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Industry-Specific vs. General-Purpose CRM: Which Is Better?

Industry vs. general CRM: Which is the best choice? It depends on your specific needs, but there are some distinct advantages to using a general-purpose CRM rather than an industry-specific one.

A customer relationship management (CRM) platform is an essential business tool. It allows you to gather, store, categorize, and analyze customer data. The insights you gain from that data can help you revitalize your marketing and sales efforts, earning you more revenue in the long run.

But there are different types of CRM out there. In particular, there are two different kinds of CRM: Industry-specific CRMs and general-purpose CRMs. Between the two types, which is the better choice for your company?

That’s the question we’re here to help you answer. Keep reading to learn more, and then subscribe to Revenue Weekly to get more useful marketing tips delivered right to your inbox!

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What is an industry-specific CRM?

An industry-specific CRM is a CRM that is designed for businesses in a particular industry. So, for example, a construction CRM is intended specifically for companies in the construction industry.

What is a general-purpose CRM?

A general-purpose CRM isn’t built with any specific industry in mind. It includes universal features that work equally well for companies in nearly any industry.

What are the advantages of an industry-specific CRM?

There are a few different advantages to using an industry-specific CRM. Here are a few of those advantages:

1. Highly niche and specific features

The first benefit of using an industry CRM is access to industry-specific features. For example, a healthcare CRM might include a feature for storing electronic health records of individual patients. That’s something a general CRM doesn’t have.

With these specific features, you can perform additional tasks in your CRM that relate specifically to your industry.

2. Compliance with industry-specific regulations

Some industries are governed by specific laws and regulations. In these industries, you must be careful not to violate those regulations. 

Insurance companies and banks are two examples of heavily regulated industries. For those industries, an industry-specific CRM can have built-in features for helping you measure and maintain your compliance with any significant regulations.

3. Quicker setup time

Finally, industry CRMs are sometimes faster to set up. Since those CRMs are already tailored to your industry, you don’t have to spend as long setting up industry-specific configurations and preferences like you would in many general CRMs.

Of course, it depends on the specific CRM. Some industry CRMs can take longer to set up due to poor design. Likewise, some general CRMs are actually very easy to get started with. But in broad terms, industry CRMs do often come with the advantage of a fast setup.

What are the advantages of a general-purpose CRM?

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of an industry CRM, let’s look at the advantages of a general-purpose platform.

1. User-friendliness and ease of use

The first advantage of general CRMs is that they’re frequently easier to use than industry CRMs. Again, this is not a universal rule — there are some messy general CRMs, and there are some clean and user-friendly industry CRMs. But as a rule, it’s more common for general CRMs to be user-friendly.

The reason for this mostly comes down to budget and scale. General CRMs are optimized for a wider audience and usually have more revenue to work with, so they have the means and the motive to spend a lot of time optimizing their platforms to be user-friendly. 

2. Better integration options

Another benefit of general-use CRMs is that they almost always come with far better integration options. 

Integration is key for a CRM — after all, the whole point of the tool is to gather data from various other platforms and migrate them into one central location. A CRM that doesn’t integrate with your data sources won’t help you much.

Typically, industry CRMs are fairly limited in their integration options. The best general CRMs, on the other hand, offer tons of integration options. That’s a huge benefit, because the more integration options a tool offers, the more likely it is that it will easily connect with all the data tools you already use.

3. Lower prices

Finally, general-purpose CRMs are often cheaper than industry-specific ones. This varies from tool to tool, obviously. But you’ll have an easier time finding an affordable option if you browse general CRMs rather than industry ones.

Part of the reason for that is that general CRMs frequently offer a variety of plans. Most general CRMs