How to Build a Custom CRM Software Making No Mistakes
Updated 20 Mar 2023
Customer Relationship Management software is a must-have for most firms. They allow to keep, access, and manage essential sales data and do much more.
I bet a lot of companies and business owners have thought about custom development CRM at least once. If you’re one of them, it's time to learn how to make your own CRM.
In this article, we're going to point out how CRM systems can save your money in the long-term and what it actually takes to build a CRM from scratch (from a time and money perspective).
CRM Creation: What the Best Custom Systems Should Do?
Before talking about how to create CRM software, let's delve deeper into the essence of the subject.
CRM is a multifaceted tool that allows companies to scrutinize clients’ interactions and measure data throughout the customer lifecycle. CRM engages databases that are utilized to gather, keep, and examine valuable data they collect about their clients.
In short, CRM systems are the simplest way to manage new and ongoing customers in the most efficient way possible to extract the most value. So, thinking about how to create a CRM system is worth consideration.
CRM software aims to strengthen business relationships with customers through retention and acquisition. So whether you’re a small company looking to store information and make it accessible across multiple devices or you’re an enterprise wanting to manage client interactions and focus on improving customer satisfaction, CRM systems will be applicable in both cases.
Why Develop CRM Software
Preparing to giving a response to "how to build CRM system" question, we'll learn more about the market situation relevant for the solutions of such a type.
The global CRM market size is accounted to be $128.97 billion by 2027. As a business scales and more clients come, business owners start looking for a flexible solution to manage rising data. This is where custom CRM systems prove their usefulness. Let’s examine the potential of CRM development relying on research insights.
Before create CRM software: learn the U.S. CRM market size
According to recent researches:
- 91% of US businesses with more than 10 employees now use CRM
- CRM can enhance conversion rates by 300%.
- CRM software can boost sales by 29%.
- CRM increases team productivity by 34%.
Customer Relationship Management software integration brings significant benefits to any service-based business: from e-commerce to healthcare CRM implementation and logistics. So let’s consider how exactly create CRM operation can boost business growth:
- Keep tracking of all internal sales and marketing operations.
- Automate sales- and marketing-related processes.
- Monitor the employees’ productivity and ensure they deliver great customer service.
- Generate highly targeted messages to deliver tailored offers, thus, enhance customer satisfaction.
- Set up, handle, and improve clients interactions throughout the company's departments: from the first request to service provided.
- Gather and store business-critical data in a centralized CRM database and provide access to all employees to offer great support to all clients.
Why is it better to create your own CRM software? Here are the main reasons:
You need specific integrations
Ready-to-use CRM systems easily integrate with email services or social media analytics tools. However, if you work with peculiar tools to serve the customers and record their information, you need more than “box” solutions. For instance, it may be difficult to connect your internal database or customized online call systems to a template CRM system.
You need particular functions
CRM software providers submit different service packages with multiple features. In case you want to focus on one functional area (for example, sales) deciding on how to make a CRM system, you just don’t require all the functionality provided. Still, ready-made solutions charge a monthly fee for full package service. As a result, your employees will spend more time searching for needed information.
You need individuality
How to build a CRM platform enough unique and new? Ready-made CRM systems are designed for the mass market. Therefore, you can’t customize their functionality, algorithms, and design. In this way, it’ll be challenging to deliver a personalized customer experience since packaged CRM offers standardized functions used by various organizations. Besides, what works for one user, may not work for others. In contrast, custom CRM websites allow you to bring unique designs and add functionality aligning with your preferences and business requirements.
Get an in-depth guide on the average cost of CRM implementation and its formation factors
Essential Benefits You'll Obtain Developing CRM and Using It
There are hundreds of pre-packaged CRM systems like HubSpot CRM, Zoho CRM, or Freshsales CRM that can be used to solve multiple business needs. However, even though they offer rich functionality, there are some drawbacks you may encounter.
So, here is the question: how to create CRM application? Let us give you an example.
