Enterprises are increasingly buying industry CRM over its horizontal counterpart. Why? Industry CRM offers faster time-to-value with workflows, user experience, and data models built for the needs of your industry. Vendors are reacting to this trend. You can now buy CRM for industries like healthcare, retail and consumer packaged goods, communications, utilities, manufacturing, public sector, and financial services.

Vendors are also doubling down on growing their industry domain expertise and in-house talent to guide clients and build out these solutions. What does this mean for their services partners? Does it hurt their relationship and business? It seems like the answer would be “yes,” but our research suggests otherwise. In my recent report, How CRM Evolves To Support Industry Requirements, several CRM vendors told us that their solutions have paved the way for closer, more intentional relationships with their services partners with several key benefits:

  • Targeted, industry-first go-to-market strategies. Service providers already orient their business and go-to-market strategy by industry. Industry CRM makes it easier for vendors and their partners to align their business to one another.
  • Solution and vision alignment. By sharing future roadmaps for their solutions, vendors align their strategy with their partners’ strategy and ensure they aren’t working simultaneously on building out the same capabilities. One vendor holds a partner summit and brings its partners up to speed on its broader strategic initiatives.
  • New business opportunities. Service providers hear unique feedback from end customers that doesn’t always reach the vendors. They can identify customer challenges and bring in vendor solutions to solve them, while also giving the vendors a chance to consistently improve. Vendors can open up entire new sources of business from systems integrator feedback.
  • Ability to focus on strengths and extend use cases. Traditionally, partners took vendors’ horizontal solutions and customized them for specific industries and customer use cases. This work isn’t going away. Service providers can focus on offering higher-value solution services for specific use cases by building off vendors’ prepackaged, lower-level industry configuration. One vendor is making compliance a feature of its industry clouds to help its partners increase reach in an area where providers typically don’t provide deep service.

Achieving cocreation and alignment between a vendor and partner requires trust and transparency. Vendors: Be transparent about your roadmap and future vision for your industry solutions. Service providers: Share what you’re hearing from clients, common client challenges, and opportunities to cocreate. These actions will provide the foundation for a successful co-innovation relationship while delivering even stronger customer outcomes. If you are a CRM vendor developing an industry cloud solution, schedule an inquiry with me. I would love to hear from you!

This blog post was cowritten with Senior Research Associate Kara Wilson.