This guide simplifies the process of building a custom CRM, covering all phases from idea to launch. It offers practical insights, best practices, and common mistakes to help you craft a CRM that fits your business. It's valuable to both tech novices and experienced developers alike.
Why should we use AppMaster for our CRM instead of other products?
- Possibility of full customization
- No scaling restrictions
- Creation of everything in one place (database, backend, web, and mobile applications)
- Ability to integrate with any external services
Create your custom CRM
Develop a custom Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system by following the recommended steps below.
Step 1: Data model design
The procedure traditionally commences with the construction of data models, necessitating an understanding of the entities to be utilized in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, their respective attributes, and their interrelationships.
These models, otherwise known as entities, can include numerous possibilities such as companies, contacts, leads, and tasks. Each model is defined by a unique set of fields. As an example, a company model might encompass fields such as the company's name, business type, and location, among others.
Each field is characterized by a specific type, dictating the nature of data it can contain. For instance, a 'String' data type is suitable for a title field, allowing it to house any string of characters. A 'Text' description type permits the insertion of extensive text, possibly segmented into paragraphs. An 'Integer' type could represent the number of employees, while a 'DateTime' type could hold date and time information for specific events.
Models have the ability to form associations with one another, which requires the selection of the relationship type. For instance, employees could be linked with specific tasks, necessitating the foresight to comprehend the task organization.
It may be that each task is assigned to only one specific executor, while each employee can have multiple concurrent tasks. In this scenario, a one-to-many relationship would be established between them. Other potential relationship types include one-to-one and many-to-many.
For more in-depth knowledge and assistance regarding the use of the database editor, please refer to the Appmaster University Course Library.
Step 2: Setting up endpoints for data models
The ensuing step is to furnish functionality for these models. It's a rational presumption that the database ought to be situated at a particular spot on the server, with users given the flexibility to link from any location using their PCs or mobile phones. To facilitate the interchange of requests and data transmission, routes are deployed – these are network addresses to which requests can be dispatched.
Besides, there are endpoints, which are access points to a route via a specific method. For instance, a task route could be accessed by submitting the task ID, but using diverse methods (thus, different endpoints) - Delete (to delete the task), Get (to get information about the task), Patch (to make changes to the task, for example, to change its status).
Each of the data models can have base endpoints created automatically upon their initiation. These endpoints can be put to use instantly, they can be tailored (like altering access rights to allow only certain user roles to create new tasks), or custom endpoints along with their associated processing logic can be formulated. Find a detailed guide on working with endpoints by link.
Step 3: Сreate user interface
The next step is to create an interface that the user can interact with. Naturally, given the existence of endpoints, one could utilize them right away, sending requisite requests. However, handling them directly in a command line mode tends to be incredibly inconvenient.
It makes logical sense to develop a web application for operation purposes. AppMaster enables you to take the reins in interface creation, permitting you to integrate essential elements like buttons, labels, and tables while also customizing their aesthetic and placement.
For the simplest rendition, kick-start the process by incorporating components that facilitate the population of the database with pertinent data. For instance, inputting a list of firms, employees, along with their contact information.
Keep in mind the mere act of introducing an element doesn't render it instantly usable. Each element must be infused with a specific operational logic, stipulating its exact function and manner of execution. As an example, to register a record in the database, appropriate input components need to be added (which align with the data model field types).
To input contact details, these could encompass fields for name, surname, phone number, email, birthdate, job position, among others. A button that compiles the filled information and transmits it to the database is also a necessity. This button must be configured with an operational logic (business process or workflow) that details the necessary steps to function optimally.
- Change the appearance to the loading state
- Consistently read the entered data from each field.
- Form a contact model, and fill in the data collected in the previous step.
- Send the completed model with a POST request to the endpoint of creating a new contact
- Remove the download state from the button
- Process the result of the request, and get the status of its execution.
- Check whether the request was successful or not.
- In case of request errors, display an appropriate notification with information about the error
- In case of successful actions, update the data in the summary table of contacts.
- Description of how to add data to the database
- How to display database data in a table
- How to modify or delete data
Step 4: Сreate business processes
Then you can start creating more complex business processes that allow you to create or receive certain data and add additional work logic. A simple example - when creating a task, automatically indicate its status, check the deadline for completion and calculate the exact time when it should be done.
