In the past, building your own CRM certainly had its benefits. It wasn’t uncommon to take a ‘DIY’ or ‘do it yourself’ approach to creating a CRM, enabling organisations of all sizes to tailor their CRMs to their needs.
For organisations with especially complex requirements, this approach had its time. Going the DIY route added a level of configurability many organisations depended on to be able to deliver specific functions.
But a lot has changed since then. What does this mean for businesses that have grown up with custom CRM systems?
The modern, integrated CRM you’ve been working towards
The market has moved on, driven by rapid innovation and shifting customer habits. The way people buy has evolved and with it, their expectations around how brands interact with them and the level of service they are able to deliver.
No matter how much you’ve already invested in your custom CRM, continuing to adapt it to keep up to date with these changes is a headache (and a cost) nobody needs.
If a bespoke CRM hasn’t been updated, odds are the data in there isn’t relevant, your sales team isn’t using it, you can’t rely on it for reporting, and the marketing team has no idea what anyone is doing. It’s not cohesive, it’s not connected. Chris Grant, Sales Enablement Consultant
So what’s new? With CRM giants such as Salesforce and HubSpot at your fingertips, keeping your DIY CRM just isn’t necessary anymore. And yet, we hear so often that many businesses are resistant to migrating from their DIY platform to a modern, integrated system that will enable the whole business to drive revenue growth.
Why is that?
5 reasons why people are still attached to their custom CRM
Have you invested a lot of money in your current DIY CRM? Are you worried your business has too many specific requirements that wouldn’t fit with an off-the-shelf solution? Are you concerned about adoption, integrations, and losing customer data? Often these are the reasons why businesses are reluctant to switch to a modern, integrated CRM.
If you find yourself nodding your head to some of these concerns, read on to find out why letting them go could be one of the best business decisions you’ve ever made.
1. “But we’ve invested so much already”
DIY CRMs are known for having steep initial costs because they require a lot of care and attention, never mind the development time that follows. Depending on the size of your business, it can take months or even years of testing and implementation to design a solution that works for your needs and functionality.
If you’re already years down that track and you think it would be a wasted investment to change CRMs because of how much you’ve already devoted to your custom platform, then you need to consider whether it’s truly giving you any value in return.
How much money are you spending on upkeep and maintenance?
Are your salespeople using it?
Can you integrate it to other critical business applications?
Does it update itself?
Is it easy to train new members on it?
Does it have a mobile application?
Is it tailored to your business needs?
If you find yourself unable to answer some of these questions, then considering a modern, integrated CRM that provides you with a tangible return on your investment could drive revenue growth and transform your operations.
2. “An off-the-shelf CRM solution wouldn’t fit our business”
It’s common for businesses to think that their sales cycle or methods of engagement are so complex that no CRM could possibly meet their needs.
But while every business has its own way of working, chances are that your prospects go through a similar buying process. Despite the particular stages you might have in your sales cycles, there are several aspects that remain consistent across any business:
You need to quickly engage when someone shows interest in your product
You need to keep them interested throughout the sales cycle
You need to get them over the line and close a deal
Your sales team must provide the right information for internal reporting without creating an admin burden
A common myth with off-the-shelf CRMs is that they can’t be personalised to your particular business needs, but the free HubSpot CRM is hugely customisable.
And if your requirements are especially complex, our tailored CRM onboarding provides the support you need to migrate swiftly and without disruptions to your daily operations. We’ll cover goals, time scales, specific requirements, and who needs to be involved, all built into an onboarding program you can depend on to get your new CRM set up and running smoothly.
3. “It’ll be too hard to get people to adopt a new CRM system”
It’s no secret that adoption is one of the most common issues among both custom-built and off-the-shelf CRMs. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why CRM deployments fail.
Because of the never-ending rollout, DIY CRMs already have low adoption rates. If you’ve built your own CRM and find that no one is using it, then it’s time to say goodbye to poor usage and move on to a system that will make everyone happy across the business.
