Generic CRM vs BYO vs Industry specific CRM for Pharma & Healthcare companies


Adopting a CRM system is a major decision that carries long-term strategic implications for a company of any size and scale. A successful CRM/SFA implementation requires a rock-solid plan that includes project scoping, client data migration, configuration, customization, and integration -regardless of the deployment model chosen.

For Pharmaceutical companies; Its important to select the CRM software that will not only support your current needs but has room for future business objectives and needs also.

Is generic Pharma CRM up for this challenge?


Based on 2011-12 survey done by an independent research firm, 67% of pharma companies outgrow their CRM within 1 year.

Generic CRM vs Industry specific CRM

Some of the the large generic CRM solutions like and Microsoft Dynamics have lots of features, lots of capabilities. But a large portion of those features may not be exactly what  Pharma industry could make use of.  Thus a specific industry oriented CRM act as a key technological enabler for Pharma; besides having all the regular features of a generic CRM.

The biggest benefit of a vertical solution is that the end user don’t have to bear the burden of the software development. The vendor has already done the hard work so that the customer receives a product that will meet most of their needs out of the box. It has gone through field trials and it has all the industry best practices and processes built-in. Also the CRM vendor is intimately familiar with the industry, customers that go with a vertical solution will also benefit from working with experts who speak their language. Finally, vertical CRM solutions often have better employee adoption rates because the built-in best practices and processes provide a level of familiarity that you don’t get with a generic CRM solution.

What about Customizing a Generic CRM to suit your needs?

The biggest benefit of going with a customized solution is that you can make it look, feel and act exactly how you want. The system can be tweaked to mirror your business processes and support the way your company works.

A word of caution! Getting the exact system you want is great, but it can also be a double-edged sword. Many companies getting started with CRM don’t know exactly what they need, and therefore might create a system that fails to incorporate best practices and processes. Another consideration is cost. Professional services such as customization and integration for popular CRM systems like, Microsoft Dynamics and SugarCRM can cost several times more than the initial product price. This can make what initially seems like an inexpensive option; become costly in the long run. The worst part is; by the time you have realized this – moving data out of the customized CRM becomes error prone and expensive affair.

Build-Your-Own CRM

A build-your-own-CRM is ideal for companies with unique business models – which no other CRM in the market can readily support. Many companies build their own CRM from scratch because they had very specific needs that couldn’t be met with Salesforce, Microsoft or any other Industry specific CRM.

The biggest hurdle when taking the BYO route is finding the right software development & project management talent. If IT & Software development is not your core competency – this can make a lot of MDs upset over bugs, compatibility and on-time delivery issues. Finding the right talent and  scoping and building the system takes more time than customizing something available off the shelf. The BYO CRM approach can give you precisely what you want, but it is never the fastest path to implementation. This kind of a approach demands a lot of time and effort, and without 100% investment & involvement, your system will flounder instead of flourish.

Why Generic CRM is a High Cost, High Risk Proposition for Pharma?

  1. Unable to accommodate role-based customizations & dynamic field scenario of a growing pharmaceutical marketing company.
  2. Complex workflows that comes in the way of real-world business processes
  3. Quick system responsiveness and intuitive navigation
  4. Mobile connectivity & support for offline access
  5. Ability to import customer data from old systems or file formats

A number of pharma companies are re-evaluating CRM flexibility and technology investments they want to make. Your existing client base is your most valuable asset, and if managed correctly, can be a source of profitable revenue growth for years to come.

Key advantages of a Pharma CRM over Generic CRM

  • Reduced start-up cost, a key for all companies of all sizes
  • Scalable and easy to configure solution
  • Faster time to implement ( 6 weeks to 3 months)
  • Reduction in support costs between SaaS SFA & onsite SFA solution
  • A measurable increase in Sales
  • A measurable reduction in Bottom Line
  • Total Channel Integration
  • Total Company Buy-in and Understanding
  • Removal of “Silo” mentality. Unlock the Intelligence trapped in Silos.
  • Bringing CRM and Branding together. Consistent product or service proposition at all times
  • Enhancement of a “Knowledge Management” culture; supported by processes and systems

A Generic CRM software doesn’t address your typical industry needs without customization – which requires a significant additional investment in time, people resources & money. A dedicated Pharma CRM vendor can help both large and specialty pharma companies assess their current situation, future direction, and develop a road map for how to address regulatory and compliance challenges. Such vendors always strive for continual improvement, consultants stay current with trends, strategies, and technologies affecting your industry.  A Pharma CRM vendor has the history of serving Life Sciences industry, the experience and insight to understand yesterday’s mistakes, today’s challenges, and tomorrow’s opportunities—which helps to deliver results that positively impact your bottom line.

In the time spent trying to determine how to make a generic CRM solution fit your needs or how to change your processes to fit the CRM’s capabilities, an Industry Specific CRM for Pharma will have you up and running in no time. This greatly reduces your time to ROI, increases your employee adoption and helps you increase sales.

This financial year, opt for a ready-to-use specialized CRM solution that addresses your company needs and has the experience and knowledge to deliver the results you need.


About the Author

Dipesh Majumder

I am a Marketing Technologist, a strategist & a visionary with over 8 years of experience in traditional & digital marketing. I have been responsible for the development & execution of sales force effectiveness strategies, tools, processes for global Pharma sales organizations. Lead key initiatives, critical projects & continuous improvement activities.

Chennai, India ·

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