There is a concept in psychology known as the paradox of choice. Popularized in a book by Barry Schwartz, the basic idea is that an overabundance of choices can make consumers more anxious and less certain of their purchase decisions. Schwartz argues that the almost limitless choices we all have among the soaps, cars, magazines and dish detergents available on the market today will often lead to endless second guessing about whatever selection we make.
There is a lesson in this concept for manufacturers considering the purchase of software. For many, the choice comes down to what’s known as a best-of-breed solution and a broader software suite. The fundamental difference between the two is summed up in their names. A best-of-breed solution, like a CRM for manufacturers, is software that is designed to serve a single purpose and solve a relatively defined set of business challenges. A software suite, on the other hand, does a whole lot more, addressing a wide range of business functions, challenges and needs.
The paradox of choice that manufacturers facing this decision have to navigate is this: Is the software suite that has so many features and functions and capabilities (ie. choices) better than the one that is more laser-focused on solving specific business needs?
Why manufacturers should look for a best-of-breed CRM
For manufacturers looking for a tool that can help cultivate strong customer relationships, win new business, accurately forecast demand and dramatically improve the supply chain, a best-of-breed approach delivers the most benefits. There are innumerable reasons why this is the case, but here are some of the most compelling:
- Focus matters Let’s be clear: Creating a CRM for manufacturers that is able to address the industry’s unique needs is no easy task. It requires focus and constant innovation and improvement. By choosing a best-of-breed software solution, manufacturers can be sure that their specific priorities and evolving challenges will always be the focus of the new features and functions that are developed and unveiled. By contrast, those who offer a broader software suite have to prioritize and juggle a lot more demands. When you’re focused on doing just one thing, you’re far more likely to do it very well.
- Better flexibility When changes are made to an enterprise software suite, there are often ripple effects across the organization, some of them welcome and expected, many others not. A best-of-breed solution, however, enables more precise and limited functionality changes and improvements. Not only is this approach less disruptive, it allows for more innovation and flexibility because the risk of triggering unintended consequences is so much lower.
- Benefits achieved faster A CRM for manufacturers can be implemented quickly, far faster than a broader software suite. This matters because it means fewer resources required to get a CRM up and running but also because the time between launching a product and reaping its benefits is much shorter. Not only is the initial implementation faster, but changes and upgrades that can provide manufacturers an edge can be incorporated quickly.
The value of experience Those who create and implement best-of-breed solutions gain valuable experience from doing it over and over again. There is genuine institutional knowledge and best practices that accumulate when a similar solution is delivered repeatedly. Customers who embrace a best-of-breed solution receive the value of all those insights and experiences in learning how to use the CRM in their own organization.