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Сustom CRM development: how it works and why it betters turnkey solutions

For today’s business, CRM software is a must. It registers the particulars of transactions and stores the results of customer communications: how they are moving along the sales funnel, what your clients are satisfied with and what their complaints are about. Also, it helps analyze the work of your teams and improve their performance. There are plenty of turnkey solutions in the market, most notably Hubspot, Salesforce, A2B, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Still, some companies prefer to outsource custom CRM development.

This article reveals why custom systems are better than turnkey ones and scrutinizes the peculiarities of the software development process.

Reading time: 9 minutes

Table of contents

    What is a CRM system

    CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a set of rules that a company holds fast to, in their interactions with the customers. For instance, ‘to call every person who has left a request for a call back within one hour’ or ‘to contact buyers two weeks following the deal to get their feedback’.

    CRM system is a piece of software for monitoring and registering customer interactions.  It helps:

    • sort things out in sales; 
    • automate business processes; 
    • increase customer loyalty;
    • develop convenient working conditions for the staff. 

    Who needs it and why

    In some cases, the implementation of CRM software does not bring tangible benefits. Thus, a company may be operating within a small circle of long-standing partners and does not engage much in attracting new ones. Yet, if you’re actively seeking new sales channels and running advertising campaigns, every lead counts. In order to accumulate customer data without busting the budget, you need CRM software.

    CRM systems are suitable for any area of business, but most often they are leveraged at:

    custom crm

    CRM software helps to:

    Retain customers

    All requests and calls go directly to CRM, so not a single lead will be lost. The story of the company’s relationships with customers is stored in the database, being wholly available to managers so that they can address it at all times in order to offer everyone what they need. 

    Bolster up sales 

    The CRM solution automates processes, and therefore managers have enough time to process every request. They learn more about their customers, making offers tailored to their specific needs. Customers appreciate their responsiveness and come back again, so the sales grow. 

    Arrange shared tasks

    In small companies, there is often no clear distribution of responsibilities, as almost any job can be done by anyone. The chief disadvantage of such a “versatile” approach is that it is not always possible to figure out who is in charge of what. The CRM software features tools for performing such shared tasks. 

    Track managerial performance

    A CRM software registers working hours. Using this tool, you can estimate how much time is spent on average solving various tasks, spot those employees who are just lounging around and redistribute the workload. 

    Increase transparency of business management

    You can highlight KPIs for each workflow, and the system will keep tracking them as well. In particular, once you introduce some new tool you are able to instantly assess its effectiveness using the recorded metrics.

    Collect analytics

    The system keeps a constant record of all data regarding the relationship with customers: how many customers are found at various stages of your sales funnel, at which stage the bulk of leads is dropped out, how long it takes from the first contact to concluding a deal. 

    Facilitate to reach deals 

    A CRM software shows at what stage of your sales funnel each lead is located now, which helps your manager “push” it further and close the deal. 

    Any large business is not able to operate properly without a CRM solution, as such a huge flow of information, tasks, and customers cannot be processed manually on time. Still, it matters a great deal for small businesses as well, since it helps reduce costs and make the most of their advertising budgets.  

    Now that we have discovered why we need to deploy CRM software, let’s figure out how to choose the right thing.

    Types of CRM systems

    With no strict classification around, CRM solutions in the main are divided by the level of their functionality into turnkey and custom solutions.

    Turnkey solutions are standardized products with limited functionality and no or little customization. They are designed to meet the demands of the majority of enterprises and do not allow to tailor a CRM to the logic of business processes of a particular company. 

    Custom CRM software is a product that is designed bearing in mind peculiar features and specifics of a particular business. Such systems are preferred by companies with fairly complex logic of internal processes.

    In the table below, we list all the differences between turnkey and custom CRMs.

