At a time where the market for all kinds of businesses is saturated and extremely competitive, running and maintaining a profitable business is very challenging. To generate higher revenues and expand your customer base, it is crucial that you prioritise customer satisfaction. A properly implemented custom CRM software will help you achieve that and much more.
In this article, we will talk about what CRM is, why it is important, and how you can successfully implement a CRM system within your organisation for boosting profits and cutting costs.
What Is CRM?
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an amalgamation of various steps that a business must take to make sure that their existing and potential customers are ready to place their trust in the services provided to them. If you want to score maximum customer satisfaction points, you need to come up with the perfect mix of strategies that will fortify your business relationships with your customers.
Over the last few years, the definition of CRM has evolved to become more all-encompassing. Modern CRM systems are computerised and cover a wider range of business processes. While the main goal of a CRM system is improving customer service, it also takes care of your sales and marketing needs. With an efficient CRM system, you can integrate your business processes and understand consumer behaviour in a better manner.
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Key Components of a Typical Computerised CRM System
Before we delve into the various benefits of creating a custom CRM system, let’s take a look at what a typical CRM software solution would look like. In this section, we discuss seven key components that a CRM system has, some (or all!) of which you might want for your organisation as well.
1. Customer Service
This is the first and most obvious feature that all CRM systems must be equipped with – it’s in the name! It involves the collection, organisation, and retrieval of all kinds of data related to an organisation’s customers. This data may include your customers’ personal details, spending patterns, frequent inquiries, complaints, and other relevant information. With the right CRM software, you can also automate the collection of customer data from external sources such as their public social media, email, or other online sources.
This data is utilised by not only the customer service department but also other personnel, such as sales and marketing, to improve the overall purchasing experience for current and potential customers. This critical customer data is meant to help your business close deals with existing clients as well as give them reasons to stick by your brand in the future as well.
2. Workflow Automation
Every business has a certain flow of carrying out its activities. Specific departments are assigned to perform certain tasks. Some of these tasks might overlap amongst departments.
For example, let us suppose that your sales personnel are assigned to fill certain customer contact information forms. Similarly, you have asked your customer service representatives to collect contact information from every customer who calls in to register a complaint. You are essentially telling two different people to gather the same information. (This is an oversimplified scenario; imagine the damage this redundancy would do on a much larger scale!) You could instead have a shared dataset that both sales and customer service personnel can contribute to and retrieve data from when needed.
To avoid repetition or redundancy, businesses often come up with workflow automation strategies. Computerised CRM systems help define a proper workflow and automate certain processes (e.g. assigning tasks, scheduling meetings) that allow a business’s workflow to be streamlined successfully and efficiently.
The main aim of this activity is to cut costs and save employees’ precious time which can then be redirected towards more important business activities.
3. Marketing Automation
One major goal that tops the agenda for every single business is: making a sale. In order to make a successful sale, however, you need to put in efforts to make your target market realise why they need your products or services. This process of convincing your potential customers to buy what you are selling is the essence of marketing.
With a CRM system, your marketing department can access the customer database and extract relevant information, such as contact information and areas of interest. With that data, your marketers will be able to come up with the best possible marketing strategies. For example, they will be able to approach each potential customer most effectively. They can also learn which of your offerings have been popular among which segments of the market.
With a well-developed CRM system, you can not only figure out how to approach and retain different audiences and win their loyalty, but also automate certain marketing activities such as email marketing and social media management. On top of that, the reporting and analytics tools that come along with the CRM system will help you measure the success of your marketing efforts.
4. Lead Management
A key part of a CRM system is to keep track of potential leads so that maximal efforts can be put in to ensure their successful conversion. The three key business areas that are directly involved in effective lead management are marketing, sales, and customer service.
Marketing and lead management often go hand in hand. This collaboration can be achieved with the help of a custom CRM system. A successful marketing campaign attracts the target audience towards your offerings and identifies potential leads. Lead management involves catering to these potential customers’ needs, answering any questions they may have about your products or services, and fortifying their trust in your brand. Essentially, it is an activity via which you can follow up on people who have expressed an interest in your business’s offerings.
5. Sales Automation
With a CRM system in place, the lead management activity can forward the carefully curated potential leads directly to the sales department. Now comes the task of conducting the actual sale itself.
The sales department must have immediate access to certain information that it may have to provide to customers at any point throughout the sales process. For example, sales agents should be aware of the communication history for each customer and know about their past purchases so that they can provide a personalised buying experience to said customer. They should also be able to maintain a proper record of and, later, track the sales that they make. This makes the offering of post-sales services smoother as well, resulting in higher customer satisfaction. Access to relevant data allows sales agents to identify potential revenue generation opportunities by forecasting future sales.
