While boxed software is a perfectly viable solution for some business settings, companies often find themselves wishing for more power and flexibility from their technology. Tailor-made software solves a number of problems by allowing users to have a closer relationship with developers and support staff. Here are 5 reasons why industry-specific software is a more compelling option for dealers who want to maximize the value of their software.
1. Expanding With Custom Software is More Cost Effective
As your company grows, you’ll need to add users, functionality, and better reporting. With an expandable, industry specific software, like SalesChain, this will mean flipping the on switch to added features or putting in a request to our development staff. However, with off the shelf systems, this may mean a costly upgrade or, worse yet, changing systems entirely.
Often users of big-box software find themselves buying additional software products to add functionality where gaps exist. On the contrary, there have been several instances where SalesChain users have found the need for an additional feature, and our development staff has responded in kind by creating the feature for them.
A great example can be drawn concerning our Deal Pricing utility. SalesChain has been providing Proposal and Order Pricing to dealers for years, but in an executive review meeting with one of our customers, we found that their entire staff was zeroing out the value of their accessory pricing and adding that cost back into the mainframe of the machine. Rather than force them to subscribe to the way that our system works, we added the ability to make this change in our pricing calculator with a single button. When we added this button, we learned that many of our other customers were doing this too!
This example serves not only to illustrate the idea that users of custom software systems can see changes they request implemented, but that developers of industry-specific software can also glean significant benefit due to the closer relationship they maintain with their user base. This closeness creates a community environment, which helps users and developers alike reap the benefits of the group-think.
2. An Intentional Workflow Increases Productivity
By using software designed to meet the needs of your specific industry and, more intimately, the needs of your business, the process of logging information in that system can make a lot more sense. Much in the same way that there is always a right tool for the job, there is often a software that serves any given situation specifically. When your software developer is familiar with your industry on an intimate level, they can provide a workflow process which makes sense within the bounds of your industry.
One solution that SalesChain has implemented to make sure that our user base is provided with a workflow that makes sense to them is to work with leadership at our client companies directly to clearly define the workflow that they already use. Most of the time, once we glean an understanding of this workflow, we can replicate it accurately within our system. find Many industry-specific software providers designate a senior developer to working with clients to outline these workflows and make sure that the system works for them the way they intend it to.
When your software represents this workflow for prospecting, pricing, documentation and delivery, the system starts to work for you rather than your team being enslaved to the system. When this comfort level is achieved, your team will be more confident and perform tasks faster and more efficiently.
3. Relevant Integrations
Many pre-packaged software products are built to communicate well with “outside” software to fill the gaps in their own functionality. Quite often, however, they’re built specifically to communicate with sister products in an effort to get customers to buy other products made by the same company. Providers put a thin veil over this practice by calling each component the “best in class,” while ignoring the underlying problem that these are still disconnected software products. This principal also applies to integrations to outside software products. While big-box providers may integrate with partners with very recognizable names, those integrations might not have all that much to do with the day-to-day functions of your organization.
This oversight undermines the goal of SalesChain and other niche providers. With a system that’s built with your industry in mind, integrations to common marketing and ERP tools are already built in, and companies that are focused on development and automation can be sure that this process happens without the need for human intervention.
What’s more, the companies that we choose to integrate with are hand-picked because of their relevance to the industry. Big-box software providers will likely focus on integrating to partners with the largest names or recognition, rather than those that are most common to a niche user base. For example, SalesChain’s integration to ECI e-Automate, which allows salespeople to create sales orders in e-Auto with the push of a button rather than requiring that a staff member be allocated to writing this information. Industry-specific integrations allow industry-specific software providers to give users a superior experience for their day-to-day functions.
4. Industry-Specific Modules
Similar to the selection process for integrations, most small business software is created to appease the masses. Major providers don’t allocate the development resources in order to create custom versions of their software to suit every industries needs. Their solution provides the most basic of functionality that will appeal to a very wide customer base without adding any truly valuable utilities.
Not only does this create problems on an fundamental level with your business, but when your employees fail to see the value in the system they’re using, they will never use it to it’s full potential.
When your organization partners with an industry-specific software solution, you’re presented with a set of tools that is specific to the functions of your business. When there is a clear workflow, and clear utilities to perform that work, your organization can take advantage of that system much more effectively.
With a focused software system comes a focused support staff. Support personnel who are trained and operate in the same industry that a software serves are much more apt to provide competent help and advice. When a service staff member works exclusively in one industry, they solve problems pertaining to that industry alone, and can built a valuable knowledge base much more quickly. Representatives of an industry-specific solution are going to have a great understanding of the day to day functions of your business and know what specific features will benefit your business best.
Software that is marketed as a small business solution for all industries will meet basic needs but may struggle to offer support on an issue that is relevant only to your company. When they’re trained on the software alone, rather than the industry it serves, they are bound to present a much more generic, and less insightful, degree of assistance.
SalesChain, for example, prides itself on fantastic service. Our help desk staff is trained on our system from its most basic functions to its most advanced utilities and is able to help staff of any tier at our client companies with the issues they are facing. Indeed, a staff that is US-Based, English speaking and trained on the intricacies of the copier industry can serve our user base much more effectively.