    CRM software: Turnkey vs. Custom Ones

     Turnkey SolutionsCustom Software Development
    ⚙️Mode of operationThey implement a general scheme, without taking into account the demands of your company. They are designed to meet the needs of your business and operate accordingly.
    🖥UI convenienceA slew of extra features that complicate the interaction with the system.Only those features that you need, which helps you save time and money on training your staff.
    🔩Integration with other servicesCertain restrictions on integration with third-party services.Enables integration with other systems, such as messengers, IP telephony, 1C, document flow management applications, suppliers’ procurement systems, and others.
    ‍👨‍💼Adding usersYou have to pay for each new user in the system.An unlimited number of users can be added. When scaling up your business, you don’t have to pay for new employees.
    💰CostMonthly subscription fees apply.Operate with no monthly fees. The system is transferred entirely to the company.
    ✅Ease of useSome tools are rather hard to master without special instruction.Since such software depends exceptionally on the company’s business processes, its use is intuitive and user-friendly for the employees. Prior to the deployment, additional training is carried out.
    🛠CustomizationThe set of implemented features cannot be changed or modified.The set of implemented features can be changed or extended with the aid of the software development company, third-party programmers, or even your own in-house experts.

    What to choose: turnkey solution or custom software development?

    General-purpose CRM solutions are designed to be utilized by any business with standard processes. This is their principal merit and demerit at once — not every company operates in compliance with some general business scheme. 

    Turnkey solutions:

    • offer a standard set of capabilities;
    • have a low maintenance cost;
    • provide fast start-up.

    And that’s where the pros end. The monthly fee is seemingly small, however, the overall cost of customizing the solution and adding new users often comes at a price. Besides, you will not be able to fully reconfigure a turnkey solution for your specific demands: you will have to work with what you have got. 

    👍🏻 A turnkey solution is fine when you need to understand the principles of CRM solutions, figure out what useful functions are missing, and bear them in mind when developing a custom CRM.

    Custom CRM software is initially developed for a particular business, taking into account the subtleties of the company’s operations. You make your own decision upon what capabilities are to be implemented in your system and how exactly they will function. For instance, you are willing to offer a discount on every 11th order. This is a non-standard feature that a custom software development company would implement in the system code. With custom CRM development, you get only those features that you need, pay only once for the product, and use it without any limitations, whilst you can modify or change the system at all times if needs be. 

    👍🏻 Custom CRM software development will suit you when:

    • your company is growing and facing the necessity for scaling up;
    • solving routine tasks takes too much time;
    • you need a system for monitoring the performance of your employees. 

    It is a versatile tool that suits small, medium, and large businesses alike.

    How a custom CRM development is carried out

    Development companies arrange their design, development, and project management workflow in many diverse fashions. Let us describe the way CRM software is built up with Purrweb.

    Custom software development includes 5 stages:

    custom crm

    Now, let’s examine each stage in detail.

    Kick-off call

    We commence developing a custom CRM software with an introductory meeting — the sales manager introduces a customer to the project manager. They clarify the project particularities:

    • Objectives. The essence of the project put in one sentence, for example, “custom CRM software development for a Moscow construction company.”
    • The set of modules (roles and functions). Roles stand for the types of your future system users: sales personnel, administrators, operators, warehouse workers. They define their roles, describe their terms of reference, who does what. In particular, the functions of sales personnel include viewing the customer database, processing orders, printing documents.
    • Business processes. Next, they specify what processes need to be managed with the system.
    • Quantitative and qualitative indicators. They also identify the indicators by which a manager would assess the performance of the entire business and each particular employee.
    • Document flow. In this part, they determine the set and type of documents that need to be uploaded into the system, and reports that need to be downloaded from it. This helps ideate the peculiar features of the whole structure and relationships within the program.
    • Synchronization with third-party services. Almost every enterprise utilizes a number of information programs, so they specify which ones are going to be in use. 
    • Technological requirements. Here they choose a technological stack. They ensure that the developed system is technologically compatible with the company’s existing infrastructure. Thus, if the customer works on MS Windows, the CRM will not be compiled using technologies for Linux.

