Have you been searching for your business’s perfect customer relationship management (CRM) solution?
CRM software centralizes data, boosts productivity, streamlines business functions, and increases sales.
Hi! I’m AJ, and I have years of experience implementing and using CRM systems, effectively scaling (and selling) my business.
When deciding between CRMs, it’s natural to feel stuck. Are industry-specific or general-use CRMs best?
I created this guide to lay out the pros and cons you must know before investing in CRM software. Let’s get into it!
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What is an Industry-Specific CRM?
Industry-specific CRMs provide specialized features and functionalities based on a specific industry.
Usually, an industry-specific CRM has processes, pre-made tools, and templates, allowing users to take advantage of their software immediately.
Benefits of an Industry-Specific CRM
The primary benefit of industry-specific CRM solutions is that they are specially designed with the features and tools you need.
For instance, construction companies demand different tools from healthcare businesses. And industry-specific CRMs offer customized tools to make routine tasks easier.
Because the design is tailored toward a specific industry, users don’t need to customize as many aspects to fit their needs.
Pros and Cons of Using an Industry-Specific CRM
Now I’ll highlight the pros and cons you must know before investing in an industry-specific CRM.
Industry-Specific CRM Pros
Some of the most significant advantages of specialized CRMs include the following aspects:
- They provide highly specialized features (meet specific process and workflow demands)
- They address specific requirements for highly regulated industries (systems are designed to be compliant with laws and regulations)
- They require little customization after you install the software.
Industry-Specific CRM Cons
While the advantages of industry-specific CRMs are noteworthy, it’s also essential to know the disadvantages.
For instance, some of the cons to know about include the following aspects:
- They aren’t ideal if a business only demands basic CRM features
- They can typically be more expensive than other CRM software choices
- Finding the right CRM system can take longer
What Is a General Use CRM?
A general use CRM provides numerous features and functionalities that different companies can use effectively.
For instance, these CRMs have sales, marketing, and service tools that different businesses can customize to fit their needs regardless of industry.
Benefits of a General Use CRM
My favorite general-use CRM benefit is that you can integrate them with various third-party applications.
For example, even if your general-use CRM doesn’t include accounting software, you can integrate an external application and have all the information in one location.
Pros and Cons of Using a General Use CRM
Like industry-specific customer relationship management software, general-use CRMs have advantages and disadvantages.
Let’s take a look!
General Use CRM Pros
The advantages of choosing a general-use CRM include the following aspects:
- They are typically more affordable
- They allow (more) third-party integrations
- They are easier to implement
- It’s easier to transfer data and customer information
- They are easier to learn
General Use CRM Cons
Now I’ll outline the downsides of selecting a general-use CRM.
The most relevant cons you need to know include the following:
- They aren’t (typically) as advanced as industry-specific CRM solutions
- They don’t offer niche and specialized features
- They don’t provide as extensive customization options, sales and revenue prediction tools, or analytics
- They (typically) don’t comply with specific industry rules and regulations (think HIPPA)
General Use CRM Vs. Industry-Specific CRM
The primary differences between industry-specific and general-use CRMs are their features, functionalities, and capabilities.
For example, industry-specific CRMs usually require little customization because they already have the tools you need built into them.
They’re also designed to comply with laws and regulations specific to your industry.
Therefore, you don’t need to find additional marketing tools or other software because industry-specific CRM software has that built-in.
On the other hand, general-use CRMs include general tools that work with any business, regardless of the industry.
However, you may need to purchase additional tools or integrate third-party applications to get the most out of them.
Additionally, general-use CRMs are usually easier and faster to implement than industry-specific solutions.
Popular Industry-Specific CRMs
Now that you understand the difference between general use and industry-specific CRMs, I’ll highlight various systems designed for specific industries.
I’ll also highlight niche features that distinguish these industry-specific CRMs from others.
Real Estate CRM
Real estate CRMs offer various tools and features for managing property transactions and monitoring listings.
Additionally, these CRMs help real estate agents and brokers manage leads.
These systems help industry professionals with their marketing needs, allowing agents to manage their leads via email, online ads, social media, and phone.
Key Real Estate CRM Features
Some highly specialized features a real estate-specific CRM offers include the following:
- Document management tools
- Various loan origination software
- Email marketing tools
- Integrations with real estate platforms (including Zillow, Trulia, and PropertyRadar)
- Tools to manage multiple properties from one location
Checkout our full list of the Best Real Estate CRMs!