Imagine you own a clothing store. You’ve already launched a mobile app and adopted geolocation features to alert clients about special offers when they’re alongside. In this case, you intend to increase sales and strengthen customer loyalty. Thus, you need a CRM system to manage various marketing operations. This way, there is no sense to overpay for additional functionality during answering how to make a CRM software, except the marketing-related ones.
Then, creating your own CRM software will be the right decision. To prove this state, we’ve rolled out the main reason why you have to decide how to build a CRM software from scratch instead of using turnkey solutions.
1. Improved foresight of demands
A CRM system is essential for delivering excellent customer service. It is simple to provide prompt support because of the needed client data availability. The ability to access customer contact history across the whole customer journey also enables sales representatives even to anticipate client needs, which is one of the major advantages of the “how to build CRM” question. This helps salespeople sell quicker.
You may be proactive and provide new or better offers at the appropriate moment if you are aware of the contact's purchase history, including what they purchased as well as when, what contracts they were given, what purchasing behaviors they displayed, and even how they got to be your clients.
When we are aware of what to anticipate, we are more certain — same rules apply to business. When you've been decided on how to make CRM system keeping tabs on a customer's purchasing patterns, cross-selling and upselling them is simpler.
Need a CRM for e-commerce? Learn what it takes to create a solution for this business domain.
2. Better internal communication in your company
If you decide how to build a CRM from scratch, all personnel will have access to customer data and information through an unified CRM platform, which guarantees that the customer is at the center of the business. Moreover, every team member will understand that they are on the same page on how to build and manage relationships with customers.
The communication and exchanges between the business and its clients are easily visible to all workers thanks to building a CRM from scratch. Employees have a joint knowledge of how to portray themselves (and the firm) to prospective leads as a result of this transparency.
So, the management of client interactions is not the only advantage of a competent CRM system; it also enhances internal teamwork. That will be achievable after you solve the “how to develop a CRM software” customized for your needs. This way, your team will be able to communicate better with one another.
3. Increased client loyalty
Building a CRM system you’ll find out that it is a fantastic tool for identifying and cultivating new and potential consumers, as well as for keeping your existing clients satisfied. It possesses a few "customer retention" perks, such reminding you of meetings or when to send follow-up emails, which will help you keep your word.
The actual key here is that CRM may also remind you to get in touch with clients who haven't heard from you in a while and may feel ignored. This contact will be possible if you build a CRM in a view of a mobile app or consider how to create a CRM website using the web development services of a qualified outsourcing vendor.
A CRM system may also assist you in planning your B2B marketing strategy, sending email campaigns, free trial incentives or post-purchase feedback forms, etc. All will be at the correct time to maintain your clients' interest.
Types of Software You Can Choose From Building a CRM
If it's clear that CRM software development from scratch has lots of advantages for your case, then let’s take a look at several types of CRM. You can use one or several of them giving a response to how to create a CRM system perfect for your company needs.
Here are the following types of CRM systems:
It focuses on streamlining and automating sales, customer service, and marketing workflows. Operational CRM may have the following features:
- Lead management
- Contact management
- Sales pipeline
This type of CRM is able to source a huge amount of information from numerous touchpoints and process it. The system provides you with insights, statistics, and analytics data.
It's main purpose is to help with planning. The great advantage of these solutions is that they provide real-time data and analytics.
All collaborative CRMs are designed to improve communication and teamwork. They create a transparent data sharing environment.
In order to correctly give a response on how to create a CRM application or a web platform of such type, you should consider that these platforms are usually packed with features for collective discussions, chats, shared boards. Users can easily share files and stream activities.
Working on how to make a CRM, remember that all these above types can be combined together into one versatile solution.
How to Make a CRM and What Features to Implement Into It?
Since you already know the basics, it’s time to consider the features needed to make your own CRM system. To make this section as helpful as possible, I’ve singled out three modules with must-have, basic, and advanced functionality. But before moving to this part, let’s discuss how to build a CRM application used in different departments.
Usage of CRM Systems
Commonly, CRM systems are designed for the sales team, marketing specialists, and customer support managers. Since every department handles different operations, the required features will depend on the business area to improve. For instance, the features needed to design a CRM for marketers will differ from sales CRM required features. You can choose those appropriate for your case and make up your own CRM features list.