“Low adoption often means people aren’t using the CRM as their primary source of data and are likely storing their information elsewhere", says Chris. “This could be anywhere from hidden spreadsheets to written notes. HubSpot is prepared for these types of issues, offering standardised onboarding and adoption support to encourage maximum usage.”
HubSpot’s onboarding experience sets your whole business up to use the CRM as effectively as possible, offering weekly onboarding sessions to help you get up and running. Not only is it more accommodating in terms of the set-up, but the process takes minutes. Your team will quickly learn how to do their own customisations, create dashboards, set up reports, and much more.
“CRM providers like HubSpot or Salesforce have large teams of people constantly developing every day, and you just can’t match that with something custom-built.” Chris Grant
People often start using a new tool with the best intentions, however, if it isn’t intuitive or easy to operate, it’s common for usage rates to drop off. One of the reasons HubSpot is so easy to adopt is that it doesn’t put pressure on the salespeople to update the CRM. Every customer interaction, including emails and phone calls, is recorded live and automatically logged. HubSpot’s onboarding process makes this crystal clear so that your users are aware of the valuable information the new CRM is storing.
4. “It would be a nightmare to undo the many manual integrations in our current CRM”
Modern platforms like HubSpot are built for integrations. In particular, HubSpot is deeply invested in ensuring your marketing, sales, and service functions can speak to each other, so all the data your company generates can be accessed and analysed across the business.
“A fully integrated platform is a huge benefit,'' says Chris. “It has the ability to reveal insights such as cost of customer acquisition, the lifetime value of a customer, and ROI. In doing so, you can leverage everything you know about your customers to deliver improved experiences across your business operations.”
Let’s say you build multiple complex integrations between your current CRM and other critical business tools which cannot be replaced by native CRM functionality. It can be concerning to unpick and integrate them with a new CRM. You might think it’s like a game of Jenga - take one out and the whole thing falls apart.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take prior to a migration to make it as efficient, accurate, and risk-free as possible. As we’ve mentioned, platforms like HubSpot are built to handle integrations, and in most cases, there are simple walkthroughs to help you get your systems talking to each other. You can also get advice on integrations from a CRM provider. If you’re considering switching to HubSpot, you can seek out a certified partner agency with experience of more complex CRM integrations.
Another common myth about migrating CRMs is that you’ll lose all your data during the process. As long as you do the right technical preparations and export your data, you can rest assured that this won’t happen. Everything that is essential to your business can be mapped over to your new system.
However, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t be trying to replicate the exact same setup in your new CRM. You should look at your data strategy with fresh eyes.
What does this mean exactly?
“Take your new CRM as an opportunity to review the data you’re currently storing and using”, says Chris. “Could you clean your data before incorporating into the new system to make sure it’s all accurate and relevant? This is a good opportunity to pinpoint any data you no longer need including duplicates, unstructured data, contacts with a history of bouncing, and contacts who no longer engage, for example.”
Once you’ve migrated your data across, a CRM system like HubSpot will do much of the heavy lifting in terms of ensuring all your data is up to date, but it’s always good to prompt each team (such as sales, financial reporting etc.) to embed the CRM into their business processes to fill out gaps in their data and secure its relevance across the business.
Using a modern CRM to drive business growth
Much of the reluctance to move from a DIY solution comes down to budget. Companies wind up investing significant amounts of money into building and maintaining custom CRMs and find themselves stuck using a system that isn’t giving them the value they need back from it.
Not only is there a monetary investment, but there are also emotional ties to custom-built CRMs. Lots of blood, sweat, and tears go into building and developing a system of this magnitude, making it difficult for many companies to move on.
It’s never easy to accept change, but sometimes it’s necessary in order to grow as a business. In today’s increasingly complex digital world, migrating from a custom-built CRM to a modern, integrated system like HubSpot is key to securing long-term business success. It will help you to understand your prospects and customers and how they interact with you. It will bring your business together. And it will form the solid foundations for predictable, repeatable revenue growth, setting you up to compete and scale, whichever market you’re in.
As your business performance transforms and your customer relationships develop, you’ll wonder why you were ever reluctant to let go of your DIY CRM in the first place.