The fruition of sophisticated, ‘homegrown’ customer relationship management (CRM) systems is partly due to the rapid wave of digital transformation (DX) currently permeating global sectors. The creation, innovation, and subsequent digital adoption of contemporary technologies have helped accelerate business speed and increase the bottom line.
CRM platforms are created with the purpose of helping businesses better manage their sales, marketing, and customer support processes for B2B and B2C customers. CRM systems offer users a broad range of features and services, all conveniently in one accessible platform.
These include cloud applications, promotional instruments, sales automation capacities, customer support facets of the program, and monitoring prospective customers through the sale process. This also involves analyzing, sorting, and storing massive amounts of data collected across the entire business.
Also known as custom CRMs, ‘homegrown’ CRMs give organizations full control over their data and take ownership of any customizations they make to the system. This allows them to tailor the solution to their specific needs and add or remove features and capabilities on demand.
Businesses worldwide acknowledge that CRM systems are ideal for gaining new customers and better understanding existing ones. By unifying all customer touchpoints, novel ‘homegrown’ CRM systems are a key demonstration of how new and bespoke technology plays a role in perpetuating organizational-wide digital transformation.
In the past, implementing a CRM system meant most organizations would simply select the right technology and follow standard methods. However, with the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating predominantly online business and customer-facing operations, ‘homegrown’ CRM systems are becoming increasingly preferred over commercial ones—despite the global CRM market share soaring.
In fact, Fortune Business Insights report that as of 2023, the global market for CRM is currently valued at US $63.9 billion and is projected to grow to US $145.79 billion by 2029—registering a CAGR of 12.5% during the forecast period.
This article will provide you with everything you need to know about ‘homegrown’ CRM systems, how to choose the right partners, the pros and cons, and a complete framework for building your own bespoke system.
What Is A Homegrown CRM?
A homegrown CRM (sometimes called a custom CRM) is an internally developed customer relationship management system built on existing software and other platforms within a company. This type of CRM is usually tailored to meet a business’s specific needs, offering features not available in commercial solutions.
A homegrown CRM is designed to provide a single view of customers and their interactions with an organization, from sales and customer service to marketing automation. This helps businesses gain valuable insight into their target audience and develop customer loyalty.
Developing a custom CRM platform can be immensely beneficial and cost-effective for any business. With this software, companies can create an intuitive system tailored specifically to their needs and processes. This means users won’t need to waste time navigating around additional features or adjusting settings on generic software to fit their workflow; they’ll get straight into optimizing efficiency while using it.
Companies with intricate sales models that don’t conform to the typical B2B structure may find additional functionality or the new features in a custom CRM particularly attractive. Selling physical products and subscription services together or having both B2B and B2C sales teams can make it challenging to locate an off-the-shelf solution that will adequately serve your needs immediately.
What Is Homegrown CRM Onboarding?
Homegrown CRM onboarding is the process of setting up and integrating a custom CRM system within a business. This involves synchronizing existing data, configuring APIs and preparing third-party software for integration, creating custom workflows, developing integrations between the CRM and other systems like marketing automation platforms (MAPs) or billing solutions, and training users on the new system.
The onboarding process is one of the most crucial elements of successful homegrown CRM implementation and requires organizations to pay close attention to every detail. Companies should analyze existing processes, define user roles and access levels, develop a roadmap for implementation, and ensure that all requirements are met before going live with their custom solution.
What Is Homegrown CRM Implementation?
Homegrown CRM implementation can be a time-consuming process, but it’s essential to ensure the success of your custom solution. To successfully implement a homegrown CRM system, organizations must define data requirements and identify potential pitfalls before the build begins. This includes gathering insight from users and stakeholders, conducting market research, and assessing existing systems for compatibility (including any existing integrations).
The implementation process also includes setting up and preparing data for migration and configuring the application and its underlying architecture. This includes setting up user access, developing custom workflows and reports, testing the system to ensure it functions properly, and training users on how to use the new system.
What Is Homegrown CRM Adoption?
Homegrown CRM adoption ensures a new custom solution is successfully adopted and used by stakeholders in an organization. This begins with clearly defining who will use the system and how, setting up proper training programs and resources, evaluating user feedback to refine the platform, and measuring usage metrics to ensure successful adoption.
Adoption is critical to the success of a custom CRM system. If users don’t understand how to use it or feel overwhelmed, they won’t be motivated to use it. Organizations must invest in an effective onboarding and training program for all stakeholders to ensure successful adoption and maximum ROI.
Who Needs a Homegrown CRM Solution?
For certain companies, investing in a customized CRM solution is best. These entities usually engage in intricate selling that existing templates cannot support.
