In the event that your company has a unique sales process or sells a diverse range of products and services, it may be tempting to build a customer relationship management system from the ground up.
It is possible that a custom CRM would include all of the features your organization requires, none that you do not, and would be tailored to your specific business in everything from the terminology used in the product to workflows that reflect the way your team sells. For small-to medium-sized businesses with limited budgets and resources, the advantages of outsourcing are limited.
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What Exactly Is a Custom Customer Relationship Management System?
An effective customer relationship management system (CRM) can help your company succeed in a variety of ways, from tracking potential customers through your pipeline and ensuring they receive timely attention to measuring the effectiveness of your sales activities and optimizing your marketing efforts by showing you which lead sources are generating the most revenue.
It goes without saying that no two businesses are alike, and custom CRMs (also known as homegrown CRMs) are sometimes developed to accommodate these differences.
A custom CRM platform is a CRM platform that has been built from the ground up by in-house software developers or a contracted development team, depending on the situation. It is built to the exact specifications of the company, allowing its users to work more efficiently because they do not have to waste time navigating around extraneous features or spending time customizing a standard off-the-shelf system to fit the way they work.
Custom customer relationship management systems (CRMs) can be particularly appealing when a company’s sales model is complex or does not neatly fit a typical B2B sales model. You may struggle to find an off-the-shelf CRM solution that works well for you if, for example, you sell physical goods and subscription services or if you have B2B and B2C sales teams working in tandem, among other scenarios.
Fans of customized software that speaks the language of your industry may be tempted to go the DIY route, but keep in mind that there are significant drawbacks that could cost your company time, money, and customers if you choose this route.
Six Disadvantages of Creating Your Own Customer Relationship Management System
A homegrown customer relationship management system (CRM) presents several challenges that an off-the-shelf system does not. Take into consideration the following factors before making the investment in custom CRM development:.
The costs of creation
The first and most obvious reason is that an off-the-shelf CRM solution is significantly less expensive than custom development. Building a CRM package from the ground up could cost an absurd amount of money, whether done in-house or contracted out to a development company.
Most quality software developers charge a minimum of $100 per hour, and a customer relationship management system (CRM) is not a simple project; it is a fairly complex software build that necessitates a significant financial investment. According to one IT website, the cost of a fully functional CRM starts at $50,000 up front, and that doesn’t include the cost of extended support and bug fixes after the initial launch.
Getting every single custom feature into your CRM system is expensive, but is it really worth it? The answer is almost always no in almost all situations. There are a plethora of off-the-shelf customer relationship management systems available today that are either purpose-built for your specific industry or flexible enough to allow you to customize them yourself. Unlike older CRM systems, most modern CRM systems are hosted by the service provider and can be accessed for as little as $10/month per user.
The cost of training
The majority of commercially available systems come with a plethora of free training materials, such as videos, tutorials, and articles. It is common for a large knowledge base to contain documentation on frequently asked questions and common troubleshooting problems. Some CRM vendors even include user onboarding and training as part of their packages, allowing your team to begin reaping the benefits of the software as soon as it is installed.
With a customized solution, this is not the case at all. It’s unlikely that the developers will create a library of videos or tutorials for your team to use as a reference point. To obtain training materials, you’ll either have to create them yourself or pay the developers extra to do so. In addition, if your team has any questions about how to use the software along the way, don’t expect the developers to be available to answer them whenever they are required to do so. (See also point #5)
Updates to software
Software updates are an unavoidable part of everyday life. If you want your systems to continue to run smoothly, you must update them from time to time in order to fix bugs and improve the usability of certain features. If you don’t update them, your systems will become unusable. However, if you hire a software development company to create a customer relationship management system for you, they will not provide free updates, if they do at all.
Most developers will fix bugs for free for a limited period of time, but it is simply not feasible for a developer to continue to update the software for free indefinitely due to the cost of doing so. Your business’s requirements and client base will grow over time, and you’ll want a CRM environment that can scale with you. In the background of any off-the-shelf CRM solution will be a team of developers working to roll out updates on a daily basis—a service that will be included in the subscription price.
Customized CRM packages necessitate the use of hosting and support personnel in order to keep the software up and running. The mere thought of these expenses would make the majority of business owners shudder.
Inconsistent user interface
There is something to be said for having a customer relationship management system (CRM) that is familiar and intuitive to your employees. The user interface (UI) and capabilities of a custom-built CRM, on the other hand, can differ significantly from those of other leading CRM offerings.
Are your contacts and leads in the places where they ought to be? Is it straightforward to log and record a phone call? What do you think about scheduling appointments and sending out reminders to existing clients? These should be in consistent, easy-to-find locations throughout the facility.
A long history of trial and error, user studies, and feedback has gone into the development of high-quality off-the-shelf CRM packages. It’s important to remember that the consistency of aesthetics and usability is a significant part of what you are paying for. When developing an in-house custom solution, you must go through the process of trial and error. Given the possibility that some software developers will simply base your customized CRM on an already successful application on the market, why not forego the developer altogether and use an already successful product?
Tech support is number five.
Another important aspect of customer relationship management systems to consider is the availability of live support. Most customer relationship management (CRM) companies offer multiple levels of technical support, allowing business owners to choose from a variety of options to meet the needs of their customers, including phone support, live chat support, and email support.
If you want your team to be supported indefinitely with a custom CRM, you’ll have to pay a premium for this service. In-house investigation of bug reports will be required in this case. Hosting the CRM will be an additional expense, and it will introduce its own set of support variables.
Pre-existing CRMs relieve the business owner of these responsibilities and allow management to concentrate on their core products or services rather than worrying about the upkeep and support of an entire application and hosting infrastructure.
The act of re-inventing the wheel
Businesses that use an existing customer relationship management system (CRM) can benefit from the company’s research and development, engineering expertise, and trial and error. Furthermore, most off-the-shelf CRMs today include a plethora of add-ons that allow you to personalize the interface while still maintaining an intuitive user interface. In short, there are pre-existing software options that allow you to have the impression that your company has a customized solution without having to build one from scratch yourself.
Custom vs. off-the-shelf CRM: Which is better for your business?
At the end of the day, any application, whether developed in-house or purchased as a premade, necessitates the allocation of resources for support, both locally and remotely. A custom CRM, on the other hand, necessitates a significantly higher initial investment than a commercially available solution.
Custom CRM development necessitates not only a significant initial cash outlay, but also a significant ongoing financial and personnel outlay for bug fixes, support, and training as well as ongoing maintenance. If your company’s requirements can be met by a pre-existing package, the majority of IT professionals would advise choosing that option.