Whether you run a psychic call center that charges by the minute or you’re a plastics component manufacturer, the secret to a healthy relationship with your customers is good management. A customer relationship management (CRM) system helps you handle interactions with your current or future customers, whether they be individual consumers or other businesses.
Companies in virtually every industry can benefit from incorporating a CRM platform into their business. The goal of this kind of system is simple: improve customer retention and ultimately increase sales conversions. CRM platforms achieve this through gathering and analyzing customer data in order to glean insights into how well marketing, sales or customer services processes are working.
CRMs have been around for a while, but new technology is advancing their capabilities and adding flexibility for businesses. There are four primary types of CRM platforms, each designed to perform a unique function. Strategic CRMs are focused on creating a customer-centric workplace that attracts and keeps profitable customers. Analytical CRMs analyze extensive amounts of data from various sources using different analytical techniques to develop informed strategies. Operational CRMs focus on automating core operational functions including marketing, sales and customer service. And collaborative CRMs focus on optimizing communication and data sharing across groups or departments. These categories are not cut and dry, and your CRM can be shaped and molded to fit into several types.
Regardless of the role or roles that you need your CRM system to play in strengthening your company’s productivity, finding the right system won’t be an easy search. In many cases, businesses turn to custom CRM development whether than going with one of the pre-packaged options on the market today, but is it really the best choice?
Choosing Custom CRM Development
There are many turnkey CRM solutions on the market, each offering a host of common features and a few unique approaches to managing your customers, so why should you spend the time and energy to develop a custom platform for you company?
Turnkey solutions are made for the mass market and attempt to be a one-size-fits-all product that can serve many different kinds of businesses. For that reason, their CRM software is chocked full of all sorts of features that you may or may not find useful. These features raise the cost of using the platform, but if you don’t need these particular features, your costs aren’t resulting in added value.
Custom CRM development allows you to do a lot more with your investment. You have the freedom to choose which departments and processes you wish to improve and automate, and you can better integrate and manage the other programs your business already uses. You can guarantee that you’ll be able to integrate with every software you need because your CRM will be built from scratch.
Within your business, your custom CRM will help you improve internal communications by helping you to centralize all information in one database. It gives you a sturdy foundation to scale and build on additional applications as you see fit that can all work together as one enterprise system.
Choosing to invest in custom CRM development does mean of course that you’ll be paying for software development services up front, but you won’t need to pay to use the system once it’s created, saving you money over time. You can have as many users on the platform or features as you want without paying any extra fees as you would with a SaaS company.
Creating Your CRM System
A CRM platform can look pretty different from company to company, depending on what its intended purpose is and the kinds of capabilities it needs to have to get the job done. Your CRM could be used to automate workflows, perform statistical analysis, plan and orchestrate business processes, share data or streamline communication channels. You may even need to develop a system for a unique industry- or company-specific purpose.
In any system, though, there are some must-have features most companies need in order to truly optimize their marketing, sales and customer service processes. Consider these as you plan your CRM development.
Contact Management: Creating customer profiles an essential function of any CRM. This is where you find the most important data for analysis. Depending on your needs, you should be able to store names, contact information, addresses, company details, shopping habits and other relevant activity.
Task Management: Broadly speaking, you should be able to track and manage your processes and the tasks that make them up. You can track your marketing campaigns, receive reminders for sales tasks and automate certain sequences as you desire.
Reporting and Analytics: The value of a CRM is in its ability to improve your customer relations through strategic analysis and insights. You can create a system that analyzes and reports on your data in a way that is most helpful to you. Different departments may need data to be configured differently to generate the most accurate reports, and with your own system, you can really make reporting and analytics capabilities your own.
Mobile Accessibility: In this day and age, if you’re going to make a web application to support the processes of your business, you would be remiss to not make it mobile-friendly. This is especially vital for sales representatives who are always on the move, and will help you improve sales performance.
Interaction Management: Track and save all the communication between you and your customers and prospects including email, website, phone and other communication channels. Keeping detailed records of customer interactions will make internal transitions easier and will improve your customer services capabilities.
Lead Tracking: Track leads through the sales process, and have a straightforward, organized overview of your whole sales pipeline at your fingertips. With this feature, you can learn more about how leads are converting as well as any potential weaknesses in your pipeline.
Invoicing: If you’re focused on sales, you need invoicing options to complete the sales process. You can also have other capabilities including status tracking and a complete history of your sales for accounting and finance.
Document Management: Have one centralized location for storing all relevant information, and easily share it among groups or departments. You can even collaborate together on documents and keep a document history detailing revisions. Centralizing documents and other information into one repository will greatly improve employee performance and productivity.
There are many other features you can make sure to include in your custom CRM software such as email marketing automation, calendars or customer service chatbots, It’s up to you and how you believe the needs of your company can best be met.
Work with the Experts
CRM development can be a big investment for your company, but if it’s done right, you’ll definitely see the benefits of creating a program that is the perfect fit. It’s hard to find a downside to gaining a better understanding of your customers and learning how to build stronger relationships with them, but software development has a way of getting out of hand if you aren’t careful. It’s important that you find the right software partners that will take the time to truly grasp your vision and understand your business processes.
Our custom application development services bring our clients more efficiency and accessibility than typical SaaS solutions. By working closely with project stakeholders, Vice Software is able to deliver assets that put value with the business and help you see more out of your investment. Whether you just want your marketing and sales teams to work more collaboratively or you need a robust system that can provide strategic planning insights, our team has the knowledge and experience to develop the tools that will lead to your growth and scalability.
Interested in taking the plunge into a custom CRM development project? With just a little information about your idea, Vice Software can you started with a quote today!