Why Building Your Own Custom CRM is Not as Bad as it Sounds

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Bruce Peck

Feb 07, 2023 · 5 min read

The Custom CRM Diagnosis

If Google was a hospital, and the search results were the doctor telling you what your options are, many people that have searched the terms “CRM for (insert specific company type)” have gotten the news nobody wants to hear…

In a way Google tells them, “I’m sorry to tell you this but… you’re going to have to build your own CRM.”

If you’ve gotten that diagnosis, don’t despair, there is hope for you.

I’ve been there many times when people have realized this, and most are hesitant to face the challenge that it can be to build a CRM from scratch. And for good reason, it’s definitely not a simple project since it touches so many areas of a business.

Even though there is no way around it being a large project that will take sometime to build, it’s not as bad as you might think.

In this article we‘re going to take a look at what it actually takes to build your own Customer Relationship Management tool from scratch (because we’ve done it a few times).

What is CRM?

CRM is short for “Customer Relationship Management” and it does exactly what it sounds like, it is a software that allows you manage all the different touch points with your customers in a coherent way.

Some famous CRM’s out there include:

  1. Salesforce
  2. Hubspot
  3. Zoho

All of these tools are great, and very robust, they are built to be used across a number of different industries and in a lot of different verticals.

But… They are weak in other ways. For instance, if you have a highly specific type of business that ties in things like inventory, or physical parts and that’s part of your relationship with customers, then these out of the box solutions may fall short.

These things start to become just a part of the entire system. And when you reach a certain point with your business it becomes more importantly for things to work

What does it take to build a CRM?

$100K+, a positive attitude and the right developers. Roughly speaking.

A CRM is a larger piece of software to build and it takes some time, because there are a ton of features that go into it.

Here’s just a brief list of areas that you might see when building a CRM:

  1. Contact Management
  2. Lead Management
  3. Sales Management
  4. Marketing Automation
  5. Customer Service
  6. Analytics and Reporting
  7. Mobile Access
  8. Integration With Third Party Software
  9. Security

And underneath those features there are many parts that make it work. Like defining permission sets, creating ways to talk with contacts, managing the states of leads, managing how the orders are filled and on.

So if your goal is to build a CRM, you have to be comfortable with the fact that mapping your company processes and then turning them into designs can take awhile, for the simple fact that they are by necessity detailed.

The other reality of a custom CRM project is that it will most likely need to be completed in phases.

When you build a smaller app, the whole app concept can live in one person’s head. The trouble when you get into CRM app development, is that it is too big for any one person to fully grasp in its entirety.

When a project reaches that size, it’s generally better to develop it in distinct phases, even if the plan is to launch it all at the same time.

Distinct phases make it so that each piece of the project can be understood by individuals and allows you to test each piece of the app as you go, instead of waiting until the end.

Why it isn’t as bad as it sounds

While we’ve established that building out a CRM is definitely a committed process, it takes time, detail orientation and money, it is completely doable.

The technology associated with building a CRM is readily available, and the process is well established.

For many businesses the upside to having their CRM fitting their company processes like a tailored suit can make a major difference in their productivity and is well worth the relatively small investment of time and money.