Introduction to custom CRM development

In our previous articles on the SPD Group blog, we have discussed different approaches to outsourcing, details on the software development process, and the use of the latest technologies by businesses. Today, we will focus on a topic that is relevant to a variety of industries and could be beneficial for your organization.

A Customer Relationship Management system, also known as CRM, is a software application that is responsible for collecting, organizing, and managing customer-related information for businesses. Ultimately, it improves customer service and communication for your organization, and in some cases can elevate those to an entirely different level.

Custom CRM software development is one of the most popular trends across multiple top industries. According to Salesforce, companies in such industries as Technology, Banking, Retail, Security, Media, and Business Services have improved their sales by almost 30% after they had made the decision to resort to custom CRM development and build a solution of their own.

Grand View Research forecasts that by 2027, the global CRM market will have reached $114.4 billion. However, according to the same source, this tool already enjoys a great deal of popularity and helps organizations, as more than 91% of companies with 10 or more employees use CRM to communicate with their customers.

CRM Software Revenue Forecast

Three main types of CRM systems

Before finding out how custom CRM development services can benefit your organization and improve the performance of your departments, let’s take a look at the main types of CRMs.

Operational

This one is all about sales automation, customer service improvement, and optimization of marketing workflows. Operational CRM can include such features as Lead Management, Contact Management, Sales Pipeline, and Helpdesk.

Examples of operational CRMs:

Analytical

This category of CRM software processes a huge amount of information from different sources. The system generates statistics, insights, and analytics data based on this information. Solutions of this type provide you with data analytics in real-time and can serve as a great tool for planning activities.

Examples of analytical CRMs:

Collaborative

Lastly, solutions of the third type are aimed at improving the collaboration and teamwork between their users by providing a transparent data-sharing environment. This type often includes such features as live chats, shared boards, and collective discussions.

Examples of collaborative CRMs:

Note: It is important to mention that a custom CRM software development company can build a powerful and versatile solution for your organization that combines all the three types mentioned above in the way your business needs.

How can your business units benefit from using CRM systems?

CRM solutions can help in multiple business areas, let’s discuss the most popular.

Customer support

Your managers will be much more productive when all questions and requests from your customers are stored in one single place and can be accessed easily. It will be possible to solve customer issues in the shortest possible time. So, a customer support CRM must at least provide a client database, customer support interface, and automated analytics functionality.

CRM system will help collect and store data in a customer profile, so that your managers will always be aware of all communication history with a specific client. Without this, communication history with a client will be decentralized in multiple messengers or emails.

Sales

As far as sales managers are concerned, a CRM solution can help them collect and store customer data, automate the sales process and come up with unique offerings, tailored to customer needs. The key features here include account management, sales scheduling, sales analytics, and automated lead management.

Marketing

Your marketing experts will be able to connect with your sales managers more easily, plan commercial campaigns, schedule marketing events, and set goals. In addition to sales campaign management, a marketing CRM is supposed to allow studying customer types and conducting business performance analysis.

CPQ & Billing

For industries like Retail, fast automated quoting will improve your chances to make a deal in each particular situation. CRM solutions can generate quotes based on quantity, certain features, discounts, etc., and take multiple pricing options into account. Modern CRM solutions can also offer automated billing functionality.

Order fulfillment

For industries that use delivery, CRMs can drive accurate and fast order fulfillment and delivery, scaling up order volumes as a result. Such features as omnichannel order management and automated return management can be implemented.

Portals

Finally, CRMs can reduce customer service workload and enable more customer self-service opportunities with features like a customer portal and customer document management.

What are the advantages of custom CRM software development over out-of-the-box solutions?

As mentioned above, there are a variety of modern solutions on the market that you can integrate into your organization, so why bother developing your own solution and employing custom CRM development services? Besides, are there any middle-of-the-road solutions?

Yes, you can customize an existing solution like Salesforce or Dynamics 365 in accordance with your business needs. This will be less expensive as compared with building a solution from the ground up. However, you may still encounter some limitations of the platform along the way.

