It’s not a secret that customers are the most valuable asset for companies in any business vertical. With business growth, there is an absolute necessity to have one central place where all the information about the leads and customers can be stored. Moreover, everyone on your team should have access to the information about every customer’s wants and needs and gain insight into how your business is running. Here is a CRM system that comes into play and helps your staff to be on the same page. Sounds impressive, right? Let’s find out the importance of CRM for businesses and the benefits of custom CRM development today.
What’s exactly a CRM software?
CRM stands for customer relationship management and refers to a software solution that helps to automate and manage relationships with your customers and prospect interactions. Moreover, it simplifies the sales and marketing departments to process the customer lifecycle. By organizing all the information about the customers and leads, it helps to better manage relationships, automate common processes, and monitor performance and productivity in a more efficient way. In addition to that, it helps to organize contacts, manage deals and tasks, automate workflows, track leads in the sales cycle, run and measure campaigns, and generate reports in one platform.
Types of CRM software
There are three types of CRM software solutions that meet different business needs. Let’s delve into details below:
Operational CRMs Software
Being the most common type of CRM, it helps businesses to manage their daily marketing, sales, and customer service operations. Not only do operational CRMs support the sales, marketing, and customer service functions within a company, but also they store information on customers, leads, and employees using a shared interface. This CRMs may include the next features:
- contact management
- lead scoring
- sales team automation
- marketing automation
Why should you use operational CRMs?
Here we have provided some cases in which you should opt for operational CRM solutions:
- if you want to save time on contact information organization and structuring;
- if there is a necessity to have a clear view of your customer’s activity;
- if you want to automate and update lead scores;
- if you should manually assign each task to your sales team;
- if you want to scale your email marketing efforts;
- If you want to save time on sales and marketing.
Analytical CRMs Software
This type of CRM used if there is a need to analyze deeply the customer’s information and sales data and make better data-driven business decisions. Not only do analytical CRM systems support organizational back-office operations and analysis, but also they deal with all the operations and processes related to the customers. They may include the following features:
- customer analytics
- marketing analytics
- sales analytics
- service analytics
- channel analytics
Why should you use analytical CRMs?
Here are some use cases in which you should choose analytical CRM solutions:
- if you want to better understand why customers decide to buy your products or not;
- if there is a necessity to elicit more data about your target audience;
- if you aim to identify customer personas and map out their journey;
- if you want to track your sales KPIs and improve the strategy of the sales process;
- if you want to find out which touchpoints drive the most revenue for your business.
Collaborative CRMs Software
This type of CRM used among the teams in order to give better information about the customers and improve their experience. Only by facilitating communication throughout your team, suppliers and distributors, tracking and sharing customer data can it help to deliver the best results. This type may include the following features:
- interaction management
- relationship management
- document management
Why should you use collaborative CRMs?
Here we have provided some useful information that helps you to better understand in which situations you should consider a collaborative CRM:
- there is a need to improve communication among teams and different departments;
- you need to share customer information with vendors;
- you aim to concentrate on customer retention and loyalty;
- your customers often have specific preferences and needs;
- you want to organize and align a customer-centric approach across your business.
What’s the idea of CRM software development?
We, at DDI Development, focus on delivering a variety of digital software solutions for a great number of business verticals - logistics and booking, e-commerce and e-learning, fintech and recruiting. This is the core expertise of our company. We often receive requests to develop and implement customizable solutions that help companies to grow their businesses. What’s more, we can develop any solutions such as ERP, CRM, LMS, TMS based on your unique business requirements. For this very reason, the client put forward the idea to create custom CRM from scratch that puts all your business processes together in one place, automates time-consuming tasks and centralizes your data. In addition to that, the CRM solution helps in the following:
- cuts down the workload;
- simplifies management processes;
- brings more positive results across various departments effortlessly.
Taking into account all mentioned above, we have developed a concept of a customer relationship management system that includes all the features and functionality you need to run a business efficiently and hassle-free. Sounds interesting, right? So let’s delve into details below!
A customer relationship management system provides three main types of users: Manager, User, and Administrator. Users are typically employees in the company. Below you can find out how they are customized and what privileges they have within the customer relationship management system:
- User: has basic permissions and is responsible for creating and sending emails, viewing basic information about the clients and companies, etc.
- Manager: can manage the functionality and have access to all features within the CRM system.