An industry-specific CRM for insurance agencies is designed for independent insurance agents, brokers, and insurance firms.
The tools meet the industry’s specific processes, like nurturing leads, tracking new leads, and managing policies and insurance plans.
An insurance CRM automatically includes software that ensures your team follows the rules and regulations related to the industry.
Key Insurance CRM Features
An insurance CRM includes essential features like:
- Lead distribution software
- Agent/rep productivity reports
- Lead nurturing tools
- Deal tracking
- Policy management
- Logs for emails and meetings
- Call center features
- Pipeline automation tools
- Automated workflows
CRM software for insurance agencies keeps customer data organized while providing in-depth reports, ensuring companies make data-driven decisions.
Checkout the Best Insurance CRMs we’ve tested.
Law Firm CRM
CRMs for law firms include several advantages, including a deeper look into customer needs, accurate time tracking, and easier marketing.
Also, these industry-specific CRMs lead to fewer errors in communication because client details are centralized.
Key Law Firm CRM Features
Some essential CRM features to look for if you run a law firm include:
- Advanced email templates
- Calendar integration
- Billing integration
- Robust search functionality
- Document storage capabilities
- Time tracking
- Data security
See our (tested) list of Best Law Firm CRMs!
Industry-specific CRM software for businesses in the construction industry includes easy-to-use templates for work estimates and proposals.
These systems include mobile CRM capabilities, ensuring your team can access information and forms regardless of whether in the office or at a job site.
A construction CRM offers features designed specifically for businesses that work in multiple locations throughout the month.
Therefore, mobile apps and off-site accessibility are critical features.
Key Construction CRM Features
Some of the features associated with CRMs for the construction industry include the following:
- Job site picture sharing
- Templates for work estimates
- Tools to manage contract leads
- Integrations with accounting software like QuickBooks (invoicing, payment processing, and budgeting automation)
- Tools to manage bids and construction projects
If you run a business that handles carpentry, demolition, plumbing, electric work, restoration, welding, or any other construction-related work, these CRMs are ideal!
Accounting CRMs help bookkeepers, accountants, and financial service staff manage invoicing and billing more efficiently.
These software systems also ensure company information is stored in a centralized platform, ensuring maximum efficiency and organization.
One of the most popular companies for this industry-specific CRM is Zoho CRM.
Zoho is an advanced platform with features specifically helpful for accountants and bookkeepers.
Key Accounting CRM Features
Accounting CRM software systems require highly specialized features, including the following:
- Invoicing and billing templates
- Invoice creation
- Payment processing
- Tax computations
- Access to open balances
- Subscription management
- Payment reminders
- Financial report generation
- User-generated quotes, invoices, and purchase orders
- Product inventory creation
- Tools to manage customer interactions
As you can see, accounting CRMs are a cost-efficient business decision because they provide many industry-specific tools.
See our full (tested) list of Accounting CRMs!
Healthcare CRMs are designed to simplify managing appointments, scheduling patient visits, and registering new patients.
These systems also help healthcare professionals manage insurance claims and other administrative tasks.
Therefore, they reduce tedious manual tasks while saving time and money.
Indsutry-specific CRMs for healthcare companies must be HIPAA-compliant, a feature general-use CRMs typically lack.
Key Healthcare CRM Features
Some features associated with this specific industry’s business needs include the following:
- Medical equipment management software
- Tools to streamline and manage healthcare operations
- Patient record management
- Software to protect patient record privacy
- Medical inventory tracking
- HIPAA-compliant appointment scheduling and reminder features
- Business process automation design
- Customer service tools
Healthcare CRMs usually have higher security standards than general-use CRMs because they manage patient medical and insurance information.
Checkout our Best CRM for Healthcare list!
Call Center CRM
Call center CRMs provide numerous time-saving features, including robust telephony functionalities that track and make business calls.
One of the best call center industry-specific CRM platforms is Freshsales.
Freshsales is a cloud-based CRM with tools that address specific business needs like call recording, call masking, and in-app calling abilities.
With Freshsales, users can purchase local and toll-free numbers based on location.
Key Call Center CRM Features
CRMs for these particular business types include the following features:
- Call tracking and recording
- Lead management
- Contact management tools
- Voice-over-internet-protocol level in-app calling
- Call routing
- Workflow automation
- Contact profile enrichment
- Call analytics and reports
These niche businesses benefit from an industry-specific CRM because they don’t need to integrate numerous third-party apps.
