by Megan Webb-Morgan on 06/11/12 at 8:46 am
Your customer relationship management (CRM) software is integral to keeping your business clients and contacts organized and profitable. Your employees may be using CRM software in a variety of different ways: performing customer service, finding leads, upselling customers, and more.
However, larger organizations or companies with complex requirements often have to decide between either building their own CRM system or purchasing one out of the box. Both choices come with a number of advantages and disadvantages – and price is only a minor detail in comparison with the true benefits and costs of each choice.
Advantages of Building
Building your own CRM system can often seem a more cost-effective option for customer management because you don’t have to pay a vendor for the use and upkeep of the program. Some of the advantages are:
- Custom CRM software gives you complete control of a program that’s been built specifically tailored to your business’s exact needs. Its functionality is determined by your business’s needs, as well as the capabilities of your IT department.
- You own the code to your CRM software, and all software support is completed by your in-house IT department.
However, the disadvantages of a custom CRM build include: possible bugs from poor programming; the need for an extensive IT department to keep the software supported, functional, and updated; and the risk of losing functionality due to staff turnover or malicious code.
Advantages of Buying
Purchasing your CRM software from a vendor gives you access to a ready-made, well-researched and professionally developed management program that nevertheless comes with less flexibility and customization. Some advantages are:
- Buying an established CRM program ensures that you will receive continued support, functionality, and upgrades to the software even if you have a small IT department or lose your program developer to staff turnover.
- Some software is developed for use in specific industries, like sales or construction, so you may be able to purchase a ready-made program that fits your business with little modification.
The disadvantages of purchasing CRM software include: the original vendor keeps ownership of the code; the original vendor has ultimate control over the program’s functionality and support; and highly specialized out-of-box solutions may require a large up-front payment to the vendor.
Your Specific Needs
In deciding whether to build your own CRM software or purchase a pre-built package, you need to assess the needs and assets of your business. The type of functions you need your software to include, and the size and strength of your IT department are both important factors in your decision making process. Be sure to know the answers to these important questions.
- How much functionality does your CRM software need to have? Will building your own program provide you with original, custom functionality, or will it just “reinvent the wheel”?
- How much time, effort, and resources can your IT department devote to the creation of customized software? Can your business afford to wait for the program to be developed?
Building or buying CRM software for your business each comes with a specific set of advantages and disadvantages. Your choice depends upon what kind of software your business needs, what it needs to do, and whether your IT department should be in a position of ancillary support or complete control.
About The Author: Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for lead generation resource, Resource Nation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as sales software. Find them on Facebook to continue the conversation! Resource Nation: CRM systems guide