6. Human Resource Management
To run your business successfully, you must manage all your resources – including human resource – efficiently. It is important that all your employees, especially those who are part of your sales, marketing, and customer service departments, are not only aware of their individual responsibilities but also know how to coordinate with each other on every project.
With CRM software, you can keep track of where each resource stands as part of the entire customer relationship management process. You can keep an eye on which resources would be best suited for certain tasks, and monitor how they perform in their assigned roles. The system will help you discover any redundancies so you can reassign resources to more important or suitable tasks. Thus, with a CRM system, you can carry out effective people management and lead your business to operational efficiency and growth.
7. Reporting and Analytics
Any business that wishes to succeed must keep a strict check on all its activities. There needs to be a way to track said activities and ensure that they are producing results that are expected of them. For this purpose, organisations need to incorporate reporting and analytics tools that will help monitor their business processes.
With a CRM system, all of your key departments will be integrated and synchronised. You will have central data stores that allow the sharing of data between relevant departments. A CRM will provide you with a platform where you can produce consolidated reports with useful visualisations that allow you to track multiple aspects of your business’s performance in one place. These include monitoring of marketing and sales goals, lead generation and curation, and customer behaviour and responses.
These data can then be analysed using custom tools that are developed with a thorough understanding of the nuances of your business. With the right data analytics component integrated within your CRM system, you can use your current and past data to improve your business processes in the future.
Why Invest in Custom CRM Software
While there are a number of off-the-shelf CRM solutions available in the market, there are various reasons why you might prefer a custom CRM system over ready-made ones.
1. The Bespoke Experience
No matter what kind of off-the-shelf software you choose, most of it is always loaded with a vast array of features and functionalities. Most users have no idea how to utilise such software to its full potential. Sometimes, the extra features end up confusing users by overcomplicating the simplest of activities. There is also a possibility that this type of software is unable to cater to certain users who have very specific requirements – they are simply not enough! All this holds for off-the-shelf CRM solutions too.
With a custom CRM system, you are the boss. You can clearly communicate your particular requirements to your chosen software development partner. Their dedicated team of software developers will make sure to create a system that fits your organisation’s needs to a T. A reliable development team will always coordinate with their clients regarding the various business functions so that they understand your business needs well. They will then expertly translate these needs into working software. This way, your custom CRM system will have no unnecessary features and will be simple and straightforward enough for your team to use.
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2. Business Process Efficiency and Synchronisation
Every company is unique – your organisation’s business processes may be very different from those of your competitors. There are certain parts of an automated computerised system that your employees might have a hard time picking up and adjusting to, such as unnecessary functionality or overcomplicated UI/UX design. Sometimes, businesses already have separate automation systems implemented in a select few departments. Furthermore, an off-the-shelf system may not be able to offer the right inter-department integration capabilities. In such a case, a custom CRM system would be the perfect solution.
With CRM customization, you can take care of not only your customers’ needs in a better manner but also allow your employees to get accustomed to a simpler system than other readily available CRM suites. You can pick and choose which departments and processes you would like to computerise or automate and what level of access should be granted to each of them. The new system would also allow your chosen amount of interconnectivity amongst various departments. A custom CRM solution can be developed keeping in view your employees’ existing workflows so that it takes them a minimal amount of time and effort to get used to the new system. Owing to the new central shared database, many redundant tasks could then be automated.
Thus, custom CRM solutions are guaranteed to lead to higher efficiency as the newly interlinked departments would be able to easily collaborate and always stay in perfect sync.
3. Time and Cost Efficiency
Oftentimes, trying to force an off-the-shelf system to work according to your unique business needs results in a hefty amount of spending. Businesses end up compromising on key aspects, such as inadequate features or implementation complexities. Large-scale ready-made CRM solutions may not be the most suitable choice for businesses of certain sizes.
With custom CRM software, you can cut down costs by restricting the functionality of the new system and requesting only those features that you need to implement within your organisation. You can also avoid the pay-per-user hassle that most ready-to-use CRMs offer. A dedicated software partner will ensure the customisation of your system such that it is easily and economically scalable in the future, and can adapt to a varying number of users. This way, you will be able to get your hands on an uncomplicated system at minimal costs.
Furthermore, when your CRM system is developed while keeping your employees’ needs and capabilities in mind, the implementation and user training process will go smoothly and save you a lot of time that may otherwise be wasted in trying to make employees switch to a complex off-the-shelf solution.