- Administrator: performs all operations and manages every aspect of the CRM system. Additionally, he/she has visibility to all features and functionality, can create or delete users.
All the users can log in to the CRM by inserting a login and password or via Google or Facebook accounts. Once a user logs in to the CRM system, he/she will be redirected to the Dashboard page that is a central hub for managing all the leads, projects, notifications, and account settings. The menu bar contains Calendar, Notifications, Email and Profile Menu. On the left side of the dashboard a user can see the main menu that displays all the options he/she has access to.
Below you can find the structure of the project - customer relationship management system - and see the technologies that we may apply for custom CRM development.
As a Manager, you can see the main menu that helps you to access different and important areas of the CRM platform fast and easily. Let’s take a closer look at the options presented in the main menu:
From the corresponding option in your main menu, you can reach the Tasks feature. With that feature, you can see how many tasks have been assigned to you or your team members. When adding a new task, you can assign a task description, related records, priority, status, and expiration date. You will see the following tabs on the page:
- all tasks;
- my tasks;
- my teams’ tasks.
The tasks are presented in the form of Kanban dashboard and include 4 columns: open, to do, in progress, completed. As a Manager, you can assign tasks to your team or teams.
You can find this feature in your main menu. The Contacts stores names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and notes about personal contacts. Moreover, you can make some changes if there is a necessity. Thanks to that feature, you can organize your customers, vendors, or suppliers’ information in a more efficient way. All the information presented in a well-structured table with the following columns:
- Full name
Thanks to the Organizations feature, you are able to view all the information about the companies you are dealing with. Also, you can choose a way of viewing information - a table or a tile. By pressing See a Profile button, you will be redirected to the page where you will discover more detailed information about the organization.
The Leads feature shows all the leads harvested from marketing efforts like advertising, campaigns, or events. Once an individual or business shows interest and provides contact information, they are funneled through the sales cycle to eventually be buying customers. Not only can you turn leads into customers by automatically capturing leads from user clicks, but also it helps to maximize revenue. All the information is presented in a well-structured table:
- Joining Date
By clicking on the Deals feature, you will be redirected to the Deals page. Here you can find contacts that are actually in your pipeline and are on track to become customers. Not only does this feature display where potential buyers are in the sales process but also it allows managers to forecast revenue by looking at the stages and predict how many deals will be closed during a given timeframe. Here the pipeline with the following stages: Lead, Contacted, Qualified, Proposal.
The Quotes feature allows you to create quotes fast and easily. Not only does it help to streamline your sales cycle, but also you can increase deal velocity. Once the leads request a quote, you can immediately send them a personalized quote detailing your services/products and costs. Quotes are presented in the table with the following columns:
- Quote title
- Quote value
The Projects feature can be found in the corresponding option in your main menu. With that feature, you can manage the workflow outside of sales processes. For example, onboarding, hiring or website management. Not only does this feature help you to organize and manage projects better, but also it improves work performance among the departments. All the information you can find in the table with the next columns:
- Project Title
- Due date
This feature is essential if you want to be aware of whether any of your prospects have responded to the emails sent. Moreover, the system tracks all the emails related to a Lead, Contact, Deal or Quote. Not only does it help to provide more personalized contact with prospective clients, but also it will lead to mutually beneficial relationships with your customers.
You can reach the accounting feature from the corresponding option in your main menu. Not only does it help to facilitate the recording and processing of all financial transactions via CRM, but it opens up unique opportunities to manage all the financial processes in a quick and efficient way. On the Accounting page, you will see the following widgets:
- Income and Expenses
- Expenses this month
- Executive summary
- Sales invoices
Reporting and Analytics
Thanks to that feature, you are able to view reports that help you to know where the business stands. Not only does it help you to get a comprehensive insight into performance, but you can also analyze how your team is performing compared to previous periods. On the Reporting page, you can see the following widgets:
- Receivable Due
- Payable Due
- Cash Balance
- Top customers
- Income (Revenue)
The Integration feature can be found in the main menu. Thanks to that feature, you can integrate a variety of separate components such as payment gateways or shipping carriers that will work as one system. Not only does it help you to increase productivity, but also you can improve the workflow in the entire company. You can add a new integration by clicking the Add button on the top of the page.
Thanks to the Calendar feature, all the tasks and appointments can be displayed on your calendar. Not only can you check what tasks have been opened or completed, but also this feature allows you to check the previous activity or future schedule. In addition to that, the task description, related records, and the due date can be also reflected in the calendar.
