CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a software, a place where you storage clients' data as well as manage the communication. Good CRM system will remind us to pay an invoice, assist in making an appointment or check on the status of the stock. There are a lot of solutions in this field in the relevant market - from relatively cheap that can be useful when it comes to working with small teams to huge ones (such as Salesforce) without which it's hard to do your job especially in big cross-industry enterprises.
So how to choose the best tool if there's plenty of them?
It's obvious that the price is the main factor. CRMs creators are aware of who can and who cannot afford it on the entry into the market. If you work with a three-man team and run a small online books shop, probably the subscription costing over 100 USD per month will be a deal-breaker.
On the other hand, even medium building or IT company should dwell on a more advanced solution. A good CRM system archives the communication between you and a client and as a result your e-mails won't be gone inside the depths of a mailbox. The communication trail will be readily available for the team.
You should compare prices of different service providers at the first place. The most CRM systems that are available in SAAS model offer free 30-days and even 60-days subscription. The CRM must contain necessary tools (such as calendar or alerts). It should be like a car - easy-drive and intuitive.
What about the firms, whose needs are continuously changing? In the right development stage, companies (especially the innovate ones) need to ask themselves whether available options respond to their needs. Building a custom CRM system is a good way. The entry threshold of this kind of investment could be higher than for example monthly rate of subscription, however, give us the complete freedom when it comes to features we need.
Custom CRM system seems to be the perfect option for companies providing multi-faceted services such as medical centers. Doctor's appointments, billings, surgery's schedule or SMS reminders ("took the insulin") - all of them can be merged (and the new can be added) in tailor-made CRM solution.
How to get started with custom-made CRM?
Dedicated systems work wonderfully in sectors of specific needs such as international transport. In this case, needs mapping (the description on what kind of them the CRM should take into account) is fundamental. Orders archiving can be crucial as well as SMS reminder I mentioned above.
I consider it equally important to define who will be responsible for managing the CRM. Dedicated CRM systems are designed for a broad range of users (in the case of a medical company it can be a doctor, nurse, receptionist, accountant as well as representative of insurance company) so it's essential to provide a precise definition.
It's worth to ask external auditor for needs mapping in the case of big businesses. The auditor shall have access to all employees at every level to understand their work. The prepared analysis provides a starting point for a development team that will set to work just after the prioritization.
Rome was not built in a day
The precise prioritization of needs allows us to get the light version of the CRM quite quickly. The best software companies use agile methodologies which save the time required for the creation of abstruse tech specification. On the other hand, it requires close cooperation with the client.
The implementation of the project may take few months and should be preceded by rigorous study. The experienced software development company should among others organize UX workshop session with the client. During the meeting, the team creates sketches of the layout as well as user stories which are using scenarios. The fact that the software will be utilized by employees (not clients) doesn't result in a lower quality of CRM system.
The layout of the buttons makes the work with CRM easier and intuitive. It not only will help new employees to adjust but also it'll cut time of the single operation and therefore will speed up the job.
How to choose the best software company?
Following the price is one of the most common mistakes. In the case of months of work, there's no way to make it fixed price, and so you are forced to do it with an hourly fee. Despite appearances, that is not a bad way, because you have more control on the digital project so you can make significant modification during the development process. You can even change the course of the project because of market developments for example.
The lowest hourly rate doesn't mean the lowest price. An inexperienced team will simply burn and many hours (and your budget) before they dig down deep the project. The big CRM system (I assume that you want something big) means complex structure. If there is a lot of work to do, it's very easy to make mistakes that cause bugs occur - what is completely normal when it comes to software development, but in reasonable quantity.
Usually, every team has their leading technology. It's worth having a look at the previous projects and wondering if the technology also fits you. It's interesting to note that Django is the framework which is one of the most popular ones in the West. Thanks to many libraries, it is both safe and time-saving. The Django community is growing that allows you to be confident about the future development of your project.
The new measures of EU aim to protect the data of a natural person. One of the goals is to secure the "right to be forgotten." The Union legislator shifts the legal responsible and administrative competencies onto actors that are collecting data. It's worth remembering that not every commercial CRM system will provide flexible tools in case of the control of the government officials. In this regard, too, the custom-made CRM system is the solution you might wish to consider.