Instead, the tools call centers demand are included in their monthly rate.
Property Management CRM
These CRMs help property management firms handle multiple properties within their portfolios, including occupants and tenants.
One of the leading CRMs that meet property management needs is Really Simple Systems.
This CRM is perfect for property managers with immense industry knowledge but little technical know-how.
Really Simple Systems is easy to use while offering advanced organization and customization options.
Key Property Management CRM Features
Essential features of property management CRMs streamline business operations. Some examples include the following:
- Payment collection software
- Lease contract management tools
- Lead generation
- Tools for managing customer applications
- Record filtering
- Task management
- Contact management
- Job site photo sharing
We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for a list of the Best CRMs for Property Managers!
Non-profit CRMs assist charities and non-governmental organizations with raising money and managing donor campaigns.
Look for features that assist with event planning and in-depth reporting if you require this type of industry-specific CRM.
In-depth reports and analytics give you a clear picture of donor activity and event-related data.
That way, you know what events raise the most money and areas where you need to improve.
Key Non-Profit CRM Features
Some of the common features included in non-profit CRM software include the following:
- Data and analytics on existing and prospective donors
- Grant management tools
- Tools that help manage event-based projects
- Contact and donor information database
- A history of customer interactions
- Financial transaction history
- Cost estimation development tools
- Email marketing
- Tools for fundraising
- Donor management
We’ve made a list if you’re looking for the Best CRM for Non-Profits!
Industry-specific CRMs for businesses in hospitality services provide features and tools that engage potential customers, perform scheduling functions, and manage event-based projects.
Some examples of companies that use these CRMs include hotels, catering, and restaurant businesses.
One example is CaterZen, specifically designed for catering and restaurant companies.
CaterZen has delivery features, a customizable interface, and loyalty programs, ensuring businesses generate revenue and retain customers.
Key Hospitality CRM Features
Some of the most common features associated with hospitality CRM systems include the following:
- Delivery schedule reporting
- Lead management
- Sales and marketing activities
- Driver tracking
- Order intake software
- Email campaigns
- Reservation scheduling
- Event management
Fitness and Wellness CRM
CRMs for health or wellness services streamline daily tasks like scheduling and inventory.
That way, your staff can focus more on what they care most about!
One of the leading software systems for fitness and wellness companies is PushPress. PushPress is an all-in-one tool that automates routine tasks and scheduling while allowing users to create personal training sessions for their clients.
Key Fitness & Wellness CRM Features
An industry-specific CRM application in the fitness and wellness field typically includes the following features:
- Membership tracking
- Inventory monitoring for exercise-related products
- Leading tracking software
- Member data organization
- Payroll processing
Some fitness and wellness CRMs even have customer service-related reports so you can analyze satisfaction rates and improve your members’ experiences.
CRMs tailored for the beauty and salon industry make managing a business easier than you imagine.
Rather than using various systems for payroll, rent management, etc., these CRMs meet the demands for specialty trades business operations.
The most popular CRM for salons, spas, and tattoo parlors is Varago because it offers a centralized solution for users.
Key Beauty CRM Features
Industry-specific CRMs in the beauty industry typically have the following features:
- Scheduling bookings
- Low transaction fees
- Product inventory tracking
- Tools for managing rewards programs
- Marketing mechanisms for social media, email, and SMS
- Customer profile management
- Payroll and rental fee management
Should You Choose an Industry Specific or General CRM?
This one comes down to personal preference.
If any of these apply to you, choose an industry-specific CRM
- Your industry needs to stay data compliant
- It would be best if you had specific functionality related to your industry
- You have specific industry-related software you need to integrate with
- You don’t mind spending a little more for out-of-the-box solutions
If any of these apply to you, choose a General CRM
- You don’t have a large budget
- You’re a startup just getting into the CRM game
- You don’t need any fancy functionality
Wrapping Things Up!
Industry-specific CRMs are ideal if your company has specialized needs and specific functionalities (hospitality, construction, consultants industries).
You don’t need as many third-party integrations with an industry-specific CRM because the software includes the necessary functions.
As a result, your team can work efficiently and have all the tools and data they need in one centralized location.
What’s your favorite industry-specific CRM? Let us know in the comments section!
Good luck finding the best CRM for your company!