October 21, 2020

How to Choose a CRM: To Build or Buy?

These past few years have seen an exponential growth in advancements in technology. A vital aspect of ensuring a firm stays competitive in this modern landscape is to ensure it is kept up to date with the best tools for the job. It comes as no surprise that banks and financial institutions are looking to revitalize their technology platforms, including client relationship management (CRM) tools. With this push to modernize your firm’s operational tools comes questions, such as how to choose a CRM. The decision to build it alone without expert help can produce disappointing results – or even make matters worse.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a CRM

The question of whether to build technology systems in-house or buy them off-the-shelf is nothing new for banking and capital markets businesses. But the abrupt shift to remote working this year has led some in the industry to rethink their approach of how to choose a CRM that works best for them.

Custom-Built CRM

For global institutions with large IT teams, ample budgets and decades of experience, developing a client relationship management platform in-house might be worth the time and money. But for most firms – especially mid-market and smaller companies with far more limited resources and expertise – it makes little sense to invest millions of dollars in an unproven system that depending on build-time and the speed at which best practices evolve, may end up being obsolete by the time it is eventually launched.

This could potentially put these businesses, which are often heavily dependent on inefficient, error-prone spreadsheets or homegrown systems that are no longer fit for purpose, at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to proactively managing client relationships, enhancing firm-wide collaboration and increasing productivity.

Purpose-Built CRM

With increasing consistency in the past several years, purpose-built out-of-the-box CRM solutions such as Tier1 can deliver the same data, insights and workflows that any big in-house application offers, at a fraction of the cost and on a much faster timeline. A packaged capital markets CRM solution can accelerate delivery timelines by up to 90% when compared to the protracted development and rollout of in-house systems. This allows capital markets and investment banking firms to quickly gain significant functionality tailored to their specific workflows – ultimately driving revenue-generating activities much faster than an internal build.

Firms using a third-party technology provider such as Tier1 benefit from both the vendor’s expertise and its clients’ experiences, and have the reassurance that the solution is tried, tested and effective. It also removes the need for costly upgrades, with system users benefiting from ongoing innovation and enhancements as part of our service offering; proprietary systems will have resources allocated for the original build but rarely for ongoing development, making improvements or updates an equally large project. This is particularly important for businesses that need to remain compliant with constantly evolving regulation.

Packaged CRM systems like Tier1’s have the benefit of hassle-free, remote deployment that can be completed in a matter of weeks (if not days). We’ve historically seen the average in-house solution take at least eight or nine months to build – and that’s the best-case scenario.

Building in-house and buying off-the-shelf both have their pros and cons. But when it comes to capital markets dedicated CRM technology and effectively managing relationship risk in a shifting industry landscape, we think the choice is clear.


Tier1’s client relationship management and workflow solutions for capital markets and investment banking makes the answer of how to choose a CRM quite easy. Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can streamline your firm.

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