Ready-Made CRM vs. Custom-Built: Which To Choose?

ready-made crm

Creating a website suggests numerous steps, in which you have to make a decision in favor of this or that direction and strategies.

Choosing a hosting solution, for example, determines the qualities of hardware your website will run on, the amount of resources you’ll have, the services you’ll have at your disposal (like managed hosting or after hours support), etc. The hosting provider (e. g. HostZealot) determines the specificity of your hosting solutions and the variables you can affect.

Besides determining where to host your website, you’ll also have to figure out numerous other aspects. One of these is the CRM system.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to an integrated set of software solutions and frameworks that allow you to build and maintain relationships with your customers. This includes managing, tracking, and storing information about your company’s current and potential customers, to further analyze and process it in order to constant improvements in this sphere.

When it comes to CRM, you can either choose a ready-made solution or build it fully from scratch. In the following, we want to see what benefits each of these approaches offers and in what case you should look for what. WIthout further ado, let’s dive in!

What is a CRM system?

Before we proceed to opting for either a ready-made CRM solution or a custom-built one, let’s refresh in our minds, what this whole CRM thing is generally about.

A CRM solution is a complex solution whose goal is to give you tools to manage relations with your customers in numerous aspects, including managing and analyzing customer interactions as well as collecting and storing relevant information throughout the customer lifecycle. A CRM system will allow you to effectively manage relations with your customers and analyze which of your strategies and approaches have a positive effect on sales growth.

There are following areas that are primarily covered by CRM:

  1. Contact management: A CRM system stores contacts of your customers including other relevant information, like specific contact details, communication history, and customer preferences.
  2. Sales management: With a CRM system, you have numerous instruments that allow you to track sales activities, manage sales pipelines, forecast sales, etc.
  3. Customer services: Complex CRM systems typically offer instruments to manage support interactions, including ticketing systems, help desks, and knowledge bases. This way your afterhours support can efficiently track requests of your customers and respond to them in a timely manner.
  4. Marketing automation: CRM systems typically offer tools that may allow you to automate numerous marketing processes, thus saving you from numerous monotonous tasks. This can be such automation tasks as email campaigns, social media management, and lead nurturing.
  5. Analytics and reporting: CRM systems also provide tools that allow you to analyze customer data and generate reports so you can get detailed insights into customer behavior, sales trends, as well as the effectiveness of your marketing strategies.
  6. Workflow automation: CRM solutions allow you to automate numerous business processes including follow-up emails, scheduling appointments, and updating customer records.
  7. Integration capabilities: CRM solutions offer rich capabilities on integration with other tools and solutions, including ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), email, social media platforms, and e-commerce solutions.

Types of CRM

CRM solutions can be also subdivided into a variety of types. These include:

  1. Operational CRM: The main focus of such systems is to automated and improve customer-facing business processes like sales, marketing, and service.
  2. Analytical CRM: The main focus of this type is about analyzing customer data so you can get valuable insights and use them for improving your business strategies.
  3. Collaborative CRM: Collaborative CRM solutions are those that help you set up efficient collaboration and communications within your business. These are particularly relevant for large businesses with numerous departments that need efficient ways of sharing relevant information.

Benefits of CRM

Using CRM systems offers the following benefits to businesses:

  1. Improved customer relations: CRM systems can make a significant positive contribution into the relations of you and your customers by means of providing efficient communication and analysis tools.
  2. Increased sales: The primary result of improved customer relations is the increase in sales achieved through applying efficient strategies and approaches with the help of your CRM.
  3. Enhanced customer retention: CRM systems allow you to track the life cycles of your customer relations, understanding which actions contribute and can potentially contribute to your customers using your services for a longer period.
  4. Efficient marketing: CRM systems allow you create targeted and personalized marketing campaigns that eventually lead to more positive feedback.
  5. Better data management: CRM systems offer centralized storage for storing important business data and the data of your customers. The relevant information can be then easily accessed, updated and used.

Ready-made CRM

Let’s start our analysis with ready-made CRM systems.

Today’s market offers various solutions for various cases. CRM is not an exception in this regard, with ready-made CRM solutions offering numerous benefits to its user. Here are some of them:

  1. Quick deployment: A ready-made CRM system can be deployed as quickly as possible. Creating your own solution will require a great deal of time and effort, while finding a suitable ready-made solution, acquiring it, installing and configuring it can be done relatively in no time.
  2. Cost-effectiveness: Hiring developers and paying them to create new solutions for you from scratch can require huge capital investments. Even if a ready-made solution is also mostly available for payment, this price is not comparable with the price of creating something from scratch.
  3. Proven reliability: Read-made CRMs have been here for a while, while their developers are engaged in constant improvement of the available solution. With all this, there generally are pretty few bugs and errors with present ones being constantly fixed.
  4. Ongoing support and updates: If it’s a ready made CRM solution, chances are its developers offer high-quality after hours support, so if anything, chances are they will be available to help you with your issue.
  5. Integration: Many ready-made CRMs offer default integration with a diversity of services, of available software solutions and tools, many of which are likely to be already used at your business. This liberates you from additional efforts of adapting the solution to your software ecosystem.
  6. Features rich: Ready made solutions from reliable developers tend to be rich in features, with latter being steadily improved while new ones are added.