Create CRM website or app and define the users' roles
With the help of a CRM database, sales managers can easily collect and store clients’ data, automate sales, and tailor business offers to customers’ needs. Once the clients feel that you understand their preferences, they are about to bring higher profit. CRM sales core features you should implement while deciding on how to develop CRM application in the most appropriate way, are the following:
- Account management
- Sales scheduling
- Sales analytics with filters
- Automated lead management
CRM software design and functionality intended for marketing needs enables the team to plan advertising campaigns, establish commercial goals, and work with sales managers. Moreover, with the help of a built-in CRM calendar, specialists can schedule important marketing and sales events. Features that should be included in the CRM marketing module:
- Sales campaigns management
- Studying customer types
- Business performance analysis
When a client has a problem, they wait for fast and effective customer support service. Having all the questions and complaints stored in one place allows managers to address particular customer issues and come up with a solution in just minutes. Here is CRM customer support functionality that should be brought into life while answering how to create CRM:
- Informational base
- Customer support interface
- Automated analytics
Must-have CRM features
How to develop a CRM system that have the functionality basic for different departments? These are the core features every CRM must have to fulfill it's mission:
- Manage contacts
- Set reminders
- Edit calendar
- Manage tasks
- Generate reports
These give you basic options for task management, keeping contacts at hand, and collaborating with the team while build your own CRM database.
Key features of CRM
Let’s face it: the features mentioned above aren’t enough to have an all-in-one solution. I suppose they’re not the reason you’re reading about how to build a CRM system from scratch.
This module includes more niche features that can be used across diverse industries and companies.
What key features should be implemented while create your own CRM database?
- Touchpoints tracking
- Email marketing
- File sharing
- Mobile version
- Pipeline view
- Integration with social media
- Custom reports
Below, we'll tell about each of them giving you all the information you should know as to how to build your own CRM platform.
1. Touchpoints tracking
This feature is needed to track the communication between company’s representatives and clients. This CRM system’s feature allows you to store information about customers and the whole history of partnership with them.
It improves overall customer service. Managers won't have any trouble with passing a client to another employee. They no longer need to spend hours telling about details of the deal.
2. Email marketing
The integration with the email system allows tracking communication with every customer after you build your own CRM software. It’s very helpful if managers send a lot of emails every day.
CRM can perform mailing automatically using different letters for different groups of customers. What’s more, it’s possible to introduce a sequence of emails. The system will send them following the given parameters.
For example, if a customer opens the introduction email they get the next letter from a chain.
3. File sharing
This piece of functionality keeps all the documentation in one place. It also helps you find an answer on how to design CRM software appropriate for different departments. You can set access levels to prevent employees from seeing files they aren't supposed to see.
Are you in the real estate business? Here are the 5 tips on how to choose the best CRM solution for a real estate company.
The system can be taught to register all records of working with files. In other words, after you make your own CRM software, you’d be able to see who's been working with a doc and look through the edits made.
4. Mobile version
If the solution is going to be used by sales representatives, then you should build a custom CRM with support for smartphones.
According to different studies, the productivity of sales reps grew by 26.4% after the companies create own CRM system in mobile version. Additionally, 24% more of them began to achieve annual sales goals.
An opportunity to work on-the-go may boost sales. Especially considering that modern customers want to get in touch with businesses anytime and get a fast response.
If you want to build CRM software supporting mobile, it’s better to consider separate native applications. Mobile developers can build them with Kotlin (Android) or Swift (iOS).
Mind that it’ll certainly affect the CRM development cost. To reduce it, you can also try to adapt a part of CRM’s functionality to mobile devices. But it’ll rather be a poor experience for end-users.
5. Pipeline view
This CRM feature allows you to track all sales processes. With it's help, you can see on what stage each lead is at the moment (new leads, contact made, qualified, and so on).
The pipeline lets you spot the stage where you lose customers. And it’s simply a great feature to keep track of what’s going on with your sales at any moment.
