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A Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
application serves as a dashboard that keeps track of customer conversations across a multitude of platforms (like email, phone calls, etc.). CRM tools are instrumental in driving up the productivity of your business’ sales teams who may otherwise engage in duplicate outreach or fail to deliver the right pitch.
Step 1: Identifying sales team requirements
The first step in the development process
is gathering requirements from the end-user. In this case, it’s your business’ sales team. A typical sales process goes through the following eight steps: prospecting, connecting, qualifying, demonstrating value, addressing objections, deal closure, onboarding, and follow up.
Your CRM application
must permit the user to mark each of their leads to one of these eight steps. This way, you know what stage each of the leads are at. In addition to this, it is also helpful to let your Sales Development Reps (SDRs) to add details regarding their latest conversations in the application for future reference.
The other major feature of a CRM application
is contact management. This includes contact details of every lead and customer you have ever engaged in through the lifespan of your business. But finding contact details of each of these contacts can take a lot of time. In order to boost SDR productivity, it is a good idea to integrate your application with a third-party service like DiscoverORG or ZoomInfo so that you can quickly and efficiently pull details of your prospects.
Your CRM must also serve as the sales engagement platform
for your business. Most sales conversations happen either over email or phone call. Providing an omnichannel communication experience by integrating your app with your ESP
(Email Service Provider) and a VoIP tool is vital. It makes it possible for your SDR to carry out conversations from within the CRM dashboard. You can also enable a conversation recording feature that can be used for training and evaluation purposes.
Step 2: Prepare a development plan
There are tons of CRM application tools already available in the market today. Most small and medium sized businesses find it easier to plug their sales teams into one of these applications to get going. Several large businesses find the features on these CRM tools
inadequate and incompatible with applications they use for other services. In such cases, these third-party tools need to be integrated with existing applications.
Prepare a comprehensive list of features you need for your business and what is provided by these third-party apps. It is also a good idea to benchmark your one-time development cost of an in-house CRM
with the lifetime expense of using a third-party application. Evaluate the cost and benefits of these options before deciding how to go about your development.
For instance, if your organization uses an in-house email server to send out emails, you can integrate your email server data to Salesforce
in order to be able to use your email data within the CRM
. Similarly, if you are looking to integrate your CRM with a VoIP system
, pick a third-party tool that comes with the right API integration features for you to make this happen. Also look for other features in this third-party tool like conversation recording if you need this as part of your CRM.
Step 3: Build the application
Once you have finalized on the features and the development plan, the next step is to develop the application. It may be worth considering what kind of application you want to build. Locally installed software applications may no longer make sense for various reasons. Firstly, sales teams are forever on the move and requiring them to carry their laptop along always can be impractical. Secondly, with Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
gaining mainstream support, your SDRs are likely to own computers with various OS installations. This is also true for mobile apps since you may need to build separate versions for Android and iOS devices.
If you are on a deadline, it is a good idea to build a web-based CRM app. This makes it easily accessible across various computer and mobile devices. You may also consider the possibility of Progressive web apps
– web applications that look and feel like a mobile app.
In many organizations, sales teams are also distributed across different cities or zones. In order to make lead data seamlessly accessible across these various locations, it is important for your CRM data to be stored on the cloud. Read more on how to build a CRM database system
. A service like Amazon AWS
can be used to store telephone conversations for cheap.
Step 4: Test and rebuild
The objective of investing in a Customer Relationship Management software
is to reduce the workload of your SDRs and improve their productivity. As such, it makes no sense to build an app for your team to use without knowing if it contributes to productivity improvement. Most organizations today have some sort of customer relationship management tools already in use. This could be as simple as keeping a list of all customers in a spreadsheet or using an ill-fitting tool like Trello or Wrike for this purpose.
Regardless of how your SDRs
carry out customer management currently, track their productivity. This could be in the form of the time an SDR spends in outreach, the time they spend with documentation, the average closing cycle, and so on.
This way, once you have the first version of the product ready, you may try it with your SDRs
on a trial basis to measure productivity improvement.
It is worth noting here that implementing a CRM
for your sales team is never an end it itself. Consequently, tracking productivity needs to be an ongoing process that needs to be performed every time you add a feature or make a process change.
Have you implemented a CRM
for your sales organization recently? How did you go about implementing the software? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.