In this article, we are going to find out the essence and use cases of CRM, overview the most popular CRM solutions on the market, plus discover the benefits of custom CRM development and answer how to build a CRM that will be able to streamline your sales, marketing, and management processes.
What is CRM
CRM stands for the Customer Relationship Management system or software which allows for gathering and storing the most important information about the company’s customers, its marketing strategies, and the process of relationship development between a brand and each of its customers. Since CRM systems allow for storing structured and unstructured data, plus may be used differently to meet the core business needs and customers’ expectations, they can be classified into the next types of CRM:
- operational. The CRM of this type is used for marketing automation and sales optimization.
- analytics. The system of this type is strongly data-driven and analysis-focused, that is, it allows for customer data analysis and making smart decisions being guided by the users’ behaviour and expectations.
- collaborative. This CRM makes sense for large teams, as it gives the opportunity to easily share data across the departments and with key stakeholders.
Also, depending on the tasks they perform CRM systems may be classified into the ones for:
- general use,
- inbound lead management,
- sales tracking,
- social tracking,
- fully integrated system.
Depending on the type of the software itself, according to its technical specifics and proceeding from the ways how to build a CRM, these systems may be divided into:
- SaaS systems. These are the ready-made solutions you may subscribe to in order to access the features needed for customer relationship management.
- Internal software. This type of CRM system is built from scratch, taking into account the specifics of business processes, and the features really necessary to cope with the core company's task. As a rule, such a CRM takes the form of a strongly protected website, plus a mobile version for instant access.
As for the comparison between off-the-shelf and custom-build CRM systems, the first is more affordable while the second better fits the specifics of your company and your customers. We will make a comparison of custom CRM development vs ready-made solutions further.
Customer relationship management is a complex activity, and that’s why CRM systems are used in the following cases:
- Prioritizing Leads. Since one of the core tasks of CRM is to gather all the information about your prospective leads and customers in one place, it can be efficiently used in lead prioritization. For example, you may segment your leads and prioritize those who match your target audience specifics better, or those who have shown positive behaviour factors, for example, abandoning a cart.
- Following Up The Leads. An abandoned cart is also a good occasion to follow your lead up. A CRM system allows for dealing with this task as well since with its help you may set up automated newsletter sending to the leads who showed different behaviour patterns.
- Identifying Deal’s Age. Since the modern sales funnel has two cyclical stages at its bottom (purchase and post-purchase), then information about the moment of the last transaction may prompt a convenient time to remind the client about your brand. The CRM system will remind you of this automatically, or it will automatically send the necessary letter to the client immediately.
- Help During A Call. Customer service and competent support are important for making a purchase decision. With information from CRM at their fingertips, your sales managers can suggest the best options for each of the customers, being guided by their purchase history and other specifics.
- Automating Tasks. We have already mentioned email marketing automation with the help of CRM, however, this is not the only automation opportunity. For example, you may also automate your social media posting, ads launch, or Google PPC campaign.
- Understanding Customers through In-Product Activity. In this case, the CRM is directly interconnected with a recommendation engine, which is AI-based and capable of data analysis and making smart suggestions.
- Strategic Marketing. Information that is stored and collected with the help of CRM may be reused as a foundation of smart, personalized, and strategic marketing campaigns, for example, targeted at a group of your customers previously interested in a specific good or service.
- Increasing Profit. Selling more is the ultimate goal of any business, and what’s more, this is the ultimate goal of CRM as well. According to the research, CRM usage may help increase sales by up to 29%, as well as improve sales productivity by up to 34%.
- Cold Email Outreach For Backlink. With the help of CRM, you may also collect the database of the websites that might be interested in accepting your guest post and publish a backlink to your website. In this case, managing websites is like managing your customers, however, the result of your interaction will be different.
Custom CRM Development vs Ready-Made Solution - Looking for the Best Option for Your Business
Deciding on the best way to manage relationships with your customers, you have two opportunities to choose from - custom CRM development from scratch vs ready-made CRM. Let’s find out whether you should build your own CRM, and what are the features of a standard, out-of-the-box system.
Ready-Made CRM Software Examples
Below are the most popular CRM solutions in the modern tech market.
This is the world-leading CRM that comes with dozens of solutions for different industries, different businesses, and different marketing goals.