A custom CRM development company can offer you a unique solution that will give you the following advantages as compared to the other options:

Integrations

Readily available solutions can be easily integrated with social media analytics tools or email services, but the integration ability of this out-of-the-box software may fall short when it comes to some more peculiar types of integration. For example, you may have a customized online call system in your organization that you may have difficulty integrating a basic CRM solution with.

Cost-efficiency

Providers sell their solutions in subscription packages with different sets of features. In case you need some specific features for one of your departments, with a custom solution you will not have to pay for the features you don’t need. You will pay only for what you use, and any new features will be added only after your approval. With out-of-the-box CRM solution providers, the pricing plans and packages can be changed at any time, so a custom solution will definitely be more cost-effective in the long run.

Personalized experience

Out-of-the-box solutions are designed for the mass market. If you want to stand out from the crowd, offer your customers more functionality, and align the design of your CRM with your business vision and goals, the custom development approach is for you.

Better performance

Although the top ready-made CRM solutions are updated regularly and use the cutting-edge, you may still experience a lack of performance for certain business functions. You may be faced with the need to add some new functionality or fix something right away, but all you will be able to do with your CRM provider is wait for the response to your request and hope it will soon be implemented.

Robust security

Last but not least, custom CRM development services will allow you to have a solution with the highest possible level of security in accordance with the latest cybersecurity trends and protocols. With a custom solution, you will be able to prioritize the security standards that you really need without having to waste money on expensive security features your business doesn’t require. An out-of-the-box solution will make you settle for the security measures’ prioritization set by its developers.

How creating a CRM from scratch can improve your organization?

Let’s discuss what principal benefits your organization will obtain after leveraging custom CRM system development services and launching a tailor-made solution.

Versatile and specialized software for a growing company

Since the software will be created specifically for your organization, you will receive only the features you need to improve your business. You will not have a situation where heavy and expensive customization or unexpected staff training will be required because you will be in charge of any changes to the system and be able to plan your budget. This is especially important for a growing company, as you would be able to shift directions faster and compete in an environment of an aggressively changing business landscape.

Workflow optimization

You can also decide which of the departments the solution should be focused on to improve and optimize the workflow in your organization. Additionally, you will be able to integrate any third-party solution you want, which is another driver in optimizing the workflow.

Ease of scaling

Paying only for custom CRM development services, and not for API integrations, users, and subscriptions like in turnkey solutions, you will be free to scale your system as much as required. This scalability of one system will improve the overall capabilities of your organization.

Features you need to keep in mind while creating a CRM

The number and complexity of features greatly influence the custom CRM development cost. Let’s break down the most popular features to help you make the right decisions.

Core features

These features are critical for any CRM to serve its main purposes: contact management, customer management, reminders, notifications, task management, and report generation.

Standard features

Obviously, minimal functionality is not a good enough reason to develop a solution from scratch. More advanced features include:

Touchpoints tracking
This feature will allow you to store information about all contacts between the organization’s representatives and clients.

Email management
With this, you will be able to track and manage all email communications with clients and introduce sequences of emails or automated mailing for different customer groups.

File sharing
Not only this feature will allow you to store all documents in one place, but it will also enable you to see who worked with a specific document in your system and what changes were made.

Mobile app
For an organization where sales are involved, it is crucial to build a mobile version of the CRM solution. This move will positively impact the productivity of the sales department, help achieve business goals, and reap more revenue as a result.

Pipeline overview
This design feature is also very important for sales and marketing. It allows visualizing and tracking sales processes and seeing at which of the stages each lead is at the moment (contact made, qualified, etc.).

Invoicing
Another important feature for the sales department is invoice functionality that may include status tracking, invoice history, and providing fast invoices for clients.

Social media integration
You can add a feature to your system that monitors the hashtag mentions of your business on social media. You can use this to analyze the interest in your brand and reply to your customers when necessary.

