Off-The-Shelf Solution Vs. Custom CRM Development: Making The Right Choice

Off-The-Shelf CRM Software Vs. Custom CRM Solution: Making The Right Choice

Does your startup have new leads flooding in? Do you want to easily scale your business but struggle with managing all the data? You probably need a good CRM that will help organize your prospects and leave more time for your team to effectively convert them.

In this article, we’ll cover how to select a perfect CRM for your company and explain in which cases an off-the-shelf CRM solution will be better than a custom CRM.

Quick notes about CRM

What is CRM software, and why is it important?

Predicting customer behavior is crucial for success. Companies want to know their clients’ needs, tastes, and preferences.

In this sense, the importance of CRM (customer relationship management) comes into play. This technology helps manage all business relationships and interactions with existing and potential clients within a company, streamline work processes, and boost revenues.

We mean, these numbers speak for themselves:

CRM benefits

What should a CRM include?

It usually consists of but is not limited to the following features:

  • A sales module that allows you to control and monitor the objectives of a sales team;
  • Customizable dashboards with periodic reports that reflect the evolution of your sales goals;
  • A service module that helps implement fast and efficient customer service;
  • A marketing module with such functions as email and social media marketing, etc.

What is the difference between custom and off-the-shelf CRM?

Custom solution

Custom CRM

Every business is a separate universe that has specific relationships with its clients, management needs, and objectives that it wants to achieve when implementing CRM software.

Of course, the most adaptable to the needs of a big company is the custom-made software.

A custom CRM is a platform built from scratch by a software development contractor or in-house developers. It can be useful when your business sales model is complex or doesn’t smoothly fit into a conventional B2B sales model.

As you build your own CRM to cater to specific needs, it’s made up only of those modules and features that will assist in running the daily and commercial activity of your company. The software adapts to your business, and not the other way around. Its installation can increase sales by improving the efficiency of all processes.

However, keep in mind that a customizable CRM might have critical drawbacks that could cost you money, time, and customers.

Off-the-shelf solution

Off-the-shelf CRM

Off-the-shelf CRM is advanced and scalable turnkey software aimed at supporting common routine functionality, such as file sharing, email sending, etc. It usually offers an option to pick-and-choose the required modules.

It’s logical that having similar business processes and potential issues, many organizations choose to implement a ‘turnkey’ CRM system, rather than ordering a custom one.

Quite often, the cost is the major argument while selecting a CRM type. Besides, choosing an out-of-the-box system also means that you will be able to start using your CRM much sooner than if you order a custom solution.

Off-the-shelf software is usually professionally tested, and you will get high-quality support as part of your CRM maintenance agreement. Be sure that any existing issues with the leading off-the-shelf CRM systems get solved much more easily.

Software upgrades and updates are usually delivered simply as part of your subscription, giving you the features you need without having to invite a customization team to develop them for you. That makes your work much more comfortable.

And if you need more functions in your off-the-shelf solution, you can always upgrade to get the desired features. Besides, a turnkey CRM usually goes with a variety of ready training sources.

Some of the best off-the-shelf CRM systems of 2024 are, Zoho CRM, Hubspot CRM, Freshsales, Keap, Less Annoying CRM, and others. CRM banner

Reasons companies order custom CRM development

There are several core benefits businesses expect from custom CRM solutions:

1. Features tailored to the needs

This one is obvious from the definition. Customizable CRM lets you tie up all the loose ends with custom features and functionality. You will no longer need to use multiple systems and switch between them. And as you remove all the unnecessary steps, this will streamline comfortable customer relationship management.

When a team of software developers builds a custom CRM system, you can always add new features and specifications to meet your business goals and technical demands.

2. Easy modifications

With the growth and expansion of your company, you might need to adjust your CRM system to new demands.

You can also request updates having an off-the-shelf CRM program, but for a huge enterprise, they might not be enough. With a bespoke CRM system you can order individual customizations and create custom apps and features for specific business segments anytime you need. Although, in most cases, it will lead to more money spent.

Besides, with the customizable CRM help, you will be able to proactively react to changes in the industry and have a competitive advantage over your competitors.

Speaking of…

3. Competitive advantage

Many organizations use the same turnkey CRM platforms. So, companies that want to use their CRM system as a competitive strength order a custom solution to fulfill their unique creative strategies. Plus, you can build custom apps and features for particular business niches, which is useful if you have an extensive range of offers in different departments.