As a User, you can see the main menu that helps you to access different and important areas of the customer relationship management system easily. Let’s find out what options are presented in the main menu:
With that feature, you can see how many tasks have been assigned to you. All the tasks are divided into 4 columns: open, to do, in progress, completed and include all the information required - description, related records, priority, status and expiration date. As a User, you can see my tasks and my teams’ tasks tabs.
The Contacts feature allows you to view customer contact information, which is a valuable business asset. Not only does it allow you to stay in touch with your customers, but also you can reach them via email or mobile phone and bring back existing customers who are likely to offer your products or services.
With that feature, you are able to view all the information about the companies you as a User are working with. Also, you can choose a way of viewing information - a table or a tile. All the information is presented in the table with the following columns:
- Due Date
The Leads feature allows you to view all the leads you are working with. All they have shown interest in the services or products provided by your company and can be turned into customers. With that feature, not only can you obtain new sales leads , but also it enables you to generate the right leads.
On the Deals page, you will find only the contacts that are actually in your pipeline and are likely to become customers. With that feature, you are able to view the sales pipeline flow. The sales pipeline includes the following stages: Lead, Contacted, Qualified and Proposal. Moreover, it can help you to see where in the sales funnel all your leads are, where they are stalling and which sales activities are bringing in the most revenue.
With that feature, you will see the quotes of leads you are working with. Only after the lead requests a quote, you can send him/her a quote that includes detailed information about your services/products/costs.
You can reach the Projects feature by clicking on the corresponding option in your main menu. On this page, you will find the projects you are responsible for or involved in. Not only does this help you know where you stand, but it also keeps everyone on your team informed about goals and deadlines.
With this feature, you always know if any of your leads or customers have responded to your emails or have any questions. In addition to that, the system tracks and identifies all the emails related to a Lead, Contact, Deal or Quote. What’s more, that feature helps you to establish trust between business and potential customers that leads to building credibility and beneficial relationship.
All the tasks and appointments are reflected on your calendar. With its help, you can view open and completed tasks, check your past activities and upcoming schedule. Moreover, you will see the task description, related records, and the due date. As soon as you complete your task, you can mark it as completed.
By logging into the CRM platform as an Administrator, you will see a list of tabs that enable you to access different and important areas of the system. They are the following: Tasks, Contacts, Organizations, Leads, Deals, Quotes, Projects, Emails, Accounting, Reporting and Analytics, Integrations, Settings. Below we’re going to provide an overview of the Settings feature that is not presented in the Manager and User dashboards.
From the corresponding option in your main menu you can find the Settings page where you can make setup and management easier in the following areas: Users, Teams, Permissions, Categories, Project Status, Quotes Status, Lead Statuses, Lead Sources, Web to Lead, Workflow Processes, Pipeline. Below we have provided more details about the Pipeline.
Closing a deal isn’t an easy process. With the Pipeline setting, you can create a clear, step-by-step sales formula that will tell your team exactly what activities they need to do to win deals and meet revenue goals. The Deal flow includes the following steps: Lead, Contacted, Qualified, Proposal. The number and type of stages may be different - some companies use a five-step pipeline, some may use one with as many as seven stages that depends on a few factors - how you contact leads and your product or services.
Key features of CRM software
Below you can find CRM system feature list. Let’s delve into details!
- Contact management: this feature allows you to store contact information about the leads and customers in a well-structured database. You can easily find names, addresses, social media accounts, statuses in the searchable CRM database.
- Interaction tracking: you can add notes and track such information as interaction history, document conversations of the specific contacts to have a clear picture of what is happening in your sales funnel and connect all the necessary parties.
- Lead management: by identifying, scoring, and moving potential customers through the sales pipeline, you can manage the process of converting prospects into leads.
- Email integration: helps to connect your emails automatically with your contact lists and deals to have a clear picture of everything that's happening with a prospect in one place.
- Document management: with that centralized hub for important documentation, you can find all the documents. Not only can you collect, upload, store, and share documents, but also it allows everyone within the team to be in the know and have access to information.
- Quotes: allows you to create and send quotes or proposals to your customers.
- Pipeline management: allows your staff to analyze the sales process, identify weak spots and accurately predict future revenues.
- Workflow automation: helps you to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks by creating workflows that send follow-ups or trigger actions.
