Step-by-Step Guide: Building a Custom CRM for Your Business in 2023
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a process by which a company or other organization manages its interactions with customers, usually using data analytics to examine large amounts of information. CRM software can not only categorize customer data and provide help desk managers with easy access to the database but also be an automated marketing tool that helps retain customers and increase sales. Building configurable CRM and rapid deployment with React templates is an excellent way to simplify your business processes and increase productivity. You can quickly and easily create custom ERP solutions tailored to your specific needs using React templates. This can save you both time and money.
There are three kinds and types of CRM: analytical, operational, and collaborative. Each type of CRM has its own unique set of features and capabilities that can be used to improve customer relations and business operations. Analytical CRM focuses on gathering and analyzing customer data to gain insights into customer behavior and preferences. Operational CRM is used to automate and streamline customer-facing processes, such as sales, marketing, and customer service.
Responsible for sales, marketing, services offered, and everything related to interaction with customers. It also controls various things:
- Contact management where contact details, history, and records are easily accessible.
- Lead scoring helps you understand and nurture leads for more success.
- Sales automation makes it easy to assign tasks to your team.
- Marketing automation helps you promote your business to potential customers.
The key to making important business decisions lies in the ability to collect, organize and analyze customer and sales data. Analytical CRM consists of the following elements:
- Data mining uses all available statistical information and analyzes the patterns and relationships between these statistics and your data.
- Cross-sell and up-sell using information from customer purchase history and behavior.
- Creating a buyer persona is about getting information and data about your customers that help you understand them better. This, in turn, can lead to improved sales and marketing strategies.
- Predicting sales through data analytics helps your business predict future needs.
- Attribution is about having all the information you need to know how to retain your customers.
Collaborative CRM protects and improves customer relationships. It is responsible for customer service, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. From interaction management, where all customer interactions are tracked and retrieved, to relationship management and document management. Relationship management facilitates and ensures consistency between the sales team and other customer-facing teams. Finally, document management ensures that all documents, from contracts to quotes, are available and organized.
It is always better to create a custom CRM that best fits your business, even if solutions already exist. This applies not only to customer relations but is also important in other respects:
- Custom CRM gives you an intuitive design that fits your business and lets you decide if it’s convenient for your customers.
- It’s easier to integrate into business operations and requires no disruption to existing workflows.
- It’s easy to build custom tools and features for different teams and departments.
- No additional subscriptions or fees are required.
- You can develop additional features instantly by simply contacting the development team of your choice — something you can not do with a standard CRM.
If you choose to develop your own CRM solution, the development company will provide all the necessary functionality. Depending on your needs, you can also add features that are not available in the standard software. For example, you can use artificial intelligence-based analytics to personalize the customer experience and differentiate your company from others in the same market.
Custom CRMs contain only the features that a particular business needs. This system is customized to your business processes from the beginning. The learning curve for end users will also be much shorter, of course.
Ease of use should be at the top of your priority list when selecting a solution for your business. Above all, your employees need to be able to easily find specific information or documents, communicate with customers, and generate reports. If they can not, you will not get the return on investment you expect.
Custom CRM solutions offer no distracting features and make it easy for employees to reach their full potential.
Custom CRM development puts you in control of the system performance you need. You decide what technology to use and when your platform needs to be improved. That’s why it’s possible to keep your CRM up-to-date, user-friendly, and highly productive, even when market conditions or your business needs change.
One of the biggest advantages of custom CRM development is that the custom solution can be easily scaled as your business grows. You can add new components when you need them and change anything you want, whenever you want.
The custom CRM system is developed with the existing IT infrastructure in mind. This means that it can be easily integrated with any other software that your team uses in their daily work.
CRM systems usually store large amounts of corporate information, including sensitive and private data. The security features of such software must therefore meet the highest standards. While standard systems can theoretically be accessed by third parties, e.g. through upgrades, custom CRMs are fully controlled by a single organization, which makes them less vulnerable to cyberattacks and the risk of data breaches tends to zero.
