Why purchase a newspaper-specific CRM?

What's wrong with a generic CRM and billing solution?


Often times we get asked why a customer should buy The Newspaper Manager over a generic CRM and billing solution.  The benefits to having a product that is tailored to the industry are many and the trend is that larger clients often start with big brand name CRMs like Salesforce.com, but eventually work their way to industry specific CRMs like Newspaper Manager. We haven't lost a single client in the past year to a "generic" CRM company but we have had dozens switch over to our industry-tailored product.

Here are a few of the advantages:

1. Integration with your newspaper billing system: This is probably the primary reason that clients choose a newspaper CRM. If your CRM system and billing system are separate, you have two options and neither are very good. You have the choice of double keying – or developing some kind of API that moves data from your CRM to your billing system. CRM companies will try to make it sound easy, but synchronizations are among the hardest things to do in software. You eventually get duplicates in your system, and data issues between the two systems.

2. Access to sales data: Another consideration is that industry-specific CRMs have the sales data within the CRM. Users can pull up a client and see not only the contact information but their billing history, sales history, voided contracts, proposals and a wealth of other data that you are not going to find in a "generic CRM." There is an advantage in the ability to search by "contract" rather than "contact" information.  For example, if you wanted to find a list of all advertisers who ran ads with you in the last year, this isn't "contact" information, it's "contract" information, and you can't do searches of contract history in a generic CRM.

3. Industry-specific CRM tools: A third advantage of using a newspaper CRM is having industry-specific CRM tools: for example, our comp list management tool. When you are calling a newspaper advertising prospect, you'll likely want them to get a copy of your newspaper, and so you'll need to manage a list of advertisers who get complimentary copies. This kind of functionality is built into a newspaper CRM, but isn't even a thought for a generic CRM company because they don't understand the industry. Another example is the handling of ad agency relationships. A newspaper CRM will be designed to handle ad agency relationships and a generic CRM is not structured for this complexity.

People often find out the hard way that not all CRMs are created equal and that industries matter. Over time, I predict that all industries will be dominated by industry-specific CRMs that have integrated CRM and billing systems, such as The Newspaper Manager.

Mark McCormick is president of Mirabel Technologies, a leading cloud-based software provider of publishing solutions, including The Magazine Manager and The Newspaper Manager. Mirabel Technologies is the first company to fully integrate flat planning, digital and tablet edition creation (Mirabel's Digital Studio) with ad order entry, CRM and billing functions.


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