Every business has customers. And almost every business uses CRM software to record customer information, nurture leads, and serve existing customers. Pick any out-of-the-box CRM software, and it will do the job!

Most of the time.

But when your CRM software can’t match your business model and process, bad things happen. Negative side effects have been known to include muttered obscenities, chaotic sticky note collages, and stress-eating. What do you do when your software is almost what you need?

You have a few options:

  1. Do nothing and continue hating it and losing business opportunities
  2. Create complex work-arounds in your process (supplemental Excel sheets, for example)
  3. Find a custom solution

Obviously, option #1 is a terrible idea, and we won’t dwell on it.

Option #2 is tempting, because at first glance it seems creative, free, and relatively effective. But don’t be deceived by The Work-Around. It may start out great, but eventually it becomes a destructive monster (not unlike Anakin Skywalker). You’ll end up with versioning nightmares, mandatory training on how to properly use the Work-Around, user errors, and a pounding headache.

And so we are left with option #3. Custom software can be a little intimidating, but it is the only way to get a custom solution. If you are struggling with a CRM software or a Work-Around, it may be time to consider building something new.

What can a custom CRM system do, you ask? Really, anything you need it to. But here’s one example.

One of our clients needed a way to manage his customers who owned retirement products. He needed basic information (like any CRM provides), but he also needed to know when to contact customers at predefined points, like when a customer turned 50. He was using an Excel sheet as a Work-Around, which meant a lot of daily manual sorting and filtering. The sheet would then tell him which clients needed to be contact and for which reasons.

The specific nature of our client’s business made this a great candidate for custom software, instead of an out-of-the-box CRM software. We built a web application that stores all the customer information, but more impressively, it automates all the reminders and alerts to the customers. It’s also a powerful reporting tool, giving greater insight into customer actions.

Instead of spending all his time sorting through a spreadsheet, our client let the software take over the most time-consuming part of his job. This allowed him to focus on growth and development, finding new customers, and improving processes. He continues to use the custom software, and it continually impresses colleagues and competitors.

So, if you find yourself frustrated with your CRM software, don’t settle and don’t try the Work-Around. There’s a better way. (Although, had Anakin chosen the better way, we would be out one of the greatest film series of all time.) Custom software can do just about anything you need, so lose the pounding headache and get a solution that is the perfect fit for your business.

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