A customer support CRM can include the following functionality:
- Information base
- Customer support interface
- Automated analytics
Key Benefits to Create a CRM from Scratch
Here, we list some of the drawbacks of existing CRM systems.
Main Disadvantages of Ready-Made CRM Solutions
- Insufficient integration
- Many additional fields
- Improper UI / UX design
- Difficult to stand out
Let’s now review some of the most promising advantages and learn why ready-to-use solutions are not always the best choice.
1. Solution Tailored to Your Needs 100%
2. Centralized Data Aggregation and Editing
3. Analytics about Customer Insights
4. CRM Ecosystem Scalability
How to Find the Perfect IT Partner to Build a CRM
As you know the process and costs…
You will need to find and hire CRM developers to turn your software idea into a real product. The following checklist will help you make the right choice:
- Pay attention to the questions asked
- Check the portfolio
- Check reviews
- Choose a geographical region
- Get in touch with prospects
- Ask the right questions