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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) refers to any tool or strategy designed to assist businesses in organizing and managing their customer data. As digital technology advanced, so did the methods of CRM. Today, businesses rely on professional CRM software solutions that allow them to link their departments and track their data & activities on a single platform. In this blog, we explain different types of customer relationship management software and how much it costs to develop a custom CRM software for your own business.
There are two approaches to using CRM software. You can either use an existing SaaS CRM software or you can choose to build a custom CRM software as per your business needs.
SaaS CRM Software
Image courtesy: Salesforce
Many CRM systems are available in the form of ‘Software as a Service’. A company can access the CRM-platform through a paid subscription ranging from $20 to $7,000 per month. However, such software follows a universal scheme and is inflexible in terms of adding new functionalities or third-party services.
Custom CRM Software
This option allows businesses to build their own CRM software from scratch based on their specific needs.
Advantages of building a custom CRM software
Despite the availability of so many CRM software, many businesses choose to build their own custom CRM software. Following are the key benefits of building your own custom CRM software:
- An individual system consists of only those CRM functionalities that are actually required by the company thereby saving time and money.
- It is highly flexible in terms of incorporating changes in the functionalities and third-party services, as and when needed
- No compatibility issues
- Complete control over the database.
The cost to build custom CRM software can be a problem for certain small businesses. Therefore, many companies turn to professional SaaS solutions such as SalesForce, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, and others.
However, it is recommended that all companies compare the cost of CRM development and the cost of 5-10 years of subscription before reaching to a conclusion.
Types of CRM software
Before discussing the costs to build custom CRM software, it is necessary to list down the types of management software that can be developed.
Operational CRM systems: These systems are concerned with marketing, sales, and service automation & meeting short-term objectives.
Analytical CRM systems: These systems identify customer behavior by analyzing the data received via an operational system.
Strategic CRM systems: These systems accumulate customer data in a knowledge base in order to support long term customer relationships.
Collaborative CRM systems: These systems help in synchronizing the communication between companies and their customers across various platforms.
How much does it cost to build a custom CRM software?
There are several factors that determine the cost to build custom CRM software. These include complexity, number of necessary business processes, time spent on work, etc.
Usually, the stages in the development of custom CRM software are:
1. Development of technical specifications
2. Interface design and programming
3. Testing and Running
4. Maintenance and further support
Initially, a company needs to enumerate its business goals and requirements as well as choose the type of CMR software it wants to develop. After that, the final factor in estimating the cost of CRM development is the modules and functionalities that need to be included in the software.
Mandatory modules for custom CRM software
Most CRM systems are developed using certain mandatory modules. These modules mostly comprise sales, marketing, and customer support.
Let’s understand what features are accommodated in each module and how much they contribute to the overall cost to build a custom CRM software.
1. Sales module in Custom CRM software
Automation in sales drastically enhances the performance of the sales team. Hence, most sales modules have robust tools for managing the register of current & potential customers, analyzing trends, and developing sales plans. Consequently, the sales team is able to close more deals with existing and new clients.
The common functionalities of all the sales modules in most CRM system tools include accounts, leads, sales analytics, and sales forecasting.
Account and lead management
Account management is the key function of any CRM software. Its scope in the sales module includes processing data of the existing customers. Through this functionality, the sales team is able to add fresh leads, convert those into opportunities, and generate new accounts.
When developing the sales module for custom CRM software, ensure that you account for all the necessary features. It should allow for quick, easy display, and modification of customer data such as name, contact info, email address, client ratings, and statuses of negotiations.
Furthermore, it should provide the managers with the options of sorting and filtering the information available to them.
Building these features adds $35,000-$40,000 in the total cost to build the custom CRM software
Advanced sales analytics
Analytics is an important functionality for each department. In sales, it enables the representatives to personalize the monitor panels and charts for a customized visualization of the sales trends.
Generally, a good custom CRM software implements the drag-and-drop interface in order to facilitate data entry in diagrams and tables. Sales representatives can improve the state of data presentation by adding filter options i.e. marking data by color, timeline, and location.
Additionally, the sales representatives should also be able to upload and combine data from external sources and directly communicate with other representatives about statistics.
The development of advance sales analytics adds around $8000-$10,000 to the custom CRM software development costs.
Sales planning and forecasting
The functionality of planning is a prerequisite in any management system. Therefore, the sales planning and forecasting module in a custom CRM software offers tools that help the representatives in creating a sales plan and predict future sales. This is made possible by allowing the sales team to access the marketing data, analytics, and sales history.
Additionally, a good CRM system discards the traditional methods of planning and replaces them with an advanced calendar. The calendar must allow the representatives to create and assign tasks, leave comments, add detailed plans, and set a reminder for an event.