- Reporting & Analytics: allows you to quickly access historical and interactive data presented in customizable reports combined with a graphical representation of sales, marketing and customer service information.
- Forecasting: helps your staff accurately generate predictions based on existing data to make more informed data-driven business decisions on how to manage your resources.
How Long Does It Take to Build a CRM System?
Say you're about to create a Customer Relationship Management system. And you're naturally wondering how long it might take to build a CRM, given all the intricacies of your business. One thing we can say for sure is that the time it takes to build a CRM depends on many factors, including the following:
1. CRM system architecture. How complex is your CRM going to be? Creating a simple CRM system can take 3-6 months, while a complex, customized CRM can take 6-12 months or more.
2. CRM implementation strategy. How many iterations are there to go through? Many changes and integrations take extra time.
3. Technologies you use. More advanced technologies require niche expertise and more time to apply.
4. How thoroughly you test it. The more testing you need to do, the more time it will take to finalize the CRM after it's created.
CRM Implementation Timeline
Above we've provided a brief overview of the basics of CRM development. Below, we'll look at what the CRM implementation process looks like step by step while trying to answer your question about how long it takes to create a CRM system.
- Planning (3-5 weeks). You assemble a team of key people, come up with a comprehensive plan outlining the things to be achieved and identify the resources required.
- Features to add (3-6 weeks). Your CRM may have many features, and adding each of them takes time and effort. The goal is to identify and add only the features that will be used for sure.
- Developers to hire (4-7 weeks). Now that you have a clear idea of your CRM goals and a list of key features, you can hire developers. This will certainly take some time.
- The process of creating and configuring a CRM (from 12 weeks +). At this stage, the CRM system is created and then customized to meet the unique needs and workflows of your business.
- CRM data migration (2-4 weeks). You need to make sure all your valuable customer data is seamlessly transferred from the old CRM system to the new one. This will take some time.
- Training (2-4 weeks). Training employees so that everyone has a solid understanding of how to use the CRM system.
- Deployment (1-2 weeks). The CRM system is up and running.
- Ongoing monitoring and optimization. This includes tracking CRM performance, collecting feedback, and making necessary adjustments.
Once again: The CRM development and implementation timeline is flexible and depends on your unique situation and request. However, you can already get a rough idea of how long it may take to create your CRM system.
What Do You Need to Create a CRM?
Let's face it: it only takes three things to create a CRM:
3. A team of skilled engineers and business analysts on hand.
Let's explore these three pillars of your soon-to-be CRM system below.
Estimating software development time is crucial to setting up realistic expectations. A basic CRM may take a few months to develop, while a cutting-edge system may take a full year. Either way, be aware that quality software development is time-consuming.
The financial aspect is just as crucial. A clear budget should be drawn up, including the costs of development, integration, testing, training and maintenance. The budget allocation should be well thought out to ensure smooth development and implementation without involving extra cash.
Development team expertise
The software development team is the backbone as the quality of your CRM depends on the skills of the developers. Hire experienced engineers who are versed in CRM development, have the necessary skills and a good grasp of your business.
Calculating Your CRM Development Budget: Key Insights
How much money will it take to develop a CRM? - you may ask. Our answer is obvious: the cost of CRM system development depends on its complexity, functionality, number of developers involved, etc. Nevertheless, to get a clearer picture, calculating the CRM development budget is a good idea.
Here's what you need to consider to get an idea of your CRM development budget:
- Functionality. Implementing each feature requires more engineering input, which affects the budget.
- System access. The more user roles in the system, the more effort developers need to put into implementing access levels within the CRM.
- Compatibility. To make CRM available on different platforms, web and mobile development will be required. All this costs money.
- Data entry method. Instead of manual data entry, automation of data entry and processing is needed, which will require specialized knowledge and thus an increased budget.
- Third-party integrations. Need more third-party integrations? Get ready to pay more for those features.
- Sales funnel automation. Are you looking for automated sales funnel management? If so, this task will take more time to complete.
- Reports and analytics. Advanced CRM reporting and analytics features can increase the cost of development.
Need more specifics? If so, it's worth contacting an experienced development team to get a rough estimate of your CRM development budget. DDI Development is happy to answer your questions.
Which types of businesses can use CRM software?
CRM system can be an ideal solution for businesses of any size that deal with customers in any industry and need to maintain a relationship with them. To get more specific, there are two groups of companies that can benefit from building a CRM:
- B2B companies: they need to track leads and customers across long sales cycles and through upgrade paths (e.g., a software company, recruiting agencies).