At the same time, the logic of work can be complex and involve various action options depending on the algorithm. For example, when creating a task for a specific user, check whether there is a right to such an action at all, as well as count the number of other tasks that are already assigned to this user and if there are more than 10 active tasks, automatically reassign it to the least busy employee in a similar position in a company. Guide on creating business processes.
Step 5: Connecting and integration with external services
It is highly probable that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) will not be able to operate in isolation; it will necessitate interaction with external services or auxiliary functionalities. The most convenient method of incorporating these elements is by utilizing a marketplace of modules.
Consider, for instance, the scenario of task creation that necessitates the dispatch of an email containing pertinent information to the user. This could be effectively accomplished using the Custom Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) module.
Alternatively, a message could be relayed via the Telegram messenger using the Telegram module. One may also wish to streamline work involving images, by automatically altering their format and size using the Image module. Each module is capable of augmenting its unique data models, business processes, and blocks to facilitate their utilization.
Please refer to the following link for a demonstration of module usage: Module Usage Example
It is worth noting that the absence of a dedicated module for a specific external service does not preclude its potential for use. The creation of an integration with any external service is feasible via the use of sections dedicated to External API Requests or blocks for HTTP Requests.
Below are links illustrating the process of integrating with external services and the utilization of the External API Request:
How much will it cost me to create and own CRM on AppMaster?
Typically, a comprehensive CRM solution necessitates a Business subscription, while a simpler version may suffice for a Startup.
If you choose to handle the development yourself, it can be done at no cost. Alternatively, you have the option to avail Professional Services.
What is the time required for me to develop a CRM using AppMaster?
The answer depends on the complexity of the CRM. What entities are there, how many of them, how they are connected with each other, and what kind of work logic is required. In general, something simple at the MVP level can be done in 20-30 hours. Some basic working version - about 200 hours. For complex projects, of course, much more time may be needed.
Which services are capable of connecting and integrating with the CRM created by AppMaster?
- SignIn with Apple
- SignIn with Google
- Google Sheets
- Youtube Player
- Barcode Scanner
- Google Translate
- Google OAuth 2.0
- Open AI
- Mail Chimp
- and many others
Can I scale my CRM application on AppMaster
It should be noted right away that the application is not initially limited in terms of the number of users, even in the most basic version. That being said, you may, of course, run into performance or database size limitations in your initial subscription options. This issue is solved by using your own servers instead of hosting in the AppMaster cloud.
On the Business plan, you can get a container image with the application or its binary files, and on the Enterprise plan, even the full source code of the application and the ability to use distributed servers with a load balancer, completely removing questions about scaling limitations.
Can I hire someone to build my CRM?
For guaranteed quality performance, you can use the services of Professional Services. If you need a more affordable option, then there is an opportunity to turn to the services of freelancers or contact AppMaster's certified partners.
How AppMaster builds your CRM technically
AppMaster is a powerful tool that simplifies and speeds up the CRM creation process by handling the technical aspects in a streamlined manner. The process can be broken down into the following stages:
- Specification: The user provides CRM specifications by inputting data schemas, business process schemas, endpoints, variables, UI elements, and triggers into the AppMaster Studio. These inputs serve as the blueprints for the future CRM application and are stored as documentation.
- Code Generation: After clicking the "Publish" button, AppMaster processes and standardizes the provided specifications. It then generates source code for the CRM app in various languages, such as Go for the backend, Vue 3 for frontend, Swift for iOS apps, and Kotlin for Android apps. AppMaster utilizes parallel processing and exceptional performance to generate code at an impressive rate of over 22,000 lines per second.
- Compilation: Once the code generation is complete, AppMaster compiles the CRM application, focusing on backend compilation and web application bundling. This step takes only a few extra seconds.
- Testing: Before deployment, AppMaster conducts a thorough testing phase to ensure the CRM application's functionality and identify potential issues.
- Packaging and Storage: Backend applications are packaged into Docker containers for isolation, then uploaded to a dedicated Docker registry within the platform. These containers are stored temporarily until deployment. Similarly, web application bundles are compressed into zip archives and uploaded to an artifact repository for hosting or deployment purposes.
- Deployment: The final stage involves deploying the own CRM to the target servers, making it accessible to users.
By leveraging the AppMaster platform, the app creation process is significantly improved, reducing the time and effort required by manual coding, compilation, testing, packaging, and deployment. The entire process can be completed in as little as 20 seconds, contributing to greater overall efficiency in CRM development.