What is a CRM and How to Become a CRM Developer?

By Dholakiya Pratik
Published 12/02/2020
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Customer Relationship Management or CRM is one of the fastest-growing industries, expected to reach $80 billion in revenue by 2025! Hence, the CRM industry has created a huge market demand for developers who can extend the capabilities of existing CRM to help businesses achieve their goals.

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CRM developer has become one of the highest paying Computer Science jobs, especially in the post-COVID era, where managing customer relationships has turned completely digital. Almost every business, small or large, is adopting it.


CRM software revenue forecast


Introduction to CRM

A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a digital platform that enables businesses to manage relationships with their prospects, leads, and customers. It is a combination of tools that helps companies acquire new customers and nurture the existing ones.
A CRM system’s main goal is to ensure that every interaction of an enterprise with its customer is carried out in the smoothest and most efficient way possible. By nurturing customer relationships using CRM systems, businesses can improve their lead generation, lead conversion, customer retention, and overall business profits.
Apart from enabling companies to have smooth interactions with customers, CRM can also be customized to perform complicated business processes that can otherwise be quite challenging. This is where the need for a CRM developer arises.


The Role of a CRM Developer

A CRM developer is a software developer who specializes in implementing enhancements for a CRM system based on any business’ requirements. Any business’ CRM requirements are not always met by the CRM systems that exist in the market. Hence they hire CRM developers to design and create additional modules, custom plugins, or a suite of software applications that can integrate with the existing CRM systems.
A CRM developer can also work independently by identifying pain points faced by businesses in the existing CRM systems and develop solutions to solve those pain points.
The role of a CRM developer can be categorized into a broad spectrum of responsibilities, some of them being:

  • One of the first responsibilities of a CRM developer would be to connect with stakeholders and end-users to understand their pain points with respect to the existing CRM systems. This step will be a prerequisite for designing the system that the client needs.
  • Apart from meeting with clients, a CRM developer may also have to understand the existing CRM system and identify any gaps or shortcomings that can be found in the system. This can help the CRM developer brainstorm new solutions that can overcome the gaps in the existing CRM.
  • After the gaps are identified, a CRM developer will have to design the most plausible and cost-effective solutions to overcome the existing CRM system’s shortcomings. Designing may include a high-level design that consists of the overall functionalities and a technical-design to delve into the more technical aspects. This step may also involve deciding which technologies should be used for the implementation of the solutions.
  • Of course, one of the primary responsibilities is to develop custom CRM solutions. This may involve developing code for custom plugins, add-on solutions, or completely independent software applications.
  • After the implementation, a CRM developer may have to perform multiple rounds of testing, including unit testing, integration testing, performance testing, and creating Junit testing frameworks to ensure that the CRM solution developed by them is in the best shape possible. CRM developers should ensure that CRM solutions are robust, efficient, bug-free, and meet the clients’ requirements.
  • Once the custom CRM solution is rolled into production, a CRM developer may have additional responsibilities to support and maintain the system. This will include fixing any clients’ issues and coming up with small enhancements based on their needs.
  • A CRM system primarily involved collecting inputs and data form numerous third-party applications such as Content Management System (CMS), email responders, social media platforms, Google analytics, and many more similar applications. Hence, a CRM developer’s role might involve building and maintaining integrations with third-party applications to support a smooth overflow of data from both ends.
  • Stakeholders and clients may want to view the custom CRM data in real-time. Hence a CRM developer’s role might also include building customized dashboards that showcase real-time data from the CRM system.
  • Companies, especially big enterprises, have numerous people involved in handling the CRM systems. For such cases, CRM developers may have to design custom workflows for smooth operations across the CRM system.
  • A CRM developer’s role will also probably include documentation of the technical specifications and configurations involved in the customer CRM solutions developed by them.
  • Also, clients need to be educated about handling the custom CRM design, and hence a CRM developer may have to provide hands-on training to clients and create training materials for the same.


Education and Certifications

Most of the job listings for CRM developers list a Bachelor’s or equivalent degree in Computer Science as a requirement. Although this seems like a standard requirement, this might not be an absolute necessity for a CRM developer job. For CRM developers, more stress is on having hands-on experience with CRM systems.
An added plus for CRM developers would be the experience and knowledge of the marketing side of CRM systems, such as business processes pertaining to customers, sales workflows, customer journeys, etc. Having an understanding of marketing and sales processes can be quite beneficial in landing a CRM developer job or even working independently as a CRM developer.
Certifications can also significantly help gain experience in CRM systems and prove your credibility to potential clients. Aspiring CRM developers may take up certifications offered by Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and similar ones based on their interests.


Salaries and Career Prospects

A CRM developer is not a generalist programmer. Becoming a CRM developer needed specific programming skills, and thus the salaries can be quite lucrative. A CRM developer’s salary is known to range anywhere from $100,000 to $125,00 per year.
With the right skills and experience, a CRM developer’s future career prospects are quite broad. As a CRM developer, you can work with large enterprises or even work independently by developing solutions based on gaps in the existing system.


To Summarize

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a huge digital shift in the operations of most businesses worldwide, be it B2B or B2C. Although cloud CRM systems have been in the market for a while, the demand for custom CRM solutions has massively increased with the growing market.
Hence, this is the right time for all the aspiring CRM developers to gain hands-on experience, certifications, and start looking for opportunities. With good programming skills, considerable knowledge of marketing and sales, and experience with CRM systems, you can build a highly successful career as a CRM developer.


About The Author –

Pratik Dholakiya is the founder of Growfusely, a content marketing agency specializing in content and data-driven SEO. He regularly speaks at various conferences about SEO, Content Marketing, and Entrepreneurship. Pratik has spoken at the 80th Annual Conference of the Florida Public Relations Association, Accounting and Finance Show, Singapore, NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd, IIT-Bombay, SMX Israel, SEMrush Meetup, MICA, IIT-Roorkee, and other major events. As a passionate SEO and content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory, and Inc42, to name a few.