There are thousands of off-the-shelf customer relationship management (CRM) systems, but they are designed to serve the needs of many. If your business model is uncommon, creating custom CRM software may be a better option, but will require you to assess your business needs and budget, identify must-have features, and work with developers. You also have to conduct quality assurance checks, software testing, and periodic system maintenance.
In this article, we outline the steps in creating a custom CRM system that’s built specifically according to your business needs:
1. Assess Your Business Goals, Requirements & Budget
Before anything else, assess your business needs and determine if you really need a custom solution. Think about the business goals you want to achieve. You might be thinking of increasing your sales quote or reducing your operational costs through automation. Weigh the pros against the cons before making a decision to start building your custom CRM.
|Tailored solutions||Steep cost of creation|
|Includes specific types of automations that match your business operations||Additional expenses for training|
|No monthly or annual licensing fees||No free software updates|
|Better analytics||Inconsistent UI (user interface)|
|Data security||Cost of in-house or live tech support|
Depending on what you want to achieve, determine the type of CRM you will build. Aside from the basic CRM features like contact management and deal management, what else do you want to include in your solution?
Think about the specific CRM features and capabilities that will help you hit your business goals and make your sales process smoother. You can include features such as sales forecasting, specific CRM integrations, or a knowledge base.
Another factor you have to consider is budget. Carefully think and decide how much you are willing to spend on CRM development. Request consultations and compare quotes from several providers. Choose a contractor that matches your budget and can deliver your desired specifications.
2. Develop a Functional CRM System Design
The second step is to develop a functional CRM system design that creates a seamless user experience (UX). Once it is approved, your designer will move on to the user interface (UI). This includes all the visual and interactive elements of your CRM’s interface. The objective of this stage is to come up with a working prototype of your custom solution.
3. Start Programming, Conduct QA & Test
Present the CRM system design and prototype to your development team to start the programming phase. At this point, the team should already have chosen a framework to build the design upon. Once they approve the deadlines and road map for the project, they can begin building the software architecture and coding process.
To ensure that your custom CRM has no defects and bugs, conduct quality assurance (QA) and testing for the departments that will use the software. If issues are found, the engineers will fix them and continue developing the system until you are confident in its level of usability and functionality.
4. Launch the CRM & Train Your Staff
Introduce the new CRM to your staff and gradually incorporate it into your company’s workflow. You will need to complete the necessary database integration and install the new system on all your company’s devices. Aside from that, you have to properly train your staff on how to use it and collect user feedback to determine if any areas need improvement.
5. Constantly Monitor, Maintain & Update Your CRM System
Don’t expect your custom CRM to run smoothly right after launching. You may find out that you don’t need certain features or learn that there are missing functions that you need to add. Monitor the system for errors and bugs, and make constant adjustments and improvements based on the feedback collected from your staff.
When Custom CRMs Are Recommended
Some companies prefer building a custom solution over spending a lot of time customizing existing features. If your business has a complex sales model or has very specific requirements that out-of-the-box solutions cannot completely fill, a custom CRM is a good fit for you. However, it is not recommended for small companies, especially for those with limited budgets for CRM software, training, and maintenance.
Who Custom CRMs Are Best For
- Organizations with specific CRM requirements: Some organizations, like schools, healthcare companies, and financial technology firms, require very specific regulatory, data storage, integration, and compliance features. Contact and deal management features offered by ready-made CRMs do not address these needs perfectly.
- Businesses with lean operations that require very few CRM features: Ready-made CRMs offer packages that cater to various business sizes and include many features. If you need just a handful of those features and don’t want to pay for the others you won’t use, then it is a good idea to turn to a custom CRM.
Who Custom CRMs Are Not a Good Fit For
- Small businesses with tight budgets for CRM software: The upfront cost for developing a custom CRM is quite steep, making it an impractical choice for small businesses with limited financial resources. If you fall into this category, we recommend taking a look at our list of the best free CRM software.
- Companies with limited training and tech support resources: Custom CRMs require in-house staff for onboarding and on-call technical service. If your company does not have the proper equipment and staff to manage these, it is better to pay for an external platform that provides training and tech support along with their service packages.
- Teams that prefer to use proven and tested CRMs: A newly launched custom CRM has not yet been time-tested, frequently updated, and completely debugged. Ready-made solutions—like the ones in our list of top small business CRMs—are a better choice for teams that prefer to use solutions developed by an established brand.
Custom CRM Costs
The total cost of a custom CRM system depends on various factors, including the total number of users, set of features in the package, cost of deployment and support, and the service rates of the web development company. It is also influenced by the business process, time it takes to complete, and the complexity and difficulty of the project.