Reasons companies regret ordering a custom CRM software

You might be happy with the benefits described above and start looking for a custom CRM development contractor for your business. However, sometimes such CRM software isn’t the answer.

Here are a few reasons you may not want to go down this particular route and choose to settle with an off-the-shelf CRM instead:

1. Longer timeframe and high creation costs

Even if you invite a professional and experienced contractor, it might take months to develop and perfect every feature of a custom CRM software. If you can’t wait so long and want your CRM to be working within a couple of days, it’s better to choose an off-the-shelf solution.

Creating a custom CRM can also result in a ridiculous amount of money. And since it consumes so much time and energy, all the mistakes should be identified and eliminated before deployment.

2. Need for tailored tech support

The professional maintenance of your bespoke CRM program will demand individual technical assistance. If something happens to your system, it will take more time to fix that issue than if you had a turnkey CRM solution. Having a tech support team is expensive. Choosing an off-the-shelf platform with a phone, live chat, or email support may be much more beneficial.

3. Need for a team of developers to constantly update it

The tech world changes extremely fast, demanding businesses to stay continuously modernized. Otherwise, they might lose their competitive advantage.

But updating your software and adding new features to stay afloat won’t be free of charge. So, consider if you want to pay a big sum to a team of developers that will roll out updates regularly.

With a turnkey CRM, your business will automatically get support and regular updates from the development team. Vendors always upgrade their solutions to stay in line with industry standards.

Custom vs. Off-the-shelf CRM

Before you make a decision

Before you select an off-the-shelf CRM or start developing a bespoke system, it’s important to go through the preoperational stage and find answers to several key questions about the purpose of your future CRM, its functions, and requirements.

A good way to determine the demands is to organize a consulting team and invite representatives from each department of your business to that group.

During the first brainstorming meeting, make a detailed list of all your demands to the system, show it to the team of developers and designers, and let them keep in touch with your consulting board to get better insights into the workflow.

To help you decide whether to buy a turnkey solution or build it from scratch, define the following key CRM project requirements:

  • Commercial goals. Define your company’s market strategy and what revenue growth you anticipate after implementing a CRM system. Various CRMs have different approaches to improving your performance. Some of them help cut your spending by automating specific workflows, while others assist you in creating a new business strategy based on statistics.
  • Functional requirements of CRM and software requirements specifications. Determine all the software target groups and try to specify the way they are going to interact with your CRM. Gather all types of current software tasks — it will help you create the so-called tree of functions.
  • Determine the class of your system. CRM platform is targeted to solve various types of business tasks. You don’t always need an all-inclusive fusion. Decide which of the 4 types of tasks you plan to accomplish using the tool: operational, communication, analytical, or strategic.
  • Quality control. List key features of your CRM system, like security, work speed, and integration with current databases. In case your CRM should meet such standards as ISO, ASTM, or FDA, add this requirement to the list.
  • Estimation/selection of a CRM system. At this step, discuss the requirements with your team, including a project manager, designers, and developers. They provide assistance to define system tasks and critical paths, select the best variant, estimate budget and deadlines, and create a time-frame for implementation.

Best off-the-shelf CRM systems to use in 2024

Now that we have described factors to consider while selecting a CRM, let’s have a look at several top turnkey solutions used by businesses in 2024.

Best CRM systems to use in 2024

  • Zoho
  • Pipedive
  • Salesforce
  • Hubspot CRM is an off-the-shelf CRM platform that allows you to organize your lead base, focus on the most promising deals, and smoothly manage your outreach automation. It offers a great variety of tools for deal management, lead generation, email verification, email automation, email tracking — all in one toolkit.

The platform helps you fill your funnel with high-quality targeted leads and close deals easier:

Deal management
Working together with a team, as one well-coordinated mechanism, is critical to efficiently moving сustomers down the sales funnel. With CRM, you can be on the same wavelength with your colleagues — share notes, templates, assign responsible participants, track progress, and manage relationships with potential and existing clients.

Lead generation and verification
With, leads go faster and more smoothly through the sales funnel. You can pump your funnel with quality contacts and decrease the price-per-lead. Easily control the quality of your new and existing contacts with’s 7-tier verification and skyrocket email deliverability up to 98%.

