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3 Tips for Building a Successful Custom CRM

Business spending on customer relationship management (CRM) systems is soaring, and for good reason. Once the domain of the largest enterprise businesses, a powerful CRM is now indispensable for teams of all sizes to build strong sales pipelines. 

According to Salesforce, adopting a CRM can help companies increase lead conversion rates by 30%, sales productivity by 25% and customer satisfaction by 35%. But not all CRMs are created equal. 

Many businesses start with off-the-shelf solutions, but eventually reach a point where their purchased CRM is too expensive or too rigid for their growing business. Per-user subscription fees can become unsustainable, and platforms that are tied to older versions of Windows or other operating systems create compatibility issues and security weak spots. All too often, industry-specific CRM software providers take advantage of their customers limited options, and provide a CRM with limited reporting, customizability, or data access to API.

If your off-the-shelf CRM isn’t cutting it anymore, a custom platform can equip your team with a solution designed around their unique business needs. Especially in a post-COVID selling environment, efficiency and performance are top of mind for sales leaders. Customizing a CRM enables your business to:

  • Gain efficiencies by avoiding time spent wading through unnecessary fields and information
  • Protect sensitive customer information, since custom software is less vulnerable to hacking than mass-market solutions
  • Enhance sales effectiveness by putting the details employees need at their fingertips
  • Provide mobile access to salespeople in the field.

Considering the switch to a custom CRM? Here’s how to build a platform that works with, not against, your sales team.  

  1. Ensure it’s compatible with your other systems

One of the biggest advantages to designing your own CRM is the ability to include the exact data you need. As you prototype your system, consider how to make it play nicely with your accounting system, marketing automation tool and other business applications. If your CRM doesn’t integrate with your other systems, employees will likely find a manual workaround – creating inefficiencies and blind spots in your business data. 

One common pitfall is failing to establish universal rules for fields. As you build your platform, including separate fields for first and last names can help avoid translation issues across systems. Also, be careful about using free-form fields in your system, since inconsistencies in data entry can create issues downstream. 

  1. Audit your workflows to avoid gaps  

Your CRM should ideally eliminate manual steps for your sales reps, so they can focus on closing and serving clients. When creating automated workflows, do a gut check to make sure everything works as intended. For example, if a sales rep receives a trigger to contact a lead once a particular field is completed, but that field isn’t required, it can result in missed opportunities. Susco uses a rigorous audit process when building custom solutions to make sure all functions actually perform as expected for our clients. 

  1. Make sure it can grow with your business

Businesses often develop in-house software as they scale to handle functions like managing customer relationships. But what works well at 100 customers may not work so well at 1,000 customers. As new employees and accounts come in, a Band-aid developed to solve an issue can quickly morph into thousands of Band-aids – and an unhappy team.

Case in point: A customer came to Susco for help transforming its current sales tracking process into a modern CRM. The company had originally started documenting sales information in a PDF, which turned into a series of PDFs housed over time in a single folder. Susco helped the business design a searchable database that integrated with its other tools, saving its employees significant time and setting them up for future growth. 

  1. Choose the right partner for the job

Building a custom CRM is a big undertaking, which can overwhelm internal teams juggling other IT priorities. A development partner that specializes in this work can help your business set a realistic timeline, identify the right stakeholders and resources, and create a smoother process from start to finish. 

A high-functioning CRM is the backbone of your sales organization, and taking the time to tailor one around your needs can pay dividends. To learn more about Susco’s custom CRM development process, reach out to our team

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