4. Customised View of Reporting and Analytics
For many organisations, their different kinds of business processes are dependent on a variety of internal and external data sources, tools, and plugins. This makes reporting and analytics very tricky. Off-the-shelf CRM solutions might not be able to make a wide variety of tools and technologies work smoothly with each other. As a business owner or manager, you can probably see where I am going with this one.
Having a software provider build a custom CRM system for your organisation will make things much simpler for you. You can discuss with your provider any integrations that they must take into account. When they design the new system with these requirements in mind, it will be much easier for you to generate custom reports and conduct advanced analysis. You can ask for custom-built dashboards and report-generating tools that can work with multiple data sources and types.
5. Special Focus on Security
CRM systems are meant to handle a lot of sensitive data, such as customer interaction and sales information. Therefore, a standard off-the-shelf CRM solution comes with in-built security features. However, not all systems are equipped to deal with any specific security requirements or set to update their security protocols.
With a customizable CRM, you can ask your software partner to develop a system with your preferred security measures in mind. They will focus their attention on areas that you feel are most vulnerable to security threats and risks. A professional software partner will also sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) for maximum protection of any data you may be required to hand over to them throughout the custom CRM development process.
How to Build a Custom CRM Solution from Scratch
The first step to building a CRM system is identifying your business needs. Prepare a list of goals that you are looking to achieve with the new software system and how you will achieve them.
Depending on what your organisation needs, you can pick from three main types of CRM systems:
- Operational CRM: This type of CRM system focuses mainly on the automation of business processes such as sales, marketing, and customer service. It provides a platform for businesses to streamline their processes and make them more efficient.
- Analytical CRM: This one is useful for organisations that are looking for a CRM solution that will allow them to collect (sometimes from multiple sources) all the data related to their customers and thoroughly analyse it. Using these analytics, they can judge the effectiveness of their sales and marketing campaigns and, consequently, improve the quality of service they provide to their customers.
- Collaborative CRM: As the name suggests, this type of CRM system gives an organisation the ability to synchronise the customer data that is collected from various channels across all relevant departments, such as sales and marketing, so that the business can eventually serve its customers in a much better manner.
After you have picked the right type of CRM system that would suit your business needs perfectly, you must further specify the exact features that you would want your software to have.
You also need to recognise any budget constraints that you may have. If you remain unsure of how much money you can afford to spend on the creation of a custom CRM system, you might end up having to compromise on the quality or completeness of your product.
Next comes the development phase. In order to create your own CRM software, your in-house technical team might prove insufficient in terms of skills, time, manpower, or all three factors. Thus, choosing a trustworthy software partner would be the best way to go.
A Software Partner You Can Rely On
If you would like to reap the many benefits of having a custom CRM application implemented in your organisation, GoodCore is the perfect development partner for you!
Once you have chosen a CRM development company, you can discuss with them your specific business and technical requirements for your CRM system. Reliable software companies have a team of skilled analysts, UI/UX designers, and developers who will take care of all aspects of development, quality assurance, and project management.
You can discuss with your software partner the initial design that you have in mind for your custom CRM system. Using the blueprints – wireframes – from the design phase, the software engineers and developers will take on the task of replicating and bringing to reality a working system according to your exact requirements.
Upon completion of the development phase, the testing and quality assurance team will take over and check whether or not the new CRM system is ready to use. They will check the software for any bugs and make sure to fix them before the new system can be implemented across your organisation. Since the software is meant to handle critical information, appropriate care must be taken to implement backup and/or restore measures in case of a fault.
Now comes the implementation phase, where the CRM system may be rolled out afresh or integrated with an existing system. In most cases, it is recommended that the rollout be carried out in phases so that regular business activities are not adversely affected. In any case, the software partner must ensure safe and secure data migration. Depending on the type of services you opt for, the software partner might even offer post-implementation training along with periodic maintenance and upgrades.
Without an effective CRM strategy and custom CRM software implemented within your organisation, your business may not have a fighting chance within the competitive market. You must recognise the shortcomings in your business strategies and address them appropriately. A custom-built CRM system will help you to monitor and organise multiple operational areas of your business, such as sales, marketing, customer service, and HR.
If you have decided to build your own CRM system for your business, you must be aware of the many advantages that you will achieve, such as effective marketing campaigns and improved ROI, effective people management, and a noticeable increase in positive customer relationships. Therefore, it is crucial to partner with a software provider who listens to your requirements with CRM software development that caters to your specific needs.