Tag Archives: crm

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Homegrown CRMs: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

26 May 2022 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on Homegrown CRMs: Good Idea or Bad Idea? Uncategorized

It’s a fact that companies can see an ROI of up to 800% by using a CRM.

It’s also a fact that, for whatever reason, it might be time for you to get a new CRM.

You could either “pick from the shelf” or make your own. And for some, the latter approach can be tempting, with a few things working in its favor:

  • You’ll be in complete control
  • It’d be built specifically for your company
  • You wouldn’t have to rely on 3rd parties

But if you take off the rose-colored glasses, there are some potential headaches that may not be worth the effort.

Here’s what you should remember if you’re thinking about making a homegrown CRM for your business.


Building your own CRM doesn’t happen by snapping your fingers.

Much, much more is involved than identifying your needs and hiring someone to build to your specs. The start-to-finish roadmap looks something like this:

The ongoing process of building and maintaining a CRM: roadmap, identify needs, UX/UI design, build it out, test, fix, retest, re-fix, launch

Pretty elaborate, right?

And since you’re probably building out your own CRM so you can customize it exactly how you want, you should plan on completion at least a few months from step one of the roadmap above.

Maybe even a year or more.

And many businesses can’t afford to wait that long.



You know there will be an upfront cost to build your own CRM system. Just how much might be staggering.

It’s not unheard of for the final price tag to be upwards of $700,000, depending on the requirements.

Now you could try to shave some costs by hiring a lower-level software engineer to build it, but why would you? Their going rate will still be a conservative $35 an hour, which will add up quick. And if your needs are so complex that you need to build from scratch, you’d probably want a more seasoned professional—who will charge more—working on it.

Once you hire your developer, you’ll have to train them up on the finer details of extended warranty space (just cross your fingers you don’t have to re-hire and re-train another developer later).

Then, you’ll have to add other costs that will mount over time:

  • Future releases
  • Patches and bug fixes
  • Hosting

That’s not to mention creating even more training: Creating the materials, reference guides, tutorial videos or any other information for your employees to reference so they know how to use what you’ve spent so much time and money on.


Let’s say you follow through and launch your homegrown CRM. It has everything you need and it does everything you want.

Then what?

What happens in six months or a year down the road?

You’ll want to keep improving, naturally. And that means upgrading your CRM to include functionality that didn’t exist when you were building it.

The fact is, reputable CRMs have entire teams dedicated to implementing customer-requested features and working on advanced functionality in the background.

Unless you have a crystal ball or hire someone full-time to do nothing but work on your creation, your homegrown CRM might become obsolete sooner than you think.



 One of the main reasons your business uses a CRM is to have all the information you need at your fingertips.

That information needs to be integrated from somewhere—maybe even as many as 900 different places.

Odds are, your homegrown CRM wouldn’t need to integrate that many systems. Even if it did, you could probably manage it—at first.

But the 3rd party software you integrate will have its own updates and new versions. Sure, whomever you task can write some quick code for the systems to communicate, but after a while and version after version, it can become an unusable, tangled mess.

(Just so you know, Inline’s CRM offers full integration for the APIs your business uses the most.)



Once you make a sale, you have to fulfill it. It’s literally the law.

In the extended warranty space, part of that is printing and mailing physical or digital copies of the policy booklet, cards and other materials.

Not many CRMs have this built-in capability—but ours does. Not to mention direct marketing solutions to help you sell more service contracts.


If You’re Still Thinking of Building Your Own CRM…

 Make sure you’re 100% committed to seeing it through to the end—mindful that in many ways, there is no end when it comes to maintaining your CRM.

Better yet, test drive our CRM before you make your decision. It’s our own homegrown system used by some of the biggest names in the warranty sales space.

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Does Your Extended Warranty CRM Have These Features?

20 January 2022 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on Does Your Extended Warranty CRM Have These Features? Uncategorized

It seems like there’s a new CRM hitting the market every day. After all, 90% of businesses with more than 10 employees rely on a CRM, so there’s no shortage of need.

With so many options to choose from, how do you know your choice will work best for your business? What are the must-have factors and call center solutions your CRM should include?

Let’s find out!

You Can Customize It

Your competitors might sell the same things as you, but they aren’t the same as you. Your business will have different focuses, different goals or priorities—and you need a CRM (like ours!) that allows you to be as flexible as you like.

We find that customers who use custom fields, custom email templates and even custom queues of data can boost profits by as much as 95%! And our advanced API can also help you customize just about anything exactly how you want, especially your all-important dashboard.

Dashboard of Inline CRM, showing sales goals, social feeds, to-do lists

You Can Integrate 3rd Parties

No CRM can do everything (but ours comes close). That’s why your CRM should be able to integrate software from other parties to keep your sales agents on top of their game. And since a sale doesn’t happen without communication, you should ideally be able to integrate:

  • Lead generation software to fill your prospect pipeline
  • Email platforms from Outlook to Gmail
  • Calendars, especially since 70% of adults rely on digital notifications to manage their life

When you have all the tools you need integrated in one location, you’ll be much more productive.

You Can Use It Anywhere

Can you believe some CRMs still require downloads and only operate offline? There’s no excuse for this, especially in 2022.

Old systems like those usually require an IT staff to maintain and run updates, not to mention their legacy infrastructure usually means they can’t adapt or integrate the applications mentioned three inches above.

New systems like ours are easily accessible wherever you have internet or data—even on mobile.

