Relationship with a customer is the core of any business. Proper management of this relationship, good productivity of your teams and revenue increase are primary tasks that you can solve only with a custom CRM system. We’ll show you how you can build this system and what you can do with it to automate the processes and streamline a customer’s journey through the sales funnel.
How to Build a Custom CRM: 6 Steps
Step 1: Collect project requirements
The first stage of building a CRM has a goal to define needs and expectations about the new project. We can roughly divide requirements into five components:
- Business requirements. They are not about building a custom CRM system - here we mean the strategy of the company and its goals. Examples: serving 200 customers simultaneously / meal delivery within 30 minutes after an order / all meals should meet FDA regulations.
- Stakeholder requirements. This should be in a separate section as requirements may be different and even unclear. You can have a meeting with everyone or send each person an email with a list of questions. The answers will greatly depend on experience in coding, designing, testing and promoting a new product.
- Product requirements. We recommend having two subsections here. The first one is functional - the behavior of the product. The second one is non-functional - safety, quality, and effectiveness of the product.
- Transition requirements. We list all the things and actions that will let us deliver the project on time. Examples: hiring a new in-house team or finding a software vendor, prototyping, etc.
- Regulatory requirements. Depending on the type of customizable CRM, you may have to meet specific standards of the quality like ISO, ASTM, IEEE, FDA and so on.
Step 2: Analyze project specs & planning
A business analyst should document and assess every single requirement about a new customizable CRM application. You can have other categories of requirements that differ from the ones we have listed above - you create a document that is user-friendly for your team. What you can add to the specs of a custom CRM:
- Use case - you note down functional requirements.
- SRS - you take a use case and add Software Requirements Specifications (SRS). Adding non-functional requirements is optional.
- User stories - you create a product backlog if you have an agile environment.
It may happen that a BA doesn’t have an IT background. You should understand that the core task here is to know what a new custom CRM system can do for your business and not how its build and how it works. A PM (project manager) should have a good IT background to clearly define how to build a new custom CRM system and how it should work.
Here are the steps for planning the creation of web-based CRM systems:
- Define all the steps and tasks that are required for each piece of work. It may be a work breakdown of tasks.
- Define resources for every single task.
- Estimate timelines for completing each task.
- Estimate the cost for each task by taking into account average hourly rates.
- Think of obstacles and constraints, how you will plan your resources in such cases.
- Define interdependent tasks, critical paths and so on.
- Build schedules for estimates and tasks.
- Develop a budget, a timeline for the project and its milestones.
Step 3: Design and Create the Wireframes
This stage may take much time but it will give a good visual point of reference for the stakeholders. We recommend showing only a few core scenarios in a wireframe. If you don’t have your own product but you need to show something urgently - make screenshots of similar products and edit them.
It’s good to remember about the low-fidelity concept where you focus on functionality more than on design. The less time you (or your team) spend on this stage the more time you will have for making the changes. Here are the things that you can visualize:
- User interface
- Functional and business processes
- High-fidelity / low-fidelity prototype
- Workflow diagrams
Step 4: System Development, QA and Testing
This step of building a custom CRM system consists of the following components:
Methodology. Here we pick up the frameworks and build a roadmap for a new project. We can pick up one of the methodologies: DevOps, Agile, SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), RAD (Rapid Application Development), Waterfall, etc.
Architecture. You can choose an existing one or build a new one. This will be a basement for your future custom CRM solutions.
Coding. Composing the code in a chosen programming language. You can observe reviews of the code by other team members to keep the quality high.
Testing. There might be various scenarios for testing that you plan in advance. You should include performance and load testing as well.
- QA. You should understand requirements, code, design and test results to create a new version of an app. You should develop deployment criteria and QA priorities to detect and track any bugs or drawbacks.
Step 5: App Deployment
Never deploy at 5 pm on Friday! It’s a popular joke among developers. Deployment of a custom CRM can be done in different ways:
- Dummy (Recreate). Version B is released after version A is terminated.
- Incremental (Rolling or Ramped). Version B is slowly rolling out and replacing version A.
- Blue & Green. Version B is rolled out together with A. Traffic is switched from A to B.
- Canary. Version B is deployed for a limited number of users. It’s released for all users in some time.
- A/B testing. Version B is deployed for a specific group of people.
- Shadow. Version A still exists while version B gets all the organic traffic.
Step 6: Iteration & Monitoring
After the launch of the product, as users start filling the customizable CRM with new information, developers get a lot of feedback and data demonstrating the users' behavior. The team is able to see what features the staff interacts with and which ones are not drawing the staff’s attention. The feedback information will help PMs understand if the system meets the user’s needs and expectations.
How Much is to Build a Custom CRM System?
There’s no single sum that we can mention here. We’ll try to calculate an average price for some components of a custom CRM system that you can build on your own.
If we consider paying $25 per hour of work, we would have the following sums.
- Contact management - 40h - $1,000
- Reminders, calendar management - 60h - $1,500
- Task management - 200h - $5,000
- Basic reports - 160h - $4,000
- Email marketing - 60h - $1,500
- File sharing - 60h - $1,500
- Pipeline view - 200h - $5,000
- Invoicing - 140h - $3,500
- Integration with social media - 160h - $4,000
- Custom reports - 70h - $1,750
- Unity with other internal software - 180h - $4,500
- Call center management - 200h - $5,000
- Referral customers tracking - 60h - $1,500
- Lead scoring - 100h - $2,500
- Chatbots - 160h - $4,000
What if you need to have a fixed price for the project instead of paying hourly fees? If you don’t want to pay for long hours of work and blow up your budget, you should choose a fixed-price model. It means you sign a contract where you estimate the cost of a new custom CRM and the price that you will pay for it.
Diceus can offer you such cooperation providing you with a guarantee that you will get your app on time. No procrastination, tired developers or any other problems that may increase the number of hours and therefore increase the cost of the software.
Why Build Your Own CRM Systems?
What can a custom CRM do for you? Each of your departments has its own processes. The entire organization has also the framework to make them work together.
Measure all the processes inside your organization. Think of the customer as a central figure. And a custom CRM platform is about attracting and retaining all the customers. By implementing a CRM you will be able to gather information about people who visit your website or come in through other promotional activities in one location.
E.g: We have built BenefitNet for automating the processes in insurance companies. All the workflows from census management to complex relationships between a client and insurance company were controlled by the software.
Automate all the processes related to customers. A customizable CRM app also allows you to automate the processes you haven’t placed, for example, managers approvals. CRM enables your clients and service reps to have all information available when bringing new customers on board at any time of the day or night.
E.g: All the claims are managed in no time by BenefitNet, so clients don’t have any troubles with their insurance brokers or insurance companies.
Make your departments collaborate. Lack of collaboration on a department and organizational level can lead to confusion and longer sales pipelines. In addition, the lack of visibility across departments will not give you a chance to track the achievements of your team players.
E.g: BenefitNet unifies all the data into one source and allows easy access for representatives from different departments in real time.
Building a Custom CRM from Scratch - Where to start?
Now you know what you need to do to get a working app. What’s next? You can hire an in-house team that will take care of developing and further maintenance of a new software project. Another way is hiring a remote software team. The latter variant is preferable as you get a team that has solid experience in building similar projects and you can find the right team that will meet your budget expectations.
Diceus is a team of experienced and qualified developers that have been building software projects for local Ukrainian and global companies for over 7 years. We’ve built powerful solutions for insurance, banking, healthcare, and other industries. Let us know your business goals and we will do our best to help you reach them.