Data Onboarding

Why CRM Solutions Need a Better Data Importer

Sheila Lahar

Posted 8/2/2021

The CRM market has become increasingly verticalized, as industries find that they have specialized needs that are germane to their particular markets, and generalized CRM solutions aren’t serving them as well as they need. In response, there are providers that offer niche CRM solutions for specific markets, such as Digsy for real estate, Cleanetto for cleaning companies, and WayCool for nonprofit organizations. Each industry has its own nuances and special challenges.

The customer data that gets imported into these CRM solutions is typically mission-critical regardless of the particular industry, comprising leads, contact information, and more, which necessitates fast and accurate data onboarding. But that’s proven to be easier said than done. 

These CRM solutions have a data onboarding problem - and their customers are taking notice.

Breaking templates, but finding key functionality 

In many cases, the types of data they pull into their CRM systems may be unique to their market and thus don’t fit a neat generalized template. Even customized templates for importing data are only as efficient as the data allows; usually, either the CRM provider or the customer has to spend a lot of time cleaning up the data to fit. 

This is what Digsy, a Smart Commercial Real Estate lead generation platform, ran into. Digsy enables real estate brokers to automate their workflows in order to speed up the process of converting prospects into leads. They start by uploading CSV files of customer data.

The company quickly discovered that the data needed a lot of cleaning because so many of the files came from multiple sources and were inconsistently formatted. That meant using templates was insufficient, so instead of spending their own internal resources manually cleaning the data, the Digsy team built their own custom importer. 

But it lacked key functionality, which hampered their ability to scale at the pace of their customer growth. To solve the problem, the company found that Flatfile’s column-matching feature in particular made it easier and faster to receive and resolve import errors.

More fields for flexibility

Part of the advantage of a vertically oriented CRM system is the ability to adapt quickly to changing client needs. Providers need the flexibility to add specific data types as their customers request them. 

For Cleanetto’s cleaning company clients, flexibility in pricing options is an important feature. Initially, its system limited clients’ billing records to hourly service pricing. But cleaning companies calculate pricing in other ways sometimes, such as according to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms or by square footage. 

By using Flatfile, Cleanetto has been able to easily add these additional types of data categories. Its clients use the self-serve import tool when they migrate and onboard to Cleanetto, saving all parties hours or days of manual work. And thanks to the additional flexibility, Cleanetto has been able to grow its business, and its clients are better positioned for growth as well, such as by tackling commercial clients.

Freeing up internal resources

Often, the largest issue that a better data importer can solve for these niche CRM companies concerns resources. Both Digsy and Cleanetto found this to be true, to degrees, and it was the primary pain point for WayCool Software.

WayCool offers an affordable software platform for nonprofits to manage everything from donors to volunteers to client management. Nonprofits typically don’t have an abundance of funds or human time to throw at problems, so they have to be efficient. WayCool’s mission is to streamline all of the details and data that its nonprofit clients have to handle, with specialized and hands-on support. Neither party can afford the data import bottlenecks that so often emerge with manually onboarding data; they need to work smarter, not harder. 

WayCool was using its internal staff to manually import its clients’ data, which was expensive and draining. When the company’s team switched to Flatfile for data importing, they were able to recoup most of those resources and repurpose them elsewhere, in areas they needed to focus on for growth. 

There have been knock-on benefits, too. Because Flatfile’s self-service importer is easy to use, WayCool’s customers can onboard their own data for the most part. The speed at which they can import that data--faster than WayCool could do it before, using its own internal resources--has enabled WayCool to offer a 15-day trial period to potential customers who want to try out the service before making a long-term commitment.

Solutions for niche CRM markets

In order for CRM solutions to better serve vertical industries, providers need to offer customized solutions and hands-on support, and onboarding customer data has to be an optimal experience. These CRM providers need a better data importer for their customers--one that allows them to address the particulars of the market they serve quickly and smoothly, and one that removes the burden of time-consuming human labor.

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