After all, you never know when or where you’ll need information to help seal a deal.


All-In-One Customer Profiles

Let’s pretend you have a customer who owns a home, a car, a motorcycle and an RV.

That could make for a pretty big extended warranty sale, right?

But if you’re using the wrong CRM, it could also lead to a pretty big headache. That’s because some CRMs (not ours!) will make you click around and around to get to the same customer profile. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could just sell that customer profile and manage those opportunities from a dropdown menu like this?

Add vehicle, RV, Home and motorcycle to customer profile from dropdown menu

With Inline, you can!

Sure, you could work in some workarounds, but then everything wouldn’t be in the same workflow. And that seems like a lot of needless busywork.


Buy Now Functionality

37% of people have hidden a purchase from their spouse.

Some people won’t give their credit card number over the phone.

No matter the reason, you have to take away all the obstacles standing between you and a “Yes” to make a sale.

Our BUY NOW functionality does just that.

Now your prospects can complete their order online once you send them a quote to their inbox.

Buy extended warranty online functionality

It’s easy, convenient, and a proven way to sell more policies than with other extended warranty CRMs.


Robust Reporting

If you had to answer with 100% certainty what your top selling product was, could you do it?

What about your close rate? Your cancel rate?

The fact is, you can’t get better if you don’t why you should be better—and the right report can tell you.

The right CRM can tell you anything you want to know and how to improve.

Maybe you’re calling people at the wrong time of day or focusing on older ranch style homes when cabins have a higher close rate.

You can create literally just about any report you want with our CRM. Did you just think of one? Yes, even that kind.


Lead Management

It’s been estimated that sales reps should make 60 calls per day.


That’s… a lot.

So, how should you prioritize those calls?

A lead management system will tell you—and our CRM has one.

Now you can assign certain leads to certain groups, know exactly when or how to follow up with a customer based on their place in the funnel and a lot, lot more.

With this functionality, who knows? Maybe your sales reps will be able to make 70 calls a day.


Automatic Commission and Cancel Calculations

There is an almost infinite amount of ways you could structure commissions and bonuses. By the number of policies sold. The amount of the policies. The type of policy. All of those conditions combined.

The list goes on and on.

That level of complexity could make even the most seasoned accountant feel dizzy.

With Inline we can help you code the precise commission payout based on whatever criteria you want, including cancellation rates.

And it happens automatically.

Simply put, you won’t find that functionality in any other industry CRM.


Customer Service

Okay, this bit of technology is a little analog.

Somewhere along the way, you’re going to have a question, an issue, or problem that needs to be taken care of right away.

And if it isn’t taken care of to your liking, there’s a good chance you’ll end up canceling.

That’s why we bend over backwards to answer as soon as you call or email. Because even the best CRM can’t replace help from real people in real time.


Is there a feature your CRM needs that we didn’t cover? Schedule a test drive and we can show you all the bells and whistles that come with Inline.



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5 Warning Signs You Need a New CRM

27 October 2021 Justin Wilkerson Comments Off on 5 Warning Signs You Need a New CRM CRM

You know how lucrative the extended warranty business can be. In fact, the global market is worth more than $120 billion!

You also know the boost using a CRM can give your bottom line. Research shows a 29% sales increase thanks to CRMs.

With so much profit at stake, you should probably evaluate whether the tools your business uses are maximizing your money-making potential.

Here are some signs you should consider getting a different CRM:

1.) It Has Limited Functionality

Here’s an interesting stat: Only 11% of people will make lifestyle changes even if they are told they could reverse diabetes, restore their health or live longer.

Well, what does that have to do with changing CRM systems?

It shows how resistant we can be to change! Most people have used their existing software from 2-5 years. That’s practically a lifetime of fresh features and improvements they might be missing out on!

If it’s been a while since you considered switching, you owe it to yourself to find out what new functionality you can get (like built-in refund calculators).

2.) Extra Processes

Wondering if your CRM might be outdated?

Well, the average sales process has six steps from introduction to close. The proper tools should keep that number low, even lower wherever possible. So, if you’re making things more complex or constantly updating your processes, it might be time to move on.

After all, your CRM should accommodate you. Not the other way around.


3.) Working Around

If you’re adding more processes, those might lead to more workarounds. And that might lead to a workaround around a workaround to the point you can’t keep track of the extra processes you have in place because your extended warranty CRM doesn’t do what you want it to.

It can get confusing, just like that last sentence.

Looking to see what other options are on the market can save you time—not to mention some aspirin.

4.) It’s Not Cloud Compatible

Can you imagine doing your job without the internet? Probably not, especially when more than 45% of workers work remote at least part-time—and that number will only increase in the future.

That underscores the need for web-based, mobile CRMs.

With access to customer data anywhere, anytime, 65% of salespeople who use mobile CRMs met their sales quotas. Compare that to only 22% of salespeople who met sales goals without a mobile CRM and the math makes sense to move to an online CRM (like Inline!).

5.) You Have to Write Reports

You probably have a lot of different reports to make: Sales, payroll and maybe even the dreaded cancellation report.

Those reports can provide the insights to improve your business. But they can also take up time. Maybe too much time. It’s estimated that managers spend at least one working day each week on manual data tasks like reporting—hours that could be better spent doing just about anything else.

Upgrading to a CRM that creates the reports for you in a nice and tidy visual format, including custom query reports, can improve the way your business operates.

What Is Your Current CRM Missing?

Schedule a free test drive and find out what you can do with Inline.

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