    Also, the manager asks for anti-references, that is for examples of design that the customer clearly dislikes. The collected data enables us to envisage what the system should be able to perform, how it should look and function. Next, the project manager brings together the development team, to convey to them the general idea and their specific tasks. The chief designer embarks on the project.

    Design

    We do not work according to SRS (Software Requirement Specification), for the best SRS is the design itself. This means that shortly after we have discussed the details of the custom software development, the design team starts to work.

    Unlike SRS, design is a part of the future product rather than a bundle of words put together in a strict structure. It is in design that we write down the user stories, shape up the structure of the application.

    In its essence, the design flow is split into 5 stages:

    1. Mind map. The designer draws a chart that displays the logic of the system and the main steps of their users, lays down the system navigation. The entire routine takes no more than 8-10 hours, however, it helps avoid a situation when the outcome differs from what the customer has been expecting. When the mind map is ready, the manager calls the customer to review the details. The designers make changes, if needs be, and move on to the next stage. 
    2. Wireframes. Out of the mindmap come wireframes. These are low-detail layouts, by dint of which the designer shows where the buttons and where the content will be placed. Once the customer approves them, they elaborate the visuals and move on to the concept. 
    3. Concept. This is a presentation in which designers demonstrate one principal application flow, in the case of CRM software, the procedure of working with a sales funnel. If the concept appeals to you, they get the remaining screens done. If not, they ask questions to clarify their task and proceed with another iteration of their working on the concept.
    4. Ready layouts. At this stage, every system screen is agreed upon with the customer and prepared for further development. 
    5. UI-kit. To facilitate the developers’ job and simplify the search for the desired button or icon, designers implement visual UI components. This saves time and reduces development costs.

    It is important to correctly explain the logic of the system to the developers so that the project’s output would materialize the conceived concept with military precision. 

    Development

    Custom CRM development with Purrweb is split into clearly defined sprints, with each sprint usually lasting for about two weeks. A customer is able to monitor the progress of the project and stays informed all through the process of its implementation.

    Upon thorough examination of the future system architecture, the team starts working with the chosen technological stack:

    • mobile apps — React Native;
    • web applications — React;
    • backend — NestJS.

    The development team consists of 5-7 members developing the CRM software. Each of them is in charge of their own area and is working on their own tasks, but together as a team they are responsible for achieving the sprint goal, that is to accomplish one or two features of the system. Such an approach allows keeping track of how time and budget are spent. Drawing on this data, we make a decision: to add some other features if we progress faster than expected or simplify some of them if we move ahead slower. 

    QA testing

    To assure the system quality, along with the development we carry out testing procedures, both manual and automated. The principal objective of the tests is to debug the code and check how the system works on various devices. In one sprint, the team develops a ready “chunk” of the system, whilst the tester is busy detecting errors in it. Hence, the bugs are fixed in real-time rather than being accumulated till the final release.  

    Release

    The system is put into operation, and the company’s staff starts using it. The software development is considered to be successfully completed. Now, the maintenance stage comes into action. We reserve some working time of a developer from the team that has been working on the product. They check for errors in the code, keep it updated, and fix bugs if any.

    The bottom line: why your business needs custom CRM development

    If you want your CRM software to fully meet the demands of your business and cope with every relevant task, the only winning strategy is to commission a custom CRM. This would allow you to consider all the requirements of your business. If you do not have your own development team, this job can be safely entrusted to a custom software development company

    When you commission the custom software development, you get a product with a user-friendly interface and no unnecessary frills. Your staff intuitively learns how to handle this system, since all its operation is based on the habitual business practices with your company. Instead of spending a great deal of time on instruction, you immediately start automating your business, by collecting analytics and improving customer interaction.

    Purrweb can help you with CRM software development. Our team incorporates 112 experts: developers, UI/UX designers, testers, copywriters, illustrators, and project managers. Therefore, we are able to solve any issue on the spot.

    Editor
    • Anton Kiryukhin
    Designer
    • Tatiana Kiseleva
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