A sales-oriented CRM can be equipped with invoicing options like:
- Searchable invoice history
- Quick invoices to clients
- Status tracking
One of the reasons to create your own CRM system is that you can integrate it with any third-party tools you need. It can be accounting software, payment systems or whatever else.
For example, you can sync data from your accounting software like FreshBooks with your CRM using API.
7. Integration with social media
Studies prove that 51% of sales reps are more likely to reach their quotas with social sales. Also, they sell 78% more compared to colleagues who don’t use social media.
One of the use cases is to build or integrate a system that tracks mentions on social media (by hashtags). Businesses can use it to measure the interest in their brand and improve customer service (reply to messages with reviews).
That’s why integration with social media can be one of the key features in custom CRM systems, and you should consider it while deciding how to build a CRM which will be the most advantageous for your business.
Custom reporting is a source of insights and one of the most helpful CRM features. But you should remember when deciding on how to build a CRM database: reporting and methods of gathering data depend on your business needs.
Some can benefit from such data as demographics, sales, and type of leads. Others need something more to get insights into their work.
The concept of CRM reporting in healthcare for personal trainers by Cleveroad (Source: Dribbble)
Advanced features of custom CRM
It’s time to move on to a more complicated tier. Here we’ll be discussing how to design CRM with advanced functionality for large businesses and enterprises.
Advanced CRM feature list may look as follows:
- Integration with third-parties
- Unity with other internally created software
- Call center management
- Tracking referrals
- Customer scoring
1. Integration with third-parties
Different departments of one and the same company may use dozens of tools in their workflow. G Suite is probably among the most popular solutions. Developing a CRM system, you have to make sure all those tools used in the company can fit there. Be they connected with documents, letters or anything else.
How to build a CRM system with a Google Calendar integration
2. Unity with other software
CRM systems are usually not the only software that medium businesses and enterprises build to make their lives easier. Companies often build (or plan to) such solutions as:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
- Warehouse Management Software (WMS)
- Logistics Management System
They all have to work together fetching data from one another. It’s the only way to smooth and seamless workflow of the entire company. Otherwise, that may lead to loss of time and money.
So another piece of advice on how to build CRM software is to merge custom software together. Don’t forget to discuss this task with your software engineering team.
3. Call center management
Call center management is a good feature if there are a lot of incoming or outcoming calls in the company. The main features here can be calls from the system and automated tracking.
4. Tracking referrals
Referral programs are getting popular these days. If you’ve already created one, it’s a good reason to think about how to track it's performance in your custom CRM system.
For example, you can track down referred leads that ended up as customers and made a purchase when you create own CRM.
5. Customer scoring
A scoring system would help sales reps to prioritize their tasks and sell more. Just let them score customers according to metrics that are important for your business.
- Domain background
- Behavior on the website (filled contact forms)
You can assign a certain value to every parameter when create CRM database. For example, people filled the contact form get +5, those from target countries — +2.
The lead scoring system as a part of CRM software design
There is always enough room for automation when it comes to building a CRM system. You can think through ways to get rid of routine tasks and improve the overall efficiency of employees.
Chatbots are surprisingly useful when you build CRM from scratch. They’re able to automate dozens of tasks like:
- Answering FAQs
- Setting up reminders
- Organizing meetings with colleagues
- Onboarding new employees
Niche CRM functionality
No doubts, it’s impossible to describe each and every feature that companies across different business domains may need.
CRM for logistics. Concept by Cleveroad (Source: Dribbble)
The above-mentioned features useful for CRM creation were formed based on frequent requests from our clients and market demands.
Crucial Things to Consider Before You Build a CRM from Scratch
To make your own CRM system, you should think through the following points:
Things to consider when create my own CRM
1. Business goals
All companies have their goals and development strategies. Before creating CRM implementing plan, it’s critical to ask yourself "How build my own CRM and what needs will it cover?" For instance, you are aimed to cut operational expenses by automating business processes. Or you want to modify the company strategy relying on analytics data.
2. Set of features
Set clear goals when you build your own CRM system, identify features, and tell about your expectations on how it should simplify business processes in a company. In the ideal world, all this should be documented and handed to your software engineers.
The more features you need and the more complex they are, the more money you’re going to spend to create your own CRM system.