Some may need a straightforward sales model with only several CRM features. A customized solution can serve many large-sized contact bases like schools, universities, and religious organizations well despite the absence of revenue-generation activities.
A survey sponsored by the Institute of Sales & Marketing Management (ISMM), the United Kingdom’s top association for sales professionals, revealed that 77% of businesses in the UK had adopted CRM systems, and 60% of them are content or thoroughly satisfied with their performance.
Most companies can adopt homegrown CRMs, though they may not suit those with complex or unusual sales cycles. For this reason, many businesses develop custom CRM solutions tailored uniquely to their specific needs. This enables them to establish a platform designed especially for their CRM process from the ground up.
Choosing The Right CRM Solution: Homegrown
Custom CRM software enables your sales teams to access all customer information in one place, making it easier for them to analyze their performance and make data-driven decisions that will improve customer interactions.
CRM suppliers SuperOffice report that a staggering 72% of companies began using a CRM to take advantage of the opportunity to track more customer interactions.
Large enterprises and small businesses alike can benefit from homegrown CRM software. Setting up custom software allows you to define the business processes that are unique to your company, allowing for increased automation and reduced complexity.
Custom CRM solutions can provide greater flexibility and scalability than traditional off-the-shelf products. For example, you can use custom CRM software for customer relationships and sales leaders across multiple divisions or departments within the same organization.
Advantages & Disadvantages Of Homegrown CRMs
There are several benefits and drawbacks when it comes to homegrown CRMs. On the pro side, with a homegrown CRM, businesses have complete control over data and applications. They can customize the software to address their needs and preferences without relying on third-party vendors or off-the-shelf solutions. Additionally, since data is stored locally, it may be more secure than cloud-based solutions.
On the con side, homegrown CRMs require more maintenance and resources to stay up-to-date. Also, the cost of developing a custom solution may not be feasible for smaller businesses or those with limited budgets.
Listed below are the advantages and disadvantages of homegrown CRMs:
The main advantages of a homegrown CRM include cost savings, flexibility, control over data, and customization options. A homegrown system may also be easier for staff since it can be customized to be user-friendly and intuitive with easy-to-navigate features.
A homegrown CRM is a great way to tap into the existing knowledge base of an organization and provide a solution tailored to the company’s specific needs.
This software was created with your unique operations and organization in mind. In the event that your sales process is highly specific due to being a part of an industry apart from others, or you do not handle any sales whatsoever, this custom-made platform allows you to customize every aspect as per what suits your needs best. Subsequently, you will never find yourself stuck using an unsuitable system for your business.
Unlike pre-made CRM software, homegrown CRM development allows you to handpick the most beneficial features for your business. You no longer have to pay extra for unnecessary features nor settle for less than what is truly needed for success – with custom solutions, only the ideal functions get implemented.
Salesforce reports that CRM software can dramatically expand sales by up to 29%, increase sales productivity by 39%, and enhance the precision of your sales forecast by an impressive 32%.
Opting for a homegrown solution gives you the benefit of owning it outright—no need to worry about hefty monthly or annual subscription fees. However, remember that this doesn’t mean your costs are done and dusted; having an IT expert on board to maintain and update the software is essential if you want it to function at its best.
In other words, while there’s no recurring cost involved with a one-time purchase like this – ongoing maintenance certainly has its place too.
The main disadvantage of a homegrown CRM is that it requires technical expertise to develop and maintain, so it is only suitable for some organizations. Additionally, since the system is built on existing platforms within a company, it may need features available in commercial solutions.
A homegrown CRM may need help to scale with the changing needs of an organization, which could limit its future potential.
Building a CRM requires skillful software developers, so you must invest in the right expertise. You will also need to allocate the budget for infrastructure costs – estimates can reach tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars! A personalized CRM system is no small expense; therefore, your initial assessment may not cover all necessary fees.
Constructing a custom-built platform takes a lot of work. It may be some time before you can utilize it, and your sales team will still have to use the old system of tracking contacts and sales. That can often be disheartening for them when they are aware that something better is on its way.
While being in charge of upkeep and updates is your duty, it’s necessary to have reliable IT experts on hand if any technical issues arise. Additionally, tech support will add an extra cost that should be considered; however, the advantage of not having any monthly or yearly subscription costs outweighs this expense.
After your CRM system is created, it’s up to you and your team to learn how to use it. Unfortunately, no training resources are tailored for this particular software, so videos or classes may not be available.
This might be fine if everyone in your company is tech-savvy; however, learning an entirely new platform can still prove difficult, even with a custom design.
