CRM Systems — Build versus Buy

‘Should we build our own?’ is a common initial question for many organisations introducing a new CRM system. It’s also a question for those organisations who have already developed their own in-house application and are looking for the pros and cons of ‘build versus buy’.

Why do you want a CRM system?

Let’s take a step back and ask: Why are you investing in CRM in the first place? Typically it’s for the following reasons:

  • Increasing revenues, by improving sales and marketing execution.
  • Reducing operational costs, by streamlining business processes.
  • Improving your customer services.
  • Tracking key performance indicators, so you can measure progress and make better business decisions.

If you really want to deliver these benefits you need to deliver a solution which enables your staff to be more effective, not less. Below are some of the common requirements from clients in nearly all implementations:

  • Email Integration: Ability to send emails from Outlook (or Gmail) and have these stored in CRM, and to synchronise contacts, meetings and tasks.
  • Email Marketing: Ability to send marketing emails to all prospective and existing customers; the ability to integrate CRM with an email marketing tool; data synchronised automatically and opt-outs managed correctly. Option to track open/clicks and bounces in the CRM so the sales executives know which people to follow-up.
  • Import Tools: Ability to import lists of contacts from Excel and for import tool to manage duplicates.
  • Reporting: A reporting engine, which can be used by non-technical people to report on CRM data and to export the data to Excel with the relevant security controls.
  • Quoting: The ability to generate quotes directly from the CRM.
  • Link with web presence: Updating CRM in turn automatically updates relevant information to the website and vice versa eg events, tickets etc.

Is building a CRM from scratch a good idea?

Once you start looking at how you can really improve the effectiveness of your organisation, the ‘basic’ CRM requirement quickly becomes much more complex and the realisation hits that building from scratch is more time consuming, more expensive and, as a result, perhaps less attractive.

Indeed, just because you can build it, doesn’t mean you should. The question is, do the pros of building your own CRM outweigh the cons? Most of the time that answer is no. A CRM is too essential to your business to risk failure.

Can Commercial CRM platforms offer Flexibility?

The option of a commercial CRM system can at first glance seem to be a more costly option, particularly if your Organisation does not require all the functionality that a commercial CRM is offering.

Fortunately there are a number of ready built CRM systems that are both customisable and flexible. These CRM systems can provide the freedom to use them in the way that best suits your organisation and opting for an out-of-the-box solution also means that you can have a CRM tool in place much sooner.

Because off-the-peg solutions are tried and tested, you should get high levels of support as part of your maintenance contract, simply because any existing issues with well-established software are well known and much more easily solved.

Upgrades are simply delivered as part of a continuing subscription. That makes life much easier.

And if you have chosen a CRM system that integrates easily with other software programs, you can create a powerful ‘back office machine’ that streamlines and improves your business processes.

What Customisable CRM systems are out there?

Some flexible and customisable CRM systems include:

  • Salesforce offers a wide variety of CRM categories and systems to meet your needs, including Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Analytics Cloud, Data Cloud, Community Cloud, App Cloud, and IoT.
  • Sugar CRM’s functionality includes sales-force automation, marketing campaigns, customer support, collaboration, Mobile CRM, Social CRM and reporting.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a customer relationship management software package developed by Microsoft. The product focuses mainly on Sales, Marketing, and Service sectors. Clients access Dynamics CRM either by using a Browser or by a thick client plug-in to Microsoft Outlook.

Solution — Buy AND Build

The solution to your organisation’s CRM needs need not, therefore, be a case of build versus buy but rather about combining the best elements of both to ensure that your organisation achieves the most appropriate and cost effective CRM system.

A customised commercial system often offers the perfect solution as it combines the ability to have a CRM system that suits your organisation’s needs but also has the backup of a tried and tested system and all the expert support that comes with this. Indeed, why waste time reinventing the wheel?

If you’re interested in discussing further the best options for your organisation when it comes to customising a commercial CRM system, please don’t hesitate to contact us at BT48 at feargal@bt48.com.

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