Do you feel lucky?

CRM: Buy vs. Build…Seriously?

Serious businesses need CRM, but should I buy one or build my own?

CRM Buy vs Build is a common question. While there is a consensus that every serious business needs a CRM system, we still encounter debates over whether it is better to purchase a CRM system or build one in-house. 

Review these issues before you decide:

The elevenX Marketing Advantage





CRM vendors do this for a living.  They create user-friendly systems, have spent millions developing them, and have  staffs for support. 

In-house IT teams have varying levels of skill in CRM design, database/data management, and development.  


CRM systems are designed with integrations to other systems that you may need/use.

Each integration has to be built by you from scratch.

Knowledge of your business

CRM vendors build systems with most businesses in mind.  You can use 90%+ of a system’s OOB functionality and customize the other 10% (or adjust your processes to use the system as-is)

Nobody knows your business like you do. CRM systems can be built to exactly match your existing business and processes (which will change, anyway). 

Ongoing Development and Support

CRM vendors continually develop enhancements and fixes based on customer feedback.  You benefit with the next release. Bug fixes are included.

It’s all about resources and at elevenX we understand. 

Anything breaks, you fix it. Even if it works, there is a temptation to continually ‘tweak’ the system, and IT resources are expensive. Does your IT team have enough to do?


Systems are already built and priced. You know how much they will cost (implementation and customization can overrun). Support packages are priced based on your business needs.

You only think you know how much it will cost to develop an in-house CRM.  True costs are often much higher than expected, and the project usually takes much longer than planned.

Deployment, Training, and Knowledge-base

Vendors have customer success teams to ensure that your rollout goes smoothly.  They’ve done this for others and have best practices for deployment.

Vendors have extensive libraries of training materials and user forums across other organizations.

How well does IT  communicate with your sales team?  IT will train your Training Dept., who will train end users; but your trainers are not CRM experts.

All materials will have to be developed in house. There will not be other users for forums. You will have to develop your own best practices.

Deployment Timing

Ready immediately.  Hosted or on-premise solutions rarely need to be configured beyond initial installation and setup.  Cloud solutions out of the box are at the ready for your business.

Hardware and environments need to be configured for the in-house system.  New licenses procured, systems, monitoring and potentially new FTEs.

This article was a red-herring.  It is almost never better to build your own CRM than buy a solution developed by a vendor.  Would you try to build your own car?

We have seen companies waste hundreds of thousands of dollars annually trying to create and maintain what is readily available.  Bugs have been found and fixed, mistakes made and lessons learned. Solutions have been tested and deployed by thousands of businesses. Vendors spread the costs of development across all customers, not just yours.  

So, you just need to ask yourself one question.  Do you feel lucky? Well…do ya? Lucky enough not to make the same mistakes.  Lucky enough to not overdevelop every idea, utilize resources appropriately and bring your company to market immediately.  Wait, you can’t.  Some say it’s better to be Lucky than Good.  If you are good, you don’t count on Luck to save you, especially with CRM. 

elevenX has decades of experience using and deploying CRM systems, including integrations with marketing automation and other mar-tech solutions.  We can help with your CRM and mar-tech implementations and integrations, or help you get the most out of your existing technology.

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