Report generation
The final feature in this category is great for all types of businesses. However, keep in mind that you need to figure out what data you need to be reported on in order to achieve maximum efficiency.

Advanced features

Third-party integrations
This is one of the main reasons to go with CRM development from scratch. With a tailor-made solution, you will be able to connect all required third-party software in accordance with your business needs.

Integration with other existing solutions
You will be able to integrate the solution with your existing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Warehouse Management Software (WMS), Logistic Management System, or any other existing software in a most seamless and cost-effective way.

Managing calls
If you have a lot of calls in your organization, this feature can not only track the calls but also conduct calls from the system.

Referral tracking
When you already have a referral system, it will be a good idea to integrate it into your CRM solution and monitor its performance.

Scoring customers
For sales-related organizations, a custom solution could have a feature that would help you prioritize your potential customers by age, geographic location, income, behavior on the website or app, etc.

Chatbot
This feature will help you free up the hands of your employees by automating a variety of tasks, including answering FAQs, setting up reminders, or onboarding new employees.

Core featuresStandard featuresAdvanced features
Contact managementTouchpoints trackingThird-party integrations
RemindersEmail managementIntegration with other existing solutions
NotificationsFile sharingManaging calls
Task managementMobile appReferral tracking
Report generationPipeline overviewScoring customers
InvoicingChatbot
Social media integration
Report generation

Things to consider before embarking on custom CRM software development

Set the goals you want to achieve

It will be a good idea to start with a clear definition of why your organization needs a tailor-made solution, and you couldn’t settle for one of the readily available solutions. Set clear, measurable, and achievable goals like cutting operational costs by automating processes, for example. The good news is that with custom development you will obtain full control over the list of features and budget, so you can plan what you need.

Choose your IT provider

Carefully choose who you want to work with based on reviews on platforms like Clutch.co and IT provider candidates’ proven experience of completed projects. An experienced IT provider could become your advisor in the planning and decision-making process, as well as give you feedback on the technical side and ideas for features.

Learn how your company interacts with clients to decide on the features

Speaking of features, before considering what you should include during the custom CRM development process, it will be a good idea to conduct research on how your company interacts with the clients on different levels and decide on which areas should be improved.

Use only the features you need

As a large number and excessive complexity of features may take a significant chunk of your budget and extend the development time, it makes sense to focus only on what you really need. As mentioned previously, turnkey solutions have a major drawback — you buy a bundle of features, but you use just a few of them. With a tailor-made solution, you can make some additional research and come up with a list of the features your organization requires and develop these features exclusively.

Set roles in your CRM

From the very beginning, think about the roles in your solution. Determine which level of access and what permissions your different employees and departments will have.

Be ready to turn your solution into SaaS

If you can see yourself turning your system into Software-as-a-Service in the offing, you should be aware that you need to prepare a tech background for this move from the first iteration of the product. It would be wise to keep this option possible even if you think that you don’t need it at the moment.

Your development team should be aware that you might need to turn your system into SaaS sometime in the future. If you don’t do this, some features in your system could not be potentially used in other systems and could not be adaptable for other businesses, when it will become necessary.

Be aware of quality standards

It is vital that you ensure that your future system will comply with the quality standards like ISO, ASTM, and others.

Learn about all possible legal issues

You should research your specific industry and the region of operation to allow for any legal limitations. Include everything that could influence the development of your solution in the project’s specification.

Train your employees to use the system

Not only must your employees be ready to use your custom solution, but your organization’s infrastructure must also be ready to include an entirely new system without any disruptions to your key business processes.

Custom CRM development cost: Price Comparison by Countries

It is impossible to offer an accurate estimation of the price of custom CRM development because there are a multitude of factors that you need to consider. Those factors include

  • timeline
  • complexity of the system
  • the number of features you want to implement and their complexity
  • the skill level of your developers
  • the size of your development team
  • the choice in favor of either outsourcing or developing a solution in-house.