What Features Should an Effective Custom CRM Provide?
With the plethora of features available on a CRM, it can be challenging to select which ones best suit your needs and enhance customer experience. However, there are some fundamental functions that all CRMs should possess to streamline sales processes and provide an unparalleled customer service journey.
Every custom CRM solution should be able to:
- Securely store and easily manage your contacts with ease. CRM software began with contact management, which is still one of the necessities. The ability to save, access, and arrange your contacts is a simple task that can be done with an excel document. Even with your contacts increase, so does its complexity – making it easier for you to keep up, resulting in dropped balls.
- Unearth, evaluate, and assign top-notch leads. Lead management is a process that allows you to observe your leads through the sales funnel and convert them into customers. It’s an important tool in ensuring that no one slips away due to lacking timely action on behalf of your business. With lead management, you can track every movement and interaction throughout the pipeline; this helps ensure each prospective customer has their needs met, so they remain engaged with your brand until purchase.
- Effortlessly synchronize with your email service. Email is at the heart of many sales activities. Hence it’s essential to link your Customer Relationship Management system with email. With a smooth integration, you can quickly and easily contact customers, collaborate with colleagues on projects, and share necessary information among teams.
- Manage your sales pipeline. With the power of pipeline management, you can gain an omnipresent view of your sales funnel. Such valuable insight allows you to monitor all aspects of progress and carefully guide leads from one stage to another so that nothing slips through the cracks!
- Manage and share documents. CRM’s document management capabilities are essential for streamlining the sharing and accessing of vital documents. Without it, emails become cluttered as people continuously request to attach files back and forth, an inefficient waste of time. With this feature, your team can easily upload and share essential records.
- Streamline mundane and laborious tasks by automating them. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are quickly transforming into essential components of CRM. Automations provide tremendous time-saving benefits by executing administrative tasks that usually consume sales teams’ efforts, such as emailing, appointment scheduling, rating potential clients, etc.
- Analyze your valuable customer data. To ensure customer delight, you must comprehend what they desire. CRM allows you to study your data and convert it into significant conclusions that catalyze better initiatives and services, heightening client retention and joy. Customers remain satisfied with the business’s product or service by transforming insights into tangible takeaways.
Homegrown CRMs: A Bespoke Solution?
Organizations are increasingly turning to homegrown CRM systems over commercial alternatives, as evidenced by the ISMM survey. A homegrown system provides organizations with cost savings, flexibility, control of data, and customization options – all without compromising on features.
As a bespoke solution, a homegrown CRM allows organizations to tap into their existing knowledge base and create a system tailored to their specific needs. While there are some limitations associated with such systems, they can be an effective way for businesses to manage customer relationships in the long term.
It is important to consider all the pros and cons of a homegrown CRM before committing to one, as it may only be suitable for some. However, for those businesses that can take advantage of this customizable solution, it could prove invaluable in helping them build successful customer relationships.
Preparing For A Custom CRM Implementation
Before you commit to a self-controlled installation, contemplate these pertinent questions:
- Are Your Goals Achievable? Building a new CRM system from scratch can take several weeks to a year. However, implementing will be much quicker if you opt for the faster option of simply equipping yourself with bare-bones pre-made software. Nonetheless, most businesses who develop in-house systems do so because they have special needs that require advanced customization and integration – expect this process to last at least three months or more.
- Do You Possess the Appropriate Skillset? Implementing a CRM isn’t just about IT; it’s primarily an all-encompassing business project. To ensure success, you’ll need to enlist experts in project management, operations, sales, marketing, and training with the necessary skill set.
- How Much Time Can Your Team Dedicate to the CRM Project? Directing talent and resources away from your organization requires changing daily operations.
- What Happens After You Deploy the System? You can’t simply stop at designing and developing the software – you need to find a way to persuade users to adopt it.
How To Build Your Own Homegrown CRM
If you have the financial resources to develop a custom CRM system, rest assured that your vision can become a reality. However, this endeavor requires substantial investment in money, time, and IT resources for development and ongoing maintenance.
To make it happen, here are the necessary steps:
- Pinpoint the exact objectives you wish to accomplish. Reaping a substantial return on investment should be the priority goal of whatever you are building. But in addition to that, there need to be crystal clear business goals laid out as well. What is your aim? Automating more sales processes? Shortening the current sales cycle? Or perhaps gaining deep insights into customer behavior? It’s essential for precision when something custom is being developed for you!
- Select the best CRM software for you and your business. Choosing the right type of CRM for your business depends on the goals you set, and there are three types: collaborative, operational, and analytical. If you want to break down data silos between all aspects of your company-sales, marketing, and support-then, a Collaborative CRM is an ideal choice. This single platform will let everyone see how their own activities contribute towards generating leads while pushing sales up at the same time.