There are generally three types of modules created for CRMs:
- Sales module: Automates routine tasks for your sales team and helps them close more deals.
- Marketing module: Automates the marketing process to help you effectively reach and engage with your target audience.
- Customer support module: Automates the tasks of the support team to improve their efficiency and assistance quality.
According to a report by Focus on Excellence, these are the average costs associated with the development of each CRM module:
Advanced sales analytics
$8,000 to $10,000
Sales planning and forecasting
$8,000 to $11,000
Accounts and lead management
$35,000 to $40,000
$5,000 to $8,000
$7,000 to $9,000
Marketing campaign management
$9,000 to $12,000
$5,400 to $6,000
$7,000 to $9,000
Help desk and agent console
$21,000 to $30,000
Custom CRM Examples & Alternatives
Now that you know the steps in creating a custom CRM and the costs associated with it, you can now determine if it is right for your business or not. The next move for you is to choose a contractor that will work on your software.
Below are some examples of custom CRM development service providers:
Gigasource is a product development company that works on a wide range of technologies, including custom-built CRMs. They offer solutions for various industries covering finance, education, healthcare, media, transportation, communication, public sector, automotive, retail, and manufacturing. You may book a live consultation to request a quote.
Chetu is a software development company that provides businesses with tailored software solutions for various industries like healthcare, banking, and real estate. Its custom CRM solutions include process automation, mobile app, and cloud-based installation. You may request a consultation with a software expert to obtain a quote.
ScienceSoft is an information technology (IT) consulting and development company that serves dozens of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, retail and wholesale, oil and gas, logistics, utilities, and professional services. Its custom CRM development services cover business analysis, software development, quality assurance, risk management, data migration, user training, production rollout, and support. You may speak with its consultant to discuss your CRM needs and to request a quote.
Avenga is a technology consultancy and solutions provider for a wide range of industries, including pharma and life sciences, insurance, financial services, automotive, and real estate. It also specializes in developing, implementing, migrating, and supporting custom and scalable CRM solutions. You may get in touch with its experts to talk about your CRM requirements and ask for a quote.
Space-O is a software design and development company that specializes in custom and mobile solutions for industries like ridesharing, food and beverage, healthcare, real estate, delivery, event management, and taxi booking. It also develops sales and marketing automation, order processing, customer service, and returns and claims modules for custom CRM solutions. Book a free consultation to obtain a quote.
XB Software is an IT consulting and custom software development company for enterprises, logistics, real estate, manufacturing, education, and construction industries. Its custom CRM development services include software development, module development, system integration, off-the-shelf platforms customization, analytics solutions, and migration services. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your CRM requirements and to request a quote.
If you determine custom CRMs are too costly or complicated for your team, check out our list of the best free CRMs for small businesses:
Recommended Use Case
Best overall for small businesses needing a robust CRM with free and affordable plans
Free or $15 per user, per month
Best for businesses that want to integrate sales, marketing, and customer service systems
Free or $9.99 per user, per month
Best scalable, free CRM for unlimited users
Free or $45 per month
Best CRM for social media integration and inventory management
Free or $7 per user, per month
Best CRM with a built-in phone for in-app calling
Free or $19 per month
Best for companies that require supplier and distributor tracking solutions
Free or $8 per user, per month
*Based on annual pricing. Monthly billing is also available at slightly higher rates.
Need an off-the-shelf CRM solution with features you can alter according to your business needs? We have a guide to the top customizable CRM options. Also, read our article on the best white label CRMs if you’re looking for a solution you can rebrand and resell.
A custom CRM is recommended for businesses with unique requirements that off-the-shelf solutions cannot completely fulfill. However, it can be expensive and time-consuming to develop and implement a custom CRM. For these reasons, subscription-based solutions are often a better fit for businesses with a limited budget and resources for CRM software.
Are you looking for a free and scalable CRM solution? Freshsales is our top recommended free CRM for small businesses. It offers free and affordable plans that support an unlimited number of users. It also comes with lead management capabilities, email tools, marketing segmentation, sales forecasting, built-in phone, and 24/5 customer support via phone, chat, and email. Subscribe for free or test out its features by signing up for its 21-day free trial.
You May Also Like…
- Ready to outline your business strategy? Follow our step-by-step guide to creating a CRM strategy, which also includes a free downloadable worksheet.
- Know the difference between CRM and marketing automation tools by reading our ultimate guide to key sales technology.
- Not sure if you should commit to a CRM provider? Check out our article on how to choose a CRM solution, which also features a free interactive guide.