- B2C companies: they sell their products and services to individuals and need more leads to track (e.g., jewelries, a landscaping service, or realtor agencies, etc.)
Another way to consider whether or not a CRM system can help your business is to think about the challenges that CRM systems can solve:
- a need for maintaining a central list of information on your leads and customers;
- tracking regular interaction with multiple people on your team;
- keeping track of where the conversation left off;
- better understanding the sales team productivity;
- creating a clear, step-by-step and structured process the team can follow.
Benefits of CRM software development for your business
Customers are an important asset for any business, and the way a company manages them determines its business success. That’s why opting for the CRM system is a way out. Not only does it help a business to record contact information and track interactions, but also you can plan follow-up tasks with your clients. Below we have provided some key benefits of CRMs for your business:
- help to automate everyday tasks;
- centralize and streamline your communications with customers;
- increase the quality of your daily interactions with customers;
- enable you to create unique stages of the sales process;
- increase revenue and profitability while cutting down cost on additional resources;
- provide better customer segmentation.
Potential issues with custom CRM software
More and more organizations opt for building CRM software realizing its benefits. However, they may face some issues when implementing CRM. Let’s find out more details below:
Cost is considered to be the greatest challenge for businesses. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure that you take into account all the options and pricing plans that work out the final cost. Factors that may impact the final costs of CRM implementation are the following:
- purchase fees and premium upgrades such as add-ons;
- IT resources needed for implementation;
- hardware or software requirements;
- staff training;
- data migration and quality.
Having all that in mind, you should plan properly and assess any potentially hidden costs carefully in order to set a realistic budget for your CRM project.
Lack of knowledge
Employees are a key asset in your business and play a vital role in the success of CRM projects. That’s why their regular operational processes need to be synced with the new CRM platform so that your staff can perform daily tasks without trouble. Moreover, you should educate and train your staff right before CRM implementation by showing them how the system deals with their manual tasks. Not only does it help your staff to use the new system effectively, but also you can minimize risks and improve business performance.
Companies should develop a culture where all staff is encouraged to share and learn from new work structure and information that is based on customers. Moreover, your team needs to use this information to effectively address customer issues, exploit opportunities and close more deals. However, cultural changes may cause some difficulties with CRM implementation. That’s why you should make sure that your staff can make the CRM system a part of their daily schedule and know how to use it to enhance their effectiveness.
Good communication is an essential part of the workplace. Once a CRM solution implemented, all the staff in your business needs to know how to use it. Uninformed employees can affect your business success and bottom line. That’s why effective communication is vital for companies to optimize performance and stay competitive. Moreover, it’s important in situations when there is a need to cooperate on the CRM implementation.
Lack of business insight
Business insight is crucial to any company. Not only does it help to deliver high quality and relevant customer experiences, but also it leads to increased customer satisfaction and sales, new innovations, and building solid customer experiences. That’s why make sure your employees can view their operations from the customers' perspective, understand their customers in order not to break down customer relationships and loose revenue.
How to choose a CRM platform for your business
Different types of businesses have different approaches to selling. That’s why the CRM systems for them would also differ. For example, if you have an e-commerce business, you will promote your products using various channels - email, social media and PPC ads, and you should choose a CRM designed to handle a large database of leads. No matter which type your company falls under, you should take into account the following:
- CRM should adapt to your existing processes;
- identify the right CRM features for your business and functionality;
- make sure the CRM integrates other solutions and is mobile-friendly;
- weigh on the cost/pricing;
- take CRM for a test.
Choosing the right CRM solution can be time-consuming and difficult. Moreover, there is no one-size-fits-all solution designed to fit all the companies, because all the companies are unique. Having that in mind, it’s imperative to create custom CRM solution based on your unique business needs and requirements.
Bottom line: Is your company ready to create an own CRM system?
Fortunately, the CRM system is a great solution that opens up golden opportunities for businesses of different types and sizes and delivers many benefits for sales, marketing, service and other teams dealing with people. Not only does it streamline sales workflows, but also helps business leaders to build stronger relationships with their clients. What’s more, CRM can help you to accelerate your sales processes without compromising the quality of the services you provide. Having all that in mind, it’s beneficial to opt for CRM software. We, at DDI Development, have extensive experience and great expertise to build top-notch and robust CRM from scratch for your business. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.