There is a growing demand today for industry specific CRM software. There are niche CRM systems for Financial Services, Insurance, Real Estate, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Franchise Management, and many more.
While most people would agree that this is a positive trend there are many possible downsides to using this type of software if you don’t do your homework. Below I will discuss the Pros and Cons of Industry Specific CRM and how you can make sure that your Industry Specific CRM will be able to handle all your needs now and in the future.
Having an industry specific CRM means that it is designed for your industry’s typical needs. That results in some distinct advantages over generic CRM systems that need heavy customization before you can expect any meaningful return on your investment.
Shorter Ramp Up Time
In some cases, industry specific CRM will allow you to use the system right out of the box. This should dramatically reduce your project time and cost. You should spend less time designing and configuring workflows, displays, field development, user roles and access, reports, dashboards, and training.
Another general advantage is that the vendor will know your industry and understand your needs. This makes for a better project and better support after the project.
Training is one of the most important parts of making sure that any CRM software implementation is successful. I always say that the three keys to successful CRM adoption are Train, Train, and Train. If your vendor is focused on your industry they will be in a much better position to provide you with meaningful training.
I don’t think there are any negatives on the training side to watch out for when you have a vendor who understands your industry. In most cases, you should be able to even do a train the trainer program which will save you time and money.
Choosing a niche specific CRM doesn’t guarantee success by any stretch. Let’s look at the potential negatives and how to make sure you overcome them.
Higher Licensing Fees
Using an industry specific CRM will likely reduce your overall project cost, but many vendors charge more for the software when it is tailored to a specific industry. While this is likely justified based on the value of the software, you need to make sure to account for this cost in your evaluation.
Having defined workflows for your industry in the CRM is a good thing, but let’s be honest here: you likely have slightly different workflows from the industry norms. This may even be part of your competitive advantage.
Make sure the workflows are configurable and that you can change them with or without the help of the vendor. Ensure that you have ability to add additional workflows as part of the project and in the future as your company grows and changes.
Confirm that you don’t have to call the vendor to make these changes. You need to be able to make changes to the configuration without the vendor’s help. You also want to make sure the vendor will be there to help you, if you do want them involved in changes to the system.
Inflexible Fields and Displays
Having the fields that your industry will likely use already in the system is a great thing and a real time saver. You need to make sure you have the ability to rename or delete fields that don’t apply, however. You also need the ability to add new fields.
The same goes for the displays that your users will have at their disposal. It’s great to have this already set up, but you need to be able to adjust them to your specific users and your company’s needs. You also need to be able to add new displays of the data for new types of users you may add in the future.
Limited User Roles and Security
While there are typical types of users and roles for users for a particular industry, each company will be a little different. Make sure you have total control over what each user can see, what they can edit, delete, and export.
This is not just a security issue, but it can also be a user adoption issue. If the system is set up so that users see more than they need to, they’ll have a harder time getting used to the system.
Less is usually better especially in the beginning. Make sure you have to ability to adjust what each user has access to now and in the future.
Inadequate Reports and Dashboards
For most companies, reports and dashboards are almost as important as improving how your people manage the relationship with potential customers and existing customers.
Most people think that the reports and dashboards are there to help management better understand their business so that they can make informed business decisions. While this is true, reports and dashboards can also give the users a better day to day look at what they need to be doing.
They can also be used as a motivator for sales people by showing them how they are currently doing against their targets and how their potential opportunities will impact this.
With an industry specific CRM application, you’ll probably get all the typical management and user dashboards and reports. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but you need to make sure that you can make changes and add new ones as needed without having to go back to the vendor.
What to Look for in Industry Specific CRM Software
So what must you demand of your Industry Specific CRM? You want the best of both worlds or as I like to put it, you want to have your cake and eat it too.
The “have your cake” is a system that is specifically designed for your industry. One that has everything configured out of the box. You don’t want to spend months trying to make a generic CRM fit around your business.
The “eat it too” requires an industry specific CRM app that you can easily adjust to match how your company works today. You also want your CRM software to have the flexibility to change with you as your business evolves in the future.
You don’t want to have to go back to the vendor every time you want to make a change. The system must be specific to your industry and flexible enough to meet your company’s needs.
If you’re in the Senior Living industry, you can have your cake and eat it too. Continuum CRM is a robust, flexible CRM tool designed specifically for Senior Living providers. Sign up for a demo today.