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Jul 1, 2024 | 5 Minute Read

SaaS Or Custom? Finding The Right CRM And Marketing Automation Solution

SAYAN MALLICK, MARKETING ASSISTANT
SIMRAN SETHI, MARKETING ASSOCIATE

Table of Contents

Introduction

According to the Gartner Digital Markets report, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) market is projected to grow at an average annual rate of over 14% by 2025. Choosing the right CRM and marketing automation platform is crucial for businesses aiming to streamline operations and enhance customer engagement.

With numerous options available, deciding between SaaS solutions like HubSpot and custom solutions like Mautic can be challenging. The following factors can help in making an informed comparison between SaaS and custom solutions:

  • Customization and flexibility
  • Cost and investment
  • Deployment time and ease of use
  • Scalability
  • Security and compliance
  • Support and community
  • Integration capabilities

SaaS Solutions Vs. Custom Solutions: A Detailed Comparison

The following factors help make an informed comparison between SaaS and custom solutions:

Customization And Flexibility

SaaS solutions typically offer a predefined set of features and functionalities with limited scope for customization. They are designed to cater to a broad audience and meet the majority of user needs. Businesses with unique processes or requirements, might find the SaaS customization options insufficient.

Custom solutions offer unparalleled customization and flexibility. Businesses have the freedom to build a solution tailored exactly to their specific needs, including custom integrations, unique workflows, and proprietary features. This is beneficial for organizations with complex or niche requirements not addressed by off-the-shelf software.

Cost And Investment

SaaS solutions generally have a subscription-based model, where the cost is predictable and spread over time. Initial investment is typically lower than custom solutions, making it an attractive option for businesses with limited upfront capital. Over time, subscription fees can add up, and the cost of additional features or users may increase.

Custom solutions require a significant upfront investment for development, alongside potential costs for maintenance, updates, and scaling. While the initial cost is higher, custom solutions can be more cost-effective in the long run for businesses with specific needs that SaaS solutions cannot meet without expensive add-ons.

Deployment Time And Ease Of Use

SaaS solutions are generally quick to deploy and easy to use, with intuitive interfaces designed for a broad user base. They offer rapid onboarding, allowing businesses to implement and start benefiting from the software in a shorter time frame.

The deployment time for custom solutions can vary significantly and can be lengthy due to the development, testing, and customization processes. While these solutions offer a tailored user experience, their complexity can require more extensive user training.

Scalability

SaaS solutions are built on cloud infrastructure. These platforms are inherently scalable, allowing businesses to add or remove users, features, and integrations as needed. This scalability is often seamless, with minimal disruption to operations.

The scalability of custom solutions depends on the initial architecture and technology stack. While custom solutions can be built to scale, significant changes or growth may require additional development work and investment.

Security And Compliance

SaaS solutions benefit from the provider's investments in security and compliance, with regular updates to address emerging threats and compliance requirements. Businesses have less control over data storage and security protocols.

Custom solutions provide full control over security measures and data storage, enabling businesses to meet specific industry regulations. However, this level of control necessitates that businesses invest in and manage their own security and compliance protocols.

Support And Community

SaaS solution providers typically offer comprehensive support through various channels, including live chat, email, and phone. Additionally, there's often a community of users that can offer insights and help solve common problems.

The support for custom solutions depends on the agreement with the development team or vendor. While there may be a dedicated support team, accessing a wider community for help or insights can be more challenging unless the solution is based on popular open-source software.

Integration Capabilities

SaaS solutions use APIs and marketplaces to offer a wide range of integrations with other popular software and services. But integrating with niche or proprietary systems may either require additional work or may not be possible at all.

Custom solutions can be designed from the ground up to integrate seamlessly with any required systems, including proprietary internal systems. This helps ensure smooth data flow and operations across the business.

Choosing Between SaaS Vs Custom Solution For Your Business

Choosing between custom and SaaS solutions depends largely on the specific needs and priorities of your business. If you require extensive customization, control over security, and have complex integration needs, custom solutions may be the better choice despite higher initial costs and longer deployment times.

On the other hand, if you prioritize quick deployment, ease of use, and lower upfront costs, SaaS solutions offer a robust and scalable option. You can get this with the added benefit of comprehensive support and community resources.

 

Comparing Popular CRM And Marketing Automation Platforms: HubSpot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Campaign Studio/Factory, and Mautic

A comparison between popular CRM and marketing automation platforms like HubSpot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Acquia Campaign Studio/Factory, and Mautic is given below.

