CRM Doesn’t Have to be Industry Specific and Here’s Why…

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If you’ve decided that you need a customer relationship management system or (CRM), chances are, you’re exploring and weighing the many different options available to you. You’ve probably found some interesting industry specific CRM options out there. Or maybe you’re using a CRM system already, and would like to better customize it. If you’re wondering if you need a CRM geared for your specific industry, there are big options and small options. It’s hard to know what will fit you best.

Many Options for CRM Software

When you’re looking for customer relationship management software, you’re looking for options to track relationships and people. Most industries want to do the same thing—keep their customers happy, and meet their needs. They might have different terminology and tags, but the objective is the same across the board.

There are niche CRM options nearly every industry. Not only that, but there’s probably one for every position and aspect of every industry. There are some excellent vertical options out there in certain fields (finance and medicine are two that come to mind). However, for most industries–creative fields, manufacturing, service-industries, and more–a cloud-based CRM focused on small businesses will fit the bill. You need a CRM that’s proven and reliable. One that offers customized fields and integrates with your existing software like Gmail and Mail Chimp. You also need a CRM that understands how important your customers are and focuses on keeping relationships strong.

Your CRM tool should help you keep your customer relationships strong: to follow-up leads, keep your contacts organized, segment and group contacts together by similarities and ultimately to keep clients engaged.

Will a Niche CRM Understand Our Company Better?

It’s possible that a niche CRM might use your industry jargon, and terms. Someone in your industry who took the time to develop a program that specifically met their company’s needs probably created it. That said, when it comes to support, reliability, upgrades and integration, niche options aren’t always able to keep up.

Often these smaller, industry-specific options pop-up, and are created as one company’s answer to a specific CRM conundrum (often one that could be resolved with custom-fields and integration). The company goes on the quest to develop a CRM solution that will specifically fit their business. They spend the time, the money and the effort on building their own, and they step back and go, “this is such a great idea, we should market this to other people in our industry.”

Many small companies often don’t have the infrastructure or experience to support the software or handle major exponential growth. The software might not integrate with big players like Google, MailChimp, and QuickBooks. It may not even be cloud-based or mobile-friendly. While it might use terms that your industry uses and talk like your industry, chances are high that when the rubber meets the road, it won’t meet your needs.

When you’re looking for deep customization and details specific to your office and company culture, is another industry player really going to understand those specifics? What you will end up with is a less-adaptive, less-reliable program written for someone else’s company in your industry. What’s worse, you may even end up paying more for this niche option, and still be left with something that doesn’t fit.

What About Industry-Specific Options?

There are several industry-specific CRM options and modules from large CRM developers focused on the larger industries—finance, high-level sales, creative and marketing firms. There’s an elevated level of customization and plenty of industry-specific options, terminology and extras–think bells and whistles.

These big-time options might seem tried and true. After all, as a small business owner, you want to play with the big leagues, and what better way than to get in the same stadium, right? Unfortunately, the premium you will pay for a chance to run on their field might come at a very high cost to your small business.

When you’re in a small business, you have to watch the bottom line. You need support; you need accessibility. Chances are you don’t have a huge IT staff, you’re rolling up your sleeves and figuring things out yourself. Large-scale CRM companies are concerned with large-scale businesses. Responsiveness and support just aren’t there for small business customers. Even if you can get someone on the phone or find IT help, it’s often inconsistent and slow at best.

Once you’ve invested in a large industry-specific CRM, chances are you’ll end up with a big white elephant. Your employees will be overwhelmed. They’ll sit through training and webinars on features they’ll never use. The program doesn’t grow with you, because it’s already outgrown you. As a small business, you need something you can set up yourself, and that your entire team can implement and embrace. You need something you will use, rather than paying for features you can’t work or don’t need.

There Are Better Options Out There

Find a CRM that understands small businesses and adapts to their needs. Using options like customizable fields and tags, can go a long way in making your CRM unique to your business. Having a CRM that works right along with the programs you already rely on will make your job simple and easy. Getting a CRM that’s mobile-friendly, cloud-based and accessible is going to go much further than something clunky that comes without a strong support system.

When it comes to industry-specific CRM, don’t pay for something you really don’t need. Choose a proven option, with great support. Choose an option that understands small business owners and customers. After all, can you really afford to waste your time with something built for someone else?

About the sponsor

Insightly was designed as a simple to use yet powerful Web-based CRM system for small businesses. With integrations to widely used applications such as Google Apps, Office 365, Mail Chimp, and Dropbox, Insightly CRM keeps you connected to the right information at the right time—including contacts, sales information, project activities, and more. Because we handle all of the technical issues like server upgrades and security fixes, you can focus on growing sales, not maintaining an IT support staff. Insightly CRM helps you concentrate on what matters most, running your business.

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