Pitfalls to consider:

  • Limited customization: Since ready-made CRMs are made with an eye on a broad audience, chances are that you won’t find some very specific features that you won’t find some very specific features that you might need.
  • Subscription cost: With a ready-made option, you still have to consider subscription costs, which might be pretty high, with the necessity to pay every month.
  • Data ownership and privacy: Your business critical information is hosted by the CRM provider, so you can’t be 100% sure about its complete safety.
  • Overkill for small business: Ready-made CRM solutions may offer dozens of features. If we consider smaller businesses, these features may often be excessive so a small business will overpay not using the whole potential of the solution.

Custom-build CRM

A custom-built CRM may require a great deal of initial capital investment as well as the availability of professionals that could work on it. Nevertheless, in many cases it might be worth the investments and pay offer over time. Let’s see what you need to know about custom-built CRM.

  1. Tailored for your needs: You are building your own solution, so you can choose exactly what you want to be included in it, and what you don’t want. This way you can have perfectly tailored software that you won’t even have to master, knowing about everything you can do with it at once.
  2. Scalability: You are responsible for the development of the solution, so you can over time add new features to meet new needs of your projects, thus scaling the solution up at your discretion.
  3. Data control: You bear full responsibility over the security of your data. Your data is hosted on your servers and no third-parties have access to it, which potentially provides a higher level of security.
  4. Integration with the internal system: You develop your solution considering each and every aspect of your projects. This way you provide that it’s fully compatible with the tools and approaches you use – although it takes additional effort to integrate your custom-built CRM into your ecosystem.

Pitfalls to consider:

  • High initial cost: To create a custom CRM will require you to financially accompany the development of the solution before you can finally use it. This means that you won’t be able to create a custom-made CRM without a dedicated budget, which can be an obstacle, especially for young projects.
  • Time for development: You won’t be able to use the CRM until it’s developed enough for being used, and this can take up to several months or even years. If you need a CRM system right now, you might need to temporarily use a ready-made one even if you are developing your custom solution.
  • Maintenance and support: You’ll have to take care of maintenance supporting your CRM on your own and if anything happens, you won’t be able to count on some kind of external help and you’ll have to figure things out on your own.
  • Risk of failure: You’ll need to constantly work on your CRM, since it, as any software solution, potentially contains bugs and errors, which might eventually pop up. With a custom-built CRM system fixing of bugs and errors is fully under your responsibility and will require your own resources to be done.

Points to Consider

Here are a few important aspects you should consider when making up your mind whether to go for a ready-made or for custom-built CRM solution.

  1. Business size and complexity: Your needs are in many ways determined by the scale of your business. Smaller and simpler projects might have simpler require
  2. Budget: Consider both the long term expenses when deciding on a CRM system. Off the shelf CRMs may have costs but could end up being pricier, in the long run. On the other hand customized CRMs come with upfront expenses but might prove to be more cost effective over time.
  3. Time to market: If you make up your mind to create a custom-built CRM solution, you have to consider the fact that it may take a real while before you can actually use it. If time is of the essence and you need a solution, promptly opting for a made CRM is typically the way to go.
  4. Technical expertise: Building a custom on your own will require you to have a whole team of those who know how to do it. If your team lacks expertise in house a premade CRM will be simpler to set up and manage.
  5. Flexibility and control: If your business involves a series of very specific processes that need a custom approach, then a custom-built CRM will provide you with sufficient control and flexibility to adapt to any specific use case.

To Sum It Up

Both a ready-made CRM and a custom-built one can work great for your projects and cope well with their task. So, which one to choose is rather a question of the specificity of your business than of some general and unequivocal recommendation and depends on your very particular needs and possibilities.

A ready-made solution is quickly accessible, doesn’t need a big initial investment and is supported by the team of its developers.

A custom-built solution is in turn an epitome of flexibility, customization and control. However, you must have a solid reason to build it given that creating it will be a marathon, requiring solid technical investments and a team of professional developers. But it will eventually pay off, being ideally suitable for your projects and being full yours, so you won’t have to pay a regular subscription fee to use it.

The eventual choice is up to you, but you have to consider pros and cons of each option as well as your company’s needs and the resources that are at your disposal and are ready to invest in a CRM system.

We hope that now all aspects of choosing a ready-made vs. custom-built CRM solution are clear to you and you at least have a plan of what to do to make up your mind in this regard.

We hope that this article has been informative and helpful and wish you good luck in your digital ventures!

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