Operational CRM streamlines customer journeys and automates mundane tasks, allowing salespeople to offer more personalized services. Moreover, analytical CRM delves into the rich data gathered during the sales cycle to provide meaningful insight that can help businesses refine their strategies. Together they drastically optimize time-consuming processes and enable companies to better serve customers by delivering tailored experiences.
- Carefully consider and choose the best features to help you reach your objectives. When using custom-built software, you can avoid unwanted features and save money. To gain this benefit, however, it is necessary to forecast precisely which functions will benefit your business needs -and which won’t.
If you’re looking to gain insights from analytics and reports, manage contacts better or collaborate on files more efficiently, then it’s essential for you to conduct thorough research before taking the plunge. Ensure that only necessary features make their way into your process, as every additional feature will add more resources, resulting in higher costs.
- Give serious thought to the user interface and experience (UI/UX) of your product or website. As you get to shape the interface of your software, a UX expert may be necessary to ensure that it’s user-friendly. This step is essential for success; if your team has to use this platform daily, then its intuitiveness is paramount. Additionally, consider who should have access to which features; not everyone needs every aspect available on the software!
- Program and test. No matter if you have a full-time software development team or choose to hire contractors, you must test the functionality throughout the process. Bugs and coding errors are unavoidable during this stage; hence, testing becomes significant to detect and eliminate them before launching your product.
- Launch and maintain. After completing the coding and all tests have been passed, you can officially launch your custom-built CRM. As previously mentioned, no training materials are usually created for this purpose. To ensure that everyone on your team knows how to use the system properly, you must devise a plan of instruction beforehand.
To ensure your system remains secure, you must dedicate resources to its upkeep. Even the most minor vulnerability can affect your business if not addressed promptly. Additionally, developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning are happening rapidly; failing to keep up could lead you to miss out on critical opportunities for growth and success.
Proper time should also be allocated for research and implementation of new discoveries so that you remain competitive.
How Expensive Is A Homegrown CRM System?
It’s not uncommon to come across several price estimates for a web development project. Some sources indicate an initial rate of around $5,000, while others suggest the figure is closer to $20,000. If you select complex features or require more work, your total cost may soar beyond $100,000.
Ultimately, it is difficult to predict the cost of building a custom CRM solution. The amount you have to pay depends on who you employ for this endeavor and the infrastructure and timeline required to launch your final product.
How Long Does It Take To Build A Homegrown CRM?
With any project timeline, the length is equally varied as the cost. Based on the complexity of creating your platform, it can take anywhere from a week to a full year. This includes ensuring every feature works accurately and successfully and transferring all customer data into the upgraded system -both time-consuming processes.
It will take time to construct the CRM and train each employee on properly using it. The amount of necessary instruction varies depending on your team’s technical expertise.
Choosing the Right Homegrown CRM Technology Partner
Before deciding to develop your own, be sure to pick the right partner. Partnering with an inexperienced or disorderly developer could inflate prices and slow down your grand unveiling. Given that many software developers are out there, it’s essential to carefully consider each option before settling on one.
When exploring custom CRM development, you may choose an experienced business specializing in the field. Alternatively, if you have a reliable contact who is skilled as a freelancer, they can be great too! In either case, inspecting their portfolios and examining some of their past work to know what kind of quality product or service they offer.
When researching for a CRM platform, pay extra attention to developers who have already built one for businesses similar to yours. Request detailed case studies to get an accurate idea of what the process will involve and look like.
What’s Next For The Homegrown CRM?
Once you have established a homegrown CRM solution, it is important to maintain and update the system. Regular maintenance will ensure that your CRM remains up-to-date with the latest features so users can access the latest functionalities. It’s also important to keep track of performance and usage data to ensure the system is being used efficiently.
A homegrown CRM offers organizations cost savings, flexibility, control of data, and customization options – all without compromising on features. It provides a bespoke solution tailored to an organization’s needs, making it an invaluable tool for building successful customer relationships.
The HubSpot 2022 State of Marketing report shows that a large majority of companies (75%) acknowledge the importance of closing more deals to support their teams, while nearly 70% strive to convert more contacts into customers. Additionally, 33% prioritize increasing revenue from existing clients and 48% search for ways to fine-tune sales funnels.
By establishing appropriate support procedures and monitoring the effectiveness of your system over time, businesses can successfully implement a homegrown CRM, which will benefit them in the long run. A homegrown CRM can be an invaluable asset to any organization with the correct preparation and implementation.