The price of a CRM solution can range from $30,000 to approximately $300,000, but it depends heavily on multiple factors that make it difficult to estimate it accurately.

We can give you the average salaries of software developers around the world in 2022, so that you can decide whether it makes sense for you to hire locally or opt for offshore development services.

The following information is based on Salary Expert and Payscale data:

CountryAverage Annual Salary
USA$114,000
UK$69,000
Sweden$65,000
Norway$70,000
Denmark$71,000
Finland$59,000
Israel$73,000
Netherlands$63,000
Australia$85,000
Switzerland$95,000
Spain$33,000
Portugal$35,000
Poland$30,000
Romania$25,000
Ukraine$22,000

Keep in mind that during the implementation of the solution, the number of desired features and plans may change. This may include the process of turning the system into SaaS. Because of this, the initial budget cannot possibly be defined precisely.

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Custom CRM software development process

Let’s say you have already set your business goals, decided on features, and found a suitable software development partner for the job. What’s next?

Selecting the type of your CRM

Decide what combination of the three possible types of solutions is the best choice for achieving your goals: operational, analytical, or collaborative. You will definitely need some of them more than the others.

Getting the rough estimate and request proposal

When your IT provider or you have created the development team, it will be time to finalize the scope of work, deadline estimation, project schedule, software architecture, and budget.

Deciding on the tech stack

Based on the team’s experience, at this stage you should know what technology will be used in the custom CRM development process. Ensure that the best approaches, technologies, and frameworks will be used, both for Front-End and Back-End. Decisions on the tech stack affect the budget heavily, so you need to pick the right technologies during the price estimation phase, or even before it.

Compiling CRM development backlog

At this stage, all of your planned features and third-party integrations will be turned into developer-specific tasks and prioritized by the Product Owner.

Starting the development process

During the development process, make sure that the development team is following the Agile/Scrum methodology, and that you have enough communication with them in case there are any unplanned events.

Launching the product

As a CRM is launched, an entirely new system is added to the workflow of your organization. Make sure that all of your departments have fully implemented a new solution and are fully positioned and trained to get the most out of it.

Providing post-release support

After the system is implemented, monitor its behavior and collect feedback from the users in order to improve the existing features and maybe add something new in the future. You may still need your development team to fine-tune the launched product and add some missing features. This phase should be planned and budgeted beforehand.

Our Expertise

We, at SPD Group, have 16+ years of software development experience and a 500+ team of certified professionals.

We have been engaged in implementing a long-term project that requires a high level of custom CRM system development skills. The project is currently ongoing. Over the 13 years, the solution has become the largest promotional e-commerce platform in the world, serving thousands of companies as customers. This solution provides cascaded CRM functionality. This means that the platform includes clients-merchants that, in turn, have client-customers. We have created a CRM system that allows the client to communicate with and manage client-merchants, while allowing client-merchants to do the same with their client-customers.

While creating this platform, our project team has developed a number of core, standard, and advanced features we have mentioned in this article. Due to the article’s scope, we couldn’t dwell on them at a greater depth, but we can say with confidence that SPD Group’s t custom CRM development services have been instrumental in building the client’s platform the way it had been conceived by them. It was virtually our involvement in the project that has made it possible for the client to launch this new line of business.

This project is a good example of what could be achieved thanks to custom development. The custom development approach has helped our client adjust the platform to the aggressive market environment and quickly adapt it by using customer feedback. We have managed to offer our client a level of customization that is unprecedented for this industry as compared with out-of-the-box solutions.

Conclusion

With all the benefits of a tailor-made system, conduct additional analysis and search for existing solutions on the market that could possibly help you achieve your vision.

If the creation of the system from the ground up is really necessary, partner up with a custom CRM development company with a proven track record of previous projects and great reviews to build the product that will change your business.

The three key benefits are the versatility of the software, workflow optimization, and ease of scaling.

The main departments that can use such a system are sales, marketing, and customer support.