 

Criteria

HubSpot

Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Acquia Campaign Studio/Factory

Mautic 

Customization & Flexibility

Moderate customization and flexibility offered with drag-and-drop builders.

Example: Custom landing pages can be created without coding skills.

High customization and flexibility offered.

Example: Multi-branch customer journeys based on interactions.

Moderate customization and flexibility offered with customizable workflows.

Example: Automated email campaigns triggered by website behavior.

Very high customization and flexibility offered due to open-source nature.

Example: Integrating with custom CRM systems or creating unique data processing plugins.

Cost & Investment

Subscription-based models start at $45/month for basic marketing tools.

Volume-based pricing starts at $1250/month for a medium-sized business.

Pricing is simple: Contacts x volume
Subscription Based Packages

Technically free with costs for development, hosting, and maintenance.

Example: Small businesses might spend $100-$500/month.

Ease Of Use

Very user-friendly with minimal learning curve. Businesses can start within hours to days.

Complex learning curve that requires weeks to months for full setup and mastery.

Quicker setup than Salesforce Marketing Cloud but longer than HubSpot, depending on customization.

Setup time varies; requires technical expertise for extensive custom development. Example: custom deployment can take several weeks.

Scalability

Highly scalable platform suitable for all business sizes with easy plan upgrades.

Highly scalable platform designed for large enterprises with complex marketing needs.

The cloud-based infrastructure supports business growth at all sizes.

Scalability depends on self-hosted infrastructure.

Security & Compliance

High security and compliance offered with Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), two-factor authentication, and GDPR.

Enterprise-grade security features and compliance with GDPR and HIPAA.

Similar to HubSpot and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The platform prioritizes GDPR compliance.

Provides high control over security, empowering users to ensure compliance.

Support & Community

Extensive support via phone, email, and a knowledge base. It also has a vibrant community forum.

Professional support available, with a community forum and extensive documentation. 

Support varies by plan, with additional community forums and documentation.

Primarily community-driven support; third-party providers may offer professional support.

Integration Capabilities

Provides seamless integration with sales, service, and content management tools.

Extensive integration within the Salesforce ecosystem.

Offers integration with Drupal, for content-driven strategies, and other marketing tools.

Enables custom integrations that offer limitless integration capabilities.

 

Choosing Between HubSpot, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Acquia Campaign Studio/Factory, And Mautic

Businesses need to understand their requirements to choose between the solutions mentioned above.

  • For businesses seeking a balance between functionality and ease of use, HubSpot will be the most appealing choice. 
  • Businesses requiring deep customization and integration capabilities can opt for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, especially if they are already using products from the Salesforce ecosystem. 
  • Acquia Campaign Studio/Factory, with its focus on marketing automation and personalization, could be ideal for businesses already using or planning to use Drupal extensively. 
  • Mautic’s focus on marketing automation offers maximum control and customization. It will be the ideal choice for businesses that prioritize long-term flexibility over immediate ease of use.

How Axelerant Helped Scale Email Marketing For An Ecommerce SaaS Provider

The client, a team of business strategists and entrepreneurs, sought a unified system to automate marketing for their ecommerce platform. Following a comprehensive discovery phase, Axelerant recommended Mautic and delivered a robust MVP hosted on a multi-tenancy Mautic environment, featuring single sign-on functionality and streamlined client onboarding.

The solution required significant scalability and high performance to handle thousands of users and emails. Axelerant's approach included setting up the infrastructure using Kubernetes for auto-scaling and utilizing the Argo CI/CD tool, with Python API enabling seamless onboarding.

This multi-tenant marketing automation setup not only reduced maintenance costs but also ensured quick and efficient client onboarding through simple scripts. As a result, the client now boasts an in-house mass email marketing tool that integrates seamlessly with their existing ecommerce solutions, positioning them to scale effectively.

Do you also want to find the right marketing automation or CRM solution for your organization?

Speak to our experts.

 

 

About the Author
Jitesh Khatwani, Senior Software Engineer
About the Author

Jitesh Khatwani, Senior Software Engineer

Obssessed with cricket and minesweeper, he prefers staying away from books and movies. He hates slow internet.


Sayan Mallick

Sayan Mallick, Marketing Assistant

A former professional e-sports player, passionate about anime and technology—that’s Sayan. He is an eccentric explorer who likes to read, play games, teach, and spend time with his pet dog, Buddy.

Simran Sethi

Simran Sethi, Marketing Associate

Simran is an avid reader. She is an active runner, who also likes to swim, dance, and sing. For her, the meaning of life lies in the little things. Kindness, passion, and compassion are her life’s essential values.

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