Developing your own CRM is a more cost-effective option than buying an off-the-shelf solution. First, you are not paying for functional elements that you will never use. Second, you will not be charged for additional services as your team grows and the number of users increases. And last but not least, you will not be dependent on vendor prices, which can change at any time.
How to create a custom CRM
The process of developing a custom CRM is a complex and challenging task. It is not only important that you have a clear idea of what solution you want to end up with, but also that you have a clear step-by-step guide.
1 — Getting Started
- Identify your business purpose.
If you want to develop your business strategically, it is important that you list your goals at the beginning and determine how you want to develop your business strategically. Not only will this help you define your goals, but it will also prepare you for future challenges that may come your way. Finally, it is important to know why you want to set up a CRM for your company.
- Choose which type of CRM is best for your business.
You should know what kind of CRM you need: analytical, operational, or collaborative.
- Legal and security requirements need to be considered.
There are privacy policies that do not allow the collection of certain information about customers or even employees, so consideration of the rules in the project proposal is critical.
- Selection of the user role.
User role selection is critical when it comes to meeting your organization’s needs when building a product. Make sure you have information about each department’s current task types by naming all audiences for the CRM software and describing how they are likely to interact with each other. This makes it easy to determine the user history of each employee.
- Gathering bids and preparing a rough estimate.
Sourcing developers, project managers, designers, and team members altogether should be the last part of the preparation phase for building your own CRM system. A complete team will help you not only with critical paths and various tasks but also with time estimates, a project plan, and even a budget.
2 — Development Process
- Choosing contractor.
You need a reliable software development company to take the next step. Consider outsourcing the development process. This is a great way to spread the risk and reduce costs. When choosing a development team, pay attention to feedback from other clients and check the company’s portfolio.
- Choosing a tech stack.
For the customer, the development team provides the most effective technologies and frameworks for both front-end and back-end, based on their experience in CRM development.
- Compilation of the CRM development order.
At this point, you should list all the third-party features and integrations you want to see in your future software. Break all these requirements down into concrete tasks for the developers and prioritize them together with the product owner, depending on whether they are more or less important.
- Start the development process.
After establishing the structure of the development team, everything needed for the project, such as the design, prototype, and workflow diagrams, should be submitted. After that, the schedule, the project plan, and the architecture and coding of the software must be approved.
3 — Introduction&Support
- Ensure deployment and implementation.
CRM system software is deployed at the beginning of application deployment. This is a lengthy process, but it is necessary to ensure that the new system is integrated into the workflows of your employees and staff and to integrate the database.
When everything is done, it is time to get to know the system and see how useful and beneficial its functions are. At this time, you also need to think about what features you will need over time. By continuously learning the software’s behavior, the CRM will also be continuously effective in your company.
- Content management. One of the most important features of a content management system is its ability to collect and organize all your customers’ data. This allows you to efficiently respond to their needs. In addition to enabling effective marketing, contact management also helps increase customer satisfaction.
- Lead Management. With the help of a CRM, you can easily track and manage the various tasks and activities associated with running a marketing campaign.
- Follow-ups and tasks. This allows you to focus on improving the efficiency of your organization. One of the most important factors that a CRM should take into account is the ability to manage the tasks that come with running a business.
- Calendar. The calendar is one of the things you should definitely include in your CRM. It allows you to strategically plan communications, events, and marketing campaigns for the future.
- Analyses and reports. With this feature, you can easily keep track of your indicators and KPIs. You can include data in a visual form, such as charts and tables, to track and monitor your progress and upcoming tasks.
- Sales Analysis. Collecting and analyzing data from multiple platforms, this feature can have a big impact on improving your advertising and sales campaigns by analyzing data from previous campaigns.
- Sales Pipeline. With this feature, you can track all sales processes. This way, you can effortlessly track the interactions between your customers and sales reps. Tracking will not only help you retain customers but also prevent you from losing them in the future.
- Billing and accounting. It makes sense to integrate your CRM system with your accounting and payment software and systems. This way, you can keep track of account balances and invoices and quickly invoice your customers.
- Customized reports. For businesses looking for customized reports, this feature is extremely useful. It helps you collect and project information such as demographics, salesperson behavior, and types of leads.
