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Should you create your own CRM system?

Or to put it another way, is it worthwhile designing and developing your own CRM system?

Recently, I had an enquiry from a large financial services company looking to purchase a large CRM system to act as their core platform, however, once they discovered the licencing costs for over 200 users and multiplied these over 5 or more years, the decision was taken to do this internally.  

For the first time in a while, this made me question if there are times when this should be considered, despite the fact that for the last 18 years I been recommending the benefits of why off- the-shelf CRM software such as GoldMine, SAGE CRM , ACT! and MS CRM is best!

Well, thinking about this situation, this particular company had a number of advantages:-

• They had strong and dedicated Project Management and Business Analysts’ team used to software projects

• They had their own established and stable software development team with excellent database skills and expertise

• A strong track record for delivering complex IT projects and custom solutions for their business users

• A variety of other industry specific systems needed to be integrated with , with which they were very familiar and had already integrated systems with many times over the years

• Their dedicated sales team were used to having and expecting customised solutions apart from standard MS Office/MS Outlook applications.

• Most importantly, they have long term financial stability and this meant that the IT team and many of the personnel had been in place for 5 or more years, thus a project may take a year or so, but the company were able to fund this and rely on a their core team of developers with many years of experience and low staff turnover.

Is this approach applicable to the smaller company?

My own view on reflection is that creating your own CRM still involves a high degree of risk and unless most of the core elements listed above are in place, can be too big a risk for most SME clients. CRM systems themselves have evolved greatly over the last 20 or so years and these are now often at the head of a range of complementary software, such as email marketing tools, marketing automation software etc.

For smaller companies, without the necessary financial resources and a strong and dedicated IT Development and Project Management team, replicating this depth of functionality would involve a lot of time, effort and risk. Even for software companies, my experience has shown that their own developers are increasingly being focussed on developing their own software for business income and do not have the spare capacity.

So what to do if you do not fit into this category?

Clearly, the key here is to engage with someone like ourselves who as an independent CRM consultancy can help you develop a business case, consider your core requirements and help you select the best CRM system from the wide range available. A recent survey we encountered, showed over 355 CRM systems capable of review!

In my view, our own role is to use our in-depth experience and knowledge of the market to help you select the best CRM for you. For more information or to request a CRM ‘Discovery’ meeting, please contact us using the form or call us

By Gary Perkins

17th January 2014