Prospect nurturing and conversion
The platform allows you to effectively engage, nurture, and convert your leads, as well as automate and scale your outreach activities with personalized email drip campaigns. Schedule mailouts for existing lists, plan triggered follow-ups, and observe the prospects’ engagement right from your Gmail.

–> Learn 21 way you can use for your successful outreach.

Research competitors
Carry out market intelligence and beat your rivals having all the necessary tools in one box. Scan complete company profiles, discover the technologies used by your prospects and competitors, and find references to your brand. Gather the important data to improve your product and present it on a better level.

Pricing: CRM is free to use. The platform also gives you an everlasting free plan, with 50 renewable monthly credits and 100 recipients, which is more than enough for you to test-drive some of its other functions (Email Finder, Email Verifier, Email Drips, etc.) before selecting a paid plan. Paid plans start at $39/month.

Need a free CRM solution for your business?

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Need a free CRM solution for your business?

Zoho CRM Online


Zoho is a great CRM tool that competes with industry leaders. It’s nice to see how much time you can save by working with a tool like this. More than 150,000 companies rely on this CRM as their main day-to-day sales engine.

It has a modern design and features that make it a perfect instrument for companies looking to take the next step. On top of it, Zoho is free for up to 3 users.

The functionalities begin to grow dramatically when we look at the paid plans they offer. This CRM will allow you to automate sales activities, maintain lists of products, automate process management, make predictions, prepare reports, and analyze social networks, among many other functionalities.

That said, we can see that Zoho is a good option if you want to start using an off-the-shelf CRM software that your team will be able to handle as soon as possible.

Pricing: Free for up to 3 users. Paid plans start at €18/month.

Pipedrive CRM


With its wide variety of tools, Pipedrive helps your sales and marketing teams focus on what matters — closing deals. Creating your account won’t take long, and you’ll be ready to start adding your leads and classifying them according to their funnel stage.

The platform is quite simple to use. It allows you to make web forms, automate your marketing processes, create reports on your campaigns, and measure their results. Besides, you will have access to everything from your phone through the Pipedrive application, track each negotiation, and use artificial intelligence to eliminate tedious tasks.

It has many integrations with different platforms, so working with other applications like Trello, Google, and Zapier will not be a problem.

So, let’s summarize: this platform boasts of a friendly interface, is easy to use, has numerous integrations, will help you save your money, and is trusted by more than 100,000 companies around the world to manage all their internal communication.

Pricing: 14-day free trial. Paid plans start at €15/month ($18.25/month).



This off-the-shelf CRM software stands out for its high quality and constant innovations in the market, always adding new functionalities to improve the connection of businesses with their customers.

Salesforce will allow you to coordinate your entire work team, providing them with the necessary information so that each team member can carry out their activities in the best way possible. Another important quality of the software is that it’s fully customizable. Thanks to this, you can view reports that are of great help in the growth and analysis of your company.

Salesforce is a CRM platform with 3,000+ integrations. And it should also be noted that it has a mobile app functionality that allows you to run your business from your phone.

Pricing: 14-day free trial for Salesforce Essentials. Paid plans start at $25/month (billed annually).

Hubspot CRM


Many companies find Hubspot one of the most practical CRM tools in its segment. Used by more than 95,000 users around the world, it has become a critical part of thousands of small, medium, and even large enterprises.

If you want easy-to-use and fast-to-learn software, try it. On top of that, Hubspot can integrate with various platforms that will help your sales and marketing teams automate processes and dedicate time to what matters.

Just like Salesforce, it has a practical mobile app for both Android and iOS, which allows you to monitor your sales processes in real-time. If you want to implement a CRM for your team as soon as possible, Hubspot might be a perfect choice.

Pricing: Free plan. Paid plans start at $39/month.

Bottom line

Using CRM software is essential for the success of your company. Not all CRM systems are designed in the same way, so you have to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each tool so that your business can use the one that best suits its needs.

Sometimes it’s vital to develop a custom CRM from zero. In other cases, you can go with the best off-the-shelf CRM solution and enjoy your business growth.

We hope our article has helped you understand your needs better. Select and use your CRM wisely and good luck with your sales in 2024!

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