Operating a business has its challenges. Every day company managers have to make a number of operational decisions that affect their employees. Above all, managing customer relationships is one of the major priorities for any company manager.
Why is it necessary to have a customer relationship management system in place?
CRM in its simplest form is the way to manage leads and the existing customers in the most efficient way possible to extract the most value. CRM refers to a system a company uses to analyse customer interactions and measure data throughout the customer lifecycle. The aim of CRM is to improve business relationships through retaining the existing customers and gaining new ones. When you are able to manage your leads and your customers effectively, more leads end up being happy paying customers and have better experience with your company.
The current CRM market offers a number of ready-made systems that your business can benefit from. The downside of the ready-made CRM systems though is that they offer multiple features that may not be relevant for your business in particular.
This is when you need to create your own CRM system to enhance your business processes and provide the features your company requires in its everyday operations.
The benefits of creating a custom CRM system are:
1. Gaining solutions that work specifically for your business.
2. Data integration ability (i.e. include your existing operations into the new system).
3. Automation of your workflow for specific tasks that are not available from ready-made CRM systems.
4. The ability to choose unlimited number of users per system.
5. The ability to create solutions for different department as opposed to having a centralized database.
6. Specific customer analysis through a combination of filters that is not available in ready-made systems.
7. Full control and data security.
Before you create your custom CRM system, it is very important to define your company goals, digital needs, business functions and people who will be using the system internally. It is extremely helpful to have a representative from each of your company departments to share ideas on the key functions that each department executes on a daily basis. It will also be beneficial if you engage system developers in communication with departments’ representatives to gain a better understanding of the internal workflows and daily challenges they face.
Like any other software, CRM has core features that enable it to do what it is meant for and additional features that provide better functionality, enhance interaction between departments and benefit user experience.
The absolute must-have features for a CRM system are:
– Managing contracts
– Setting reminders
– Editing calendar
– Managing tasks
– Generating reports.
If you consider building a custom CRM software, you may additionally need the following features:
– Touchpoints tracking
– Email marketing
– File sharing
– Mobile version
– Pipeline view
– Integration with social media
– Custom reports.
If, however, your business requires a more complex system, then you would need to incorporate advanced features into your CRM that include:
– Integration with third-parties
– Unity with other internally created software
– Call-centre management
– Tracking referrals
– Customer scoring
Knowing what features your CRM needs to have, gets you closer to creating your own CRM software.
Building a custom CRM system comprises three stages:
This stage is more about function than looks. Your designers will need to focus on UX (user experience) first to make sure the system is able to perform tasks that it is created for. Then the UI (user interface) part comes into play. Once these components have been worked through, you will receive your system prototype.
2. Development and QA
Based on the UX and UI design and the prototype, your developers should already know what framework they would use for your CRM system. You will need to agree on the deadlines and the project phases. Building a software architecture and coding starts from here.
The next step is testing the system and QA. Depending on the complexity of your CRM, you may have several rounds of both.
3. System launch and monitoring
The launch of your new CRM system begins with software deployment. It will take some time to integrate your database and install the CRM system on all company devices that require the software for work. Once it is done, you will now have a good chance to study user behaviour from first-hand experience. It is quite possible, that some features may need to be altered based on the feedback you receive from your employees.
Automation Processes and Data Integration.
CRM automation processes is the ability of the software to automate reoccurring tasks that are done manually to speed up workflow and increase productivity. Automation can comprise many departments within the company and is a real game changer for business development in terms of managing customer relationships.
There are five core functions of CRM automation:
– Contacts management (helps managing customers’ contacts, eases search and access to customer data)
– Lead management (helps sales team efficiently manage data related to leads and prospects)
– Documentation management (helps storing, accessing and sharing a load of business documentation, from contracts to quotes and invoices)
– Integration (helps enhancing integration with other applications and sources, including emails, calendars, contact lists etc.)
– Reports and analysis (helps optimising sales processes for data-driven decision making).
CRM automation solutions can be premises- or cloud-based. The former can only be accessed on premises via internal network and authorised devices due to data sensitivity, while the latter are the remote storages often available as SaaS applications.
Based on functionality, CRM automation solutions can be:
1. Operational (designed for automating processes for sales and marketing departments, enhancing tracking of customer and lead activity)
2. Analytical (designed for processing and automating analytical activities that help sales department make decisions based on facts)
3. Collaborative: (designed for large-size businesses that deal with huge volumes of data and help departments to collaborate, generate reports and make forecasts).
CRMs by their nature process and link large volumes of data, including third-party sources. This can become quite a challenging task, especially if those sources do not have a native connection to the CRM. This leads us to a very important aspect of data integration.
While this may seem like a fairly easy process, often incorrect data integration and employees’ failure to use the system correctly causes the loss of valuable data input and the system displays outdated information.
Another important and commonly occurring issue for CRM is lacking access from various sources that are crucial for getting full and complete information about customers’ behaviour.
The software market offers a good selection of data integration platforms.
Here at Magnise we can help you create a custom CRM that fully covers the needs of your business. Our expertise in this area is truly extensive and the number of successfully implemented project speak volumes.
Contact us to get more information on how we can make your CRM return the investment in no time.