Market research: Cost of IT outsourcing in Europe and other factors to consider for choosing a reliable tech partner.
3. CRM roles
It’s a good idea to create a breakdown by roles in the CRM (marketing, sales, support). Employees of each role will have access to certain functionality as well as information.
That’ll help you eliminate risks of data breaches between departments that aren’t supposed to see it.
4. SaaS platform vs. internal software
If you have any intention to turn your custom-built CRM into a software as a service in the future, you should start preparing tech background for this from the very first iteration of the workflow for building CRM.
CRM for doctors. Concept by Cleveroad (Source: Dribbble)
5. Quality demands
Jot down CRM quality requirements like the speed of operation, security access, built-in analytics, and database integration to comply with quality standards like ISO, ASTM, etc.
6. Legal issues
7. Employee onboarding
When deciding to create a custom CRM, ensure your staff members are ready to utilize it. Otherwise, you are at risk of failure. So, before looking for an IT company, you should decide who will be responsible for CRM management and consider the training part. Then, show your team how to utilize the software to collect business-critical information, monitor customers, track analytics, etc.
8. Software Requirements Specifications (SRS)
Before specifying the feature list and final tech requirements, you need to scrutinize each company department to understand their tasks and how they communicate with clients. The obtained information will help you add the functionality according to your employees’ needs.
Custom CRM Creation Cost
Let’s sum up and see how much does it cost to build a CRM system.
|Feature||Approx time (hours)||Approx cost ($)|
Reminders, calendar management
Integration with social media
Unity with other internal software
Call center management
It’s hard to tell how much does it cost to build a CRM system without any project details. You can contact our managers to get a consultation and request project cost estimation for free.
In general, custom CRM costs may vary from $30,000 to $300,000 and up. It heavily depends on it's complexity and region where you hire developers.
The average salary of software engineers in the world are as follows:
- USA — $92,046
- Australia — $49,674
- Germany — $53,713
- United Kingdom — $40,497
- Estonia — $22,389
How to Create Your Own CRM Software: Step-by-Step Guide
CRM development requires thoughtful preparation steps due to the rich functionality that needs to be implemented. So let's take a close look at how to design a CRM to get the most out of it.
How to create your own CRM software: essential steps to pass through
Step #1. Set up goals before create custom CRM
Any process starts with planning. Before building a CRM, it’s crucial to write down the business goals and determine what challenges you want to solve. For example, you want to increase the annual sales quote by 20% or decrease your clients’ acquisition cost. The well-formed goals will help the software development team make the detailed project’s specification and pick the most appropriate technology stack.
Step #2. Select the user role
One of the advantages of the CRM platform is establishing strong communication relationships between the company’s employees. However, each team member utilizes the CRM software depending on department-related tasks. That’s why you have to specify who you make a CRM for. For instance, the marketers and sales managers make use of data analytics tools, in turn customer support team need communication tools.
Step #3. Consider security requirements
CRM databases process and store an incredible amount of information, so it’s vital to protect clients’ data from being stolen by employees when they get off work. Building complex security models in CRM software seems to be a great idea, especially if these models are similar to the company’s org chart. Indeed, they require additional time and cost, and they’ll be inefficient when you conclude to reshape your org chart.
Step #4. Choosing contractors
The fastest way to build a CRM from scratch is to outsource the development to an IT vendor with proven expertise in CRM system development. Outsourcing is an excellent opportunity to get first-class services for a reasonable price. Spend some time on in-depth research of the potential vendor to build own CRM properly — from the company's portfolio to clients’ reviews on reputable B2B platforms like Clutch or IT Firms.
Step #5. Request for rough estimation
After your first contact with a software development agency about how to build a custom CRM issue, they make a rough estimate based on your initial feature list. Then the document indicates the min and max time and cost you’d spend on the whole project. It’ll help you to plan the budget, and make a decision to continue collaboration or not. Moreover, client-oriented IT vendors like Cleveroad make project rough estimation for free.
