Are you familiar with the term CRM? If yes, then very well, if no, then no worries. The simplest definition of a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) is an automated tool that can help a business to run operations and have sharp insights about the customers to work on improvements and continue the parts where excellence has already been achieved.
There are many ready-to-use CRMs available in the market, and you might have heard a lot of names as well, such as SAP, Salesforce, Sugar CRM, Freshworks, and many more. However, these off-the-shelf CRMs are mostly meant to work with larger setups (with the exception of a few) or need customizations to fit into organization-specific procedures.
These various ready-to-use (sort of) CRMs come with various pricing options, and the increase in the number of users in an organization or the desired features in a CRM often leads to an increase in the price points. Keeping the changing business needs in view, one might consider having a custom CRM built to cater to the business niche and not incur hidden costs. If you are also looking for getting a custom CRM built for an organization of any scale, it is important to understand what are the factors that contribute to your custom CRM cost. Also, how they can or cannot be manipulated to keep your cost within your own limitations.
So, should you invest your money building a custom CRM or getting a third-party solution? In this article we'll briefly review the main benefits and drawbacks of each of these approaches.
Outline your requirements
Regardless of the final decision, you are going to take, the first step is to outline your requirements. You should have your business requirements outlined and prioritized as well to make a logical decision between buying an existing CRM or having a custom CRM built for yourself.
Draw a comparison
When you have all the requirements listed and prioritized, study the available CRM options and establish the gap between your desired requirements and available features. If a readily available solution is available within your budget limits, then there is no need to re-engineer.
Evaluate the main features
Once you have requirements and gap analysis available, approach vendors to give you pricing for a CRM that fulfills those gaps, and address your business-specific goals. Factors that will contribute to adding more bucks to your custom CRM may include:
- Technology. Make sure the technology underlying the custom CRM is affordable. What makes technology affordable? Simply putting forward, the technical resources in that technology should be readily available and should not be very expensive. As a starting point, you should not be targeting to embed artificial intelligence into CRM as an example.
- Scope of Work. Try to stay focused in terms of business scope or the function scope to have a stable CRM built. The larger the scope, the higher the price point. So you can only start with the modules or features that are actually required to sustain your commercial strength in the market.
- Analytics. Higher the complexity of analysis, or business-specific dashboards needed out of a CRM, the higher the expected cost to build these features. More graphs, analysis charts, tables, or complex calculations to work on cross-department data will keep on multiplying the cost factors.
- Third-Party Software Integration. Another factor that can further complex the scope of work is the desire to integrate current third-party software to integrate and work seamlessly with the custom CRM. Even though you may find API or any other form of such integrations but yet it will add more custom development hours and cost to the overall work.
- Cloud Integration. You can opt for any of the approaches between having the CRM on local storage within the office premises (old school of thought and not recommended for people on the go, such as sales teams, etc.). The method is to go for cloud-based CRM development. It gives them the freedom to access the features from anywhere. Regardless of where the CRM is hosted, access is unlimited, because it is not limited to a building or machine space. However, cloud computing is a relatively new term and incurs more costs than having the CRM on your local network.
- Automated Marketing Tools Integration. You may also wish to embed features such as email marketing, SMS marketing, or third-party extensions that you were already using for promotional marketing campaigns. As mentioned before, third-party integrations may get tricky and add more bucks to the custom CRM price.
- Mobile Application Development. Having a mobile application for a seamless experience of the custom CRM can be a cherry on top and will cost additional bucks as well. The cost will be less than the base CRM software, though, but in terms of the overall package, the development company will charge an additional amount for the mobile application.
- Vendor’s familiarity with business domain. While this is of great value and importance to have a custom software development vendor who has actual experience working with similar business requirements before. While it will be a confidence booster for you to consider such a software development partner, some vendors will definitely raise their price point, keeping the same edge in view.
The selection of a reliable custom software development company is one major critical factor that has to be well thought out and backed with evident reasons for selection. There are factors that you must look for in the custom development software company and ensure to establish trust before making a huge investment. An experienced custom software development company will help you to keep the right direction to meet the business objectives with the development of custom CRM and also keep the development cost within your limitation without compromising the quality of work and lifetime of the custom-developed CRM.
There can be other factors impacting a custom CRM cost such as economy or technology trends, and rapid/unplanned changes in the requirements, but these are the factors that are not in your own control; hence, the impact is unpredictable.