Implementing a sales planning and forecasting module in your custom CRM system will cost around $8000-$11,000.
2. Marketing module in custom CRM software
An automated marketing module is extremely useful for businesses in controlling and tracking the results of their marketing campaigns. One of the key advantages is that it enables businesses to execute an event-based marketing strategy.
In other words, the campaigns are built in accordance with the data collected legitimately rather than based on the subjective concerns of the marketers. Following are the important features that most custom CRM software include in the marketing module.
Marketing campaign management
Using modern technology, this functionality offers tools for creating marketing events, handling financial matters, and assign specific events to marketers. For example, a manager may create an event “Paid Ads on Facebook for the next month” and attach the relevant information to it: the task of creating Ads, a monthly budget of advertising on Facebook, time & date of posting the ads and other things.
Another tool that increases productivity is an uninterrupted communication system within the CRM software. Moreover, external services such as instant messaging or emailing can be integrated into the system too.
Depending on your requirements, developing this module may cost you anywhere between $9000-$12,000
Marketers use segmentation to categorize customers using data collected from the sales department and to examine their profitability. Customers can be divided on the basis of their behavior, preferences as well as average & total amount of purchases.
A CRM system uses charts and graphs to display such data. Marketers can further filter, analyze, and modify the data for effective decision making.
Facilitating customer segmentation may add $7000-$9000 in the total cost to build custom CRM software.
Using marketing analysis tools, companies can segregate their campaigns on the basis of success, cost, conversion, and performance. Just like sales analytics, the marketing analytical tools in a custom CRM software should employ a drag-and-drop interface to represent and modify the data.
Marketing analysis tools will extend your custom CRM software budget by $5000-$8000.
3. Customer support module in custom CRM software
The key to customer retention is regular and honest communication between the company and its customers. Therefore, an automated service module can benefit a business in more ways than one can imagine.
It simplifies the process of communication between the support agents and the clients. In doing so, it provides a single platform for registering the entire customer-related database available across various platforms.
Help desk and agent console
Support agents are able to leverage a central user interface for screening customer requests across various channels (email, tweets, messages, etc.). This functionality in a custom CRM software allows agents to prioritize, assign, and redirect the customer requests appropriately.
The cost of building help desk and agent console features may greatly vary depending on your business requirements. Broadly, it falls between $21,000-$30,000.
Knowledge base is basically the guidebook that instructs the support staff of their duties as well as solves their problems. This improves the overall convenience of the CRM system. The staff must be able to save, rectify, and publish these texts.
Ideally, you should set aside at least $5000 for building knowledge base in your custom CRM software.
The service analytics tools perform the function of collecting statistical information about client requests. Thus, they are mostly used to track whether and how quickly the issues were resolved. Moreover, it should compile and systematize data from all sources: emails, phone calls, and social media channels.
Service analytics features may take the cost to build a custom CRM software up by $7000-$9000.’
Additional costs involved in building custom CRM software
The cost to build custom CRM software is not just limited to the direct costs involved in developing the software. The actual cost also includes the expenditure incurred on project development, staff training, technical support as well as system improvements.
1. Project development costs in building custom CRM software
The main plan of action during project preparation is to clearly list down the purpose and basic requirements for the CRM software.
Each requirement describes the desired or necessary characteristic of the developed CRM system. This involves market & domestic research, marketing analysis, competitor analysis, and developer recommendations.
2. Staff training costs in using the custom CRM software
The cost of staff training is directly associated with the time and efforts spent. So, the process calls for an appropriate protocol. Often, certain selected employees will study the software beforehand. They will then transfer the required knowledge and skills to the rest of the employees.
On top of that, there is the development of training texts to help employees tackle the issues they face while working with the CRM system. It’s important to write these guides in simple words and include step-by-step instructions for problem-solving.
3. Technical support costs associated with custom CRM software
Even the most sophisticated and expensive CRM systems may encounter errors and bugs while operating. Therefore, the companies need a technical support service that responds to the staff problems and solves them. The options include an individual technician-for-hire, an entire department, or an outsourced company.
4. Costs related to system improvements and updates
After its deployment, the CRM software should be constantly updated with the latest technology to enhance its performance. Employees’ recommendations regarding the convenience, quality, and speed of the software serve as a starting point for system updates.
The Bottom Line
Custom CRM software development is a complex process and it will reap the benefits only if it’s done the right way. Moreover, the features that you require have a significant bearing on how much it costs to build a custom CRM software for your business Since the costs associated are huge, it’s not a good idea to build your CRM system without consulting a professional software development agency.
Third Rock Techkno is a leading agency globally known for cost-effective custom CRM software development. Our team of versatile developers and marketing consultants help our clients not only develop the right software but also identify which features are essential and which ones to let go of.