Step #6. Development
How to design a CRM system issue will be solved at this stage. Namely, design, project prototype, and flowchart diagrams must be submitted. After that, the software developers transform mockups into a working product following Agile software development methodology. The agile approach is perfect for developing CRM programs since it allows the engineers to go back to the previous stages, fix the issue, and continue the development process.
Step #7. Launch
After you’ve passed all the previous development phases, it’s time to present a ready-made solution to users. This stage implies that you launch the product and collect customers' feedback to understand where they're comfortable using your product or if something needs to be polished.
Step #8. Post-project support
CRM software needs to be maintained constantly due to its complexity. The team can support the software by studying feature behavior, adding new functions or updates, and making improvements based on users’ feedback.
How to Find a Reliable Tech Partner to Build Custom CRM System?
As an outsourcing software development company, we’ve gathered five practical tips for hiring the right development team enough experienced in how to code a CRM system, design and maintain it to bypass costly mistakes.
- Consider industry expertise. Pay close attention to the company's expertise to ensure that you get the desired product. The industry expertise accelerates the CRM build since the team is familiar with processes, required technologies, and challenges they may encounter.
- Check the portfolio. Look through the solutions the company delivered before and see if they align with your vision for your own CRM platform.
- Reviews. Read the clients’ reviews to decide whether it’s a good idea to deal with the company. It will allow you to manage expectations and be ready for possible challenges.
- Time zone differences. If you decide to outsource CRM builds overseas, you may encounter communication challenges. However, experienced outsourcing companies make individual communication plans for each client to schedule the meeting conveniently.
- English level. English proficiency directly influences cooperation productivity. The team needs to translate the project’s requirements clearly and submit understandable development reports. Otherwise, you may get a CRM program that doesn’t correspond to your requirements.
The next question is “Where to find a reliable IT vendor?”. Try to start your research from platforms like Clutch or GoodFirms. They provide lists of service providers working in different fields.
Once, you’ve found an appealing company — dig deeper. Read reviews, check their website, social networks, try to contact them via messages and phone calls.
How Cleveroad Can Help You to Build Custom CRM System
Cleveroad is a high-tier mobile and web development company with more than 10 years of market experience. We providing businesses with custom digital solutions built with modern trends and cutting-edge technologies that boost their internal pipelines and help reach new heights.
Cleveroad in numbers:
- 10+ years on the market
- 120+ in-house engineers
- 170+ successful projects
- 8+ expertise industries
We have an extensive background in CRM building for different industries: finance, e-commerce, healthcare, and so on many more. Just tell us more about your desired CRM system and our experts will come up with the best solution for you.
Ready to build your own custom CRM?
Our tech experts will consult you and estimate your project in the shortest time
The cost of custom CRM development may range from $30,000 to $300,000 and beyond. The final cost depends on two principal factors: project complexity and region of the world where you hire software developers to do the job.
When you build your own CRM, you can start with the following algorithm:
First off, determine goals you’d like to achieve with this software (e.g. streamline workflows, simplify reporting, and so on) and make the list of required features and functionality based on them. Once you have a more or less clear picture of functionality what you want in terms of building a CRM database, you may start looking for software vendors having the required expertise to breathe life into your custom CRM.
From $30,000 to $300,000 and beyond. The final cost depends on two principal factors: project complexity and region of the world where you hire software developers to create a CRM from scratch.
CRM is applied for any business that want to boost efficiency and customer satisfaction. However, companies build CRM solutions mostly for marketing and sales teams, and customer support managers.
CRM features can be conditionally divided into three categories: must-have, key, and advanced. However, the must-have features aren't enough to deliver an all-in-one solution. The right way you can use when create CRM from scratch is to start with implementing the functions that users need to use the software on the basic level and gradually add advanced ones as the business scales.
- Define goals and user roles
- Deal with the security issues
- Hire the experienced team
- Order and obtain a rough project estimate
- Develop and design the system
- Perform the support and maintenance
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If you can get a software engineer in australia for $40k, I'll take 10...
Great article! Useful and well-structured information, I like the list you have mentioned here. thank you for sharing such a piece of great information.
Nice blog post! CRM really save the time and provide a complete hold on every department. Nice article.