- The set of features is fully rich
- Due to the popularity of the system, there are a lot of professionals who know how to use it for your business benefit
- There are some customization opportunities
- Using Salesforce is expensive. If we compare custom CRM vs Salesforce, then the cost to create a customized system may reach the cost to use Salesforce by a large team since the price also depends on the number of users.
- Some users complain about a user interface that’s difficult to deal with and a too long and winding learning curve.
The price directly depends on their product you will use. On average it costs $20-$350 per user per month billed annually.
Hubspot is one more popular CRM. Compared to Salesforce, it turns out to be more lightweight, intuitive, and user-friendly. What’s more, you may use it even for free.
- Hubspot shares a good set of features even in a free version.
- This CRM is perfectly compatible with other Hubspot apps.
- It provides for the opportunity to see, analyze and track the whole sales pipeline.
- Each touchpoint with the customer will be carefully analyzed and recorded.
- There is a free version, and the price doesn’t depend on the number of users.
- It may lack the flexibility to set up the customized sales process
- The same applies to reporting and analytics
Free - $1200 per month.
As for this system, here is where complex things work simply. With the highest focus on data capturing, structuring, collection, and analysis with the help of AI, this CRM offers the richest set of smart features to move your leads to the bottom of your sales funnel faster and cheaper.
- There is an AI-assistant who shares smart suggestion at each step of the way
- There is a very rich set of features -you may manage almost everything from this platform
- There is no problem with getting used to the system since you may rely on a virtual assistant as well
- What’s more, there is friendly customer support.
- Some users note that the platform has some issues with data export, however, it seems to be the only disadvantage.
There is a 21-day free trial, which is quite enough to test the system and compare the before-after results, plus it is possible to contact the support department to find out the average cost.
Custom CRM Top-Notch Opportunities for the Business
Thus, ready-made CRM systems may seem quite an affordable and effective solution, however, they can never fit all business needs and specifics without exception. Below are the main reasons to build a custom CRM system.
- Integrating all your solutions into a holistic one for better operational and data management. In a case of a ready-made system, such integrations are either not always possible, or costly, or technically challenging. Plus, in any of the cases, you share your sensitive business data with the CRM system provider, and the ready-made CRM allows you to avoid these risks and challenges.
- Tailoring your CRM to your business logic and the specifics of your customers.
- Cost-saving because of the opportunity to develop only those features your business needs now and easily scale them in the future. The cost estimate is one of the most essential questions, especially if you outsource your CRM web development However, even despite the fact that cost, as a rule, is challenging to accurately predict, you may get started and proceed with only those features you really need at the current stage of your business development.
- The opportunity to create a user-friendly UI/UX and design your team will be easy to get used to. Too long learning curves and cluttered UI are some of the main drawbacks of the most ready-made CRM systems. Creating such a system specifically for your company gives you the opportunity to develop such a design and UI your sales team will love and what’s more, test it with their help until perfection.
- More accurate and actionable analytical insights. Custom CRM development allows for setting up the analytics and reporting in such a way that you will get actionable insights reusable for dealing with core tasks of your business.
How to Build a CRM System
Below is your possible CRM system development strategy.
- Decide on a type proceeding from your business needs
Get back to the CRM types we have listed above and find out which of the types suit your business best according to the core tasks you need to perform more efficiently.
- Decide on the features set
The type of CRM will help you to list the features that are needed for solving your most important issue. As for the standard features that are embedded in all custom CRM systems, these are
- Contacts management
- Tasks management
- Reporting and analytics features.
- Create design prototype
When creating a CRM for your team, don’t forget to ask each member about their opinion about the future solution design. Since they are the end-users, you have the best opportunity ever to get firsthand suggestions from real users and perfectly tailor your design and UI to their expectations.
- Get in touch with an experienced vendor
The last stage in the CRM development process. Make sure to hire a company with relevant experience in this niche so that you will be able to reuse their best practices and save some time and effort.
Using a CRM system is essential for modern eCommerce business growth. What’s more, the customers are already used to the fact that their needs are anticipated and addressed before they have to loudly talk about them. The customer relationship management system opens up a lot of data-driven opportunities which you have to use in order to stay competitive and build lifelong relationships with your loyal customers.