- Email Marketing. You can use it not only to monitor electronic communication systems but also to manage emails efficiently and in a timely manner. In addition, the CRM can program the automatic sending of emails to customers and the possible sequence of these emails based on customer behavior.
- Quality of data protection. You need to protect yourself at all times when you collect a large amount of various sensitive information from your customers and shop it in a database. It’s important to include up-to-date security certificates in the database to protect not only your customers’ data but your company’s as well.
- Integration and call center automation. Learn how to manage and control your call center and help desk teams within your CRM. This is an important feature that minimizes the need for additional applications and software that can lead to the loss of important information and confusion.
- Lead scoring. You can also score different customers based on metrics you deem important to your sales and business. This helps you prioritize different sales goals.
- Integration of internal systems. Integrating other software with your CRM is necessary and advisable to ensure a smoother and error-free workflow. This also affects the efficiency of your business and prevents the loss of time and money when the workflow is interrupted.
- The Cloud. Cloud integration is recommended because it is more secure, flexible, and stable. It’s especially a good idea because it’s easier and more budget-friendly to maintain, and it’s great for startups and growing businesses.
- Social network. One of the ways to increase sales is to allow team members to collaborate through different touchpoints. It strengthens the brand by providing the ability to measure customer intent and interest and ensures long-term customer satisfaction.
- Chatbot. Chatbot automation allows employees to focus on other important tasks while the chatbot answers frequently asked questions, sets reminders, organizes meetings, and recruits new employees.
- Revenue Forecasting. It facilitates sales forecasting for potential deals. It analyses sales figures and creates a solution for potential problems in the future, even before they actually become a problem.
- Mobile CRM. You can take advantage of technology for your business with this feature. With mobile CRM, you can access your business anytime, anywhere, and keep in touch with customers faster.
How to build custom CRM with Flatlogic Platform
Flatlogic Platform is our way to bridge the gap between developing your own applications and using templates. Applications running on the same technologies usually use the same elements and components. In many cases, the main difference at the technical level is the database schema, which takes into account different mechanisms of data processing and storage. The Flatlogic platform makes it possible to create custom CRM systems by combining parts and building only those that need to be unique. It’s as simple as it sounds, and sometimes even simpler.
Step 1. Choosing the Tech Stack
In this step, you’re setting the name of your application and choosing the stack: Frontend, Backend, and Database.
Step 2. Choosing the Starter Template
In this step, you’re choosing the design of the web app.
Step 3. Schema Editor
In this step, you can create your database schema from scratch, import an existing schema or select one of the suggested schemas.
To import your existing database, click the Import SQL button and select your .sql file. After that your database will be opened in the Schema Editor where you can further edit your data (add/edit/delete entities).
If you are not familiar with database design and find it difficult to understand what tables are, we have prepared some ready-made sample schemas of real applications that you can modify for your application:
- E-commerce app;
- Time tracking app;
- Book store;
- Chat (messaging) app;
Next, you can connect your GitHub and push your application code there. Or skip this step by clicking the Finish and Deploy button and in a few minutes, your custom CRM will be generated.
Benefits of choosing Flatlogic Platform
- Configured and ready-to-use authorization and authentication;
- Fully deployed application with front-end, back-end parts, and database;
- Each application comes with a Docker container for rapid deployment on any hosting platform;
- The application is fully customizable for all screen sizes;
- For each entity created with the generator, the tool automatically creates an API documented with Swagger;
- Pre-built components for the full-stack app. Buttons, tables, forms, and general layout are already included;
- The app will also include some basic search, filtering, and validation functions;
- The build/compile process is already set up and working without any issues;
- Image storage implemented;
- All back-end and front-end logic is automatically generated according to the previously created database schema.
If you want to build your own custom CRM system, there are some important points to consider before you start. You don’t want to waste time and money on tools that aren’t tailored to the way your business works. Finally, collaborative CRM is used to facilitate communication and collaboration between customers and businesses. With Flatlogic, any React developers can build a CRM system that meets their specific needs.