The benefits that customer relationship tools offer businesses is well known to all. However, many businesses who are just looking to adopt CRM tools often struggle. One popular question that they are faced with is whether or not they should build their own CRM tool. Executives and staff alike often have different opinions about this question. We understand the complexity of this problem, and how it affects the operation and cost of running a business. In this post, we will help reduce the complexity of this question and demystify all there is to know about building your own CRM or not. At the end of this article, you will be armed with more than enough information to make the right decision for your business.
What does it mean to build your own CRM?
Typically, many businesses get a license to use already made CRM tools from a third-party or pay for subscriptions periodically. Building your own CRM is quite the opposite and involves developing the software application from the ground up. This means you get to design the software and decide on the features and functionalities to include in the CRM tool. You also get proprietary ownership of the software and incur all the costs associated with it.
We will now proceed to understand the advantages and disadvantages of building your own CRM software as opposed to licensing a premade one.
Advantages of building your own CRM
Competitive advantage: Building your own CRM software gives you competitive advantage as you can create features that make you stand out in the market. This is as opposed to using a generalized software that all your competitors have access to.
Customization: Sometimes, a third-party software will not have functionalities that your business desires or that are unique to your industry. In building your own CRM software, you can customize every bit of it to fit your company operations. You can factor in your business structure and build accordingly, giving you endless customization possibilities.
Security: Some industries deal with critical customer information, such as financial services. Often times, your CRM will be handling sensitive information that you do not trust third parties to handle so a custom-built CRM can help you solve this.
Integration with other company applications: Many businesses often want to integrate all their software to ensure communication and collaboration amongst staff. Many third-party software companies allow for just enough integration capabilities, and sometimes that is not enough. If you have other custom-built software and are looking to integrate all of them together, then it is an advantage to build your own custom CRM.
Non-reliance on third party companies: Any third-party company can fold in the future, and you do not want your business to be at the mercy of another business. Hence, custom-built CRM tools give this freedom and non-reliance.
Disadvantages of building your own CRM
High cost: The cost of designing and developing a custom-built CRM software is almost always greater than subscription costs, and this is a major downside.
Time to market: Subscribing to a third-party service takes only a while. However, building a custom software can take months to years, increasing the time to market.
Maintenance Burden: Subscribing to a CRM service removes every maintenance burden from the business, however, if you build a custom CRM, you will maintain the software all through its lifecycle. This leads to post-development costs and technical needs.
Scalability: It is difficult to scale custom-built CRM software as opposed to subscription services, so this is a major disadvantage of building your own CRM.
There you have it, the pros and cons of building your own CRM software. Essentially, it is advisable to build your own software if you need a critical feature that is not offered by third parties, you need to secure confidential information about customers, or you want to integrate the custom CRM software with other company tools. However, it is important to pay attention to the disadvantages of building a custom CRM software, so carefully weigh your options. Ultimately, in making a decision on whether or not to build a custom CRM you should be pragmatic with your business’ present and future standing.