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Off the Shelf CRM vs Bespoke CRM: Which One? [Infographic]

You've made the decision a CRM is the best way to collect and manage your customers’ data. What a fantastic decision!

You'll be trying to whittle down different providers and software packages. When you're doing this, you'll come across bespoke CRM and off the shelf CRM. We're going to show you the benefits and drawbacks so you can pick the best solution.


Advantages of Bespoke CRM

1. Ideal for Targeted Marketing Campaigns

What will you offer that your competitors don't? If it's something people want, they'll exchange information like an email or a phone number. Store it in your custom CRM and use it to market to them in the future.

Eateries like KFC and Greggs team up with The Cloud to offer free WiFi, enticing customers into their stores. Great idea, but anyone can copy it. Try to stand out.

2. High-Level of Support

If you have your CRM developed by a web agency or software development company, you'll be working with experts in that field. Developers are easier to access and staff aren't trained to sell you add-ons you don't need.

It works both ways, chatbots and messenger apps can form part of your custom CRM. This makes it easier to communicate with your customers in a place that suits them.

3. Simple and Adaptable

Having your system designed around your company processes means you don't have to worry about extra add-ons. Spend less time training staff as the software company tailors the CRM functions.

These systems have agile and adaptable designs. If your business changes so can your software.

This is where you'll benefit from owning the software. There are no lengthy delays changing something you own. you'll expect the software company to work with you to schedule a target date.

4. Improves Customer Support Systems

Communication can be problematic when running a business. How do you ensure consistency across your business?

By implementing a custom custom CRM, multi-channel management is easy. Off the shelf software can be hard to integrate with different selling platforms or social media sites.

By using bespoke software, you're getting it done for you. Mistakes are less likely and your staff will be happy and relaxed. Less time spent resolving administrative errors means more time on high-priority tasks.

Bespoke systems tailor your automated processes so staff can complete administrative tasks with efficiency.

5. Tailor Your Results to Business Goals

You should have goals when setting up your bespoke CRM, if you haven't then get back to the drawing board!

Let's say your goal is to capture 200 phone numbers in 6 months on a website form. Once you capture a number, it's in the system and the CRM automates a call back for 7 days time.

Your custom CRM provides metrics for the sales rep with the most calls, who's had the most calls assigned to them and how many numbers have been collected. It can track anything you want!

off the shelf crm

Disadvantages of Bespoke CRM

1. Getting the Wrong Company

Picking the wrong company could be an expensive mistake. Let's face it, businesses take jobs on regardless of whether they have the right staff to complete it.

Make sure you do your research, check out previous projects, set-up meetings. Don't jump into things because you may regret it.

2. Expensive Initial Fee

Better start asking for that increase in budget! Bespoke CRM software is expensive to develop and companies will charge high initial fees.

If you're a smaller business you may not be able to afford the upfront cost, or it might be too early to invest.

Switching around off the shelf providers and buying various add-ons can be expensive, so compare costs before investing.

3. Prolonged Development Time

Development time will depend on the size of your business. If you're a larger company with mountains of paperwork or online data, transferring could be a huge job, taking months or years.

Plan the build. Estimate times for building the system, reviewing it, correcting errors and importing data. It's a humongous task and could incur heavy costs. In contrast, development time for smaller firms can be shorter.

If you're a startup and flexible with development you could strike up a healthy relationship with a web development team. If this relationship flourishes you'll have a new, unique system and a lasting working partnership.

4. Not Being Aware of Your Business's Needs

Are you focusing your efforts in the right place? Business owners get hellbent on something they want, rather than focusing on what they need.

If you're struggling to house 1,000's of customer accounts but your sales team are exceeding budget targets, why are you recruiting more sales staff?

Advantages of Off the Shelf CRM

1. Software Training

Most CRM providers supply training for their software as programs can be tricky to use if you're a beginner.

Many offer video tutorials for smaller teams or online training and content guides for anytime access.


If you're looking for an off the shelf CRM, get the best training package to ensure your staff are up to speed.

2. Quick Installation

Depending on your needs, setting up a CRM could be fast when using off the shelf software.

Conduct plenty of research first. After all, the first person you'll come into contact with at any company will be a sales executive or account manager, whose job it is to get you to buy!

If you've decided that company is for you, you could have the software ready to go in a matter of days. The software is ready-made, so you can plug in and play.

3. Cheap Initial Cost

The user database for CRM software packages is larger so prices are more competitive, especially your initial sign-up fee.

But beware, you may have to adapt your business to suit the CRM. This means a lot of development add-ons and extra training, inflating the cost over time.

top tip

If the software fulfils your needs without adaptations, off the shelf CRM is for you.

4. Offer of a Free Trial

Software companies will offer you time to get to grips with the software. This usually comes in the form of a free trial.

It's a great way to get customers, as people who aren't happy with the software won't take it. This feedback allows the provider to keep developing the program and improving functionality.

Disadvantages of Off the Shelf CRM

1. Lack of Support

CRM loyalty can be scarce as customer support in the industry is relatively poor. This relates to a combination of factors. The complex nature of CRM means a lot of employees experience problems.


If organisations don't have the infrastructure to solve problems, solutions can be overdue.

For example, you make a call to your provider and get through to a customer service agent. It's a development problem and they need to put your enquiry through to a developer, who has a heavy workload. How long is it going to take to solve the problem? Do you want to go through a middleman?

bespoke crm

2. Poor Development Prospects

As you build your knowledge or your business expands you'll experience limitations with your CRM.

You don't own the software so you can't change it. You have to wait for the provider to adapt, or switch providers. This could cost you time and money if switching is a regular occurrence.

3. Too Many Unnecessary Features

When you use a program like Microsoft PowerPoint, how many of its features do you use? 10, 20% at a push?

key point

Off the shelf software is designed for many industries and businesses so it's made with mass appeal in mind.

This leaves you with features you don't need and will never use. If your competitors are using the provider, there are no features that make you unique in customer management.

Ask your staff what their daily paint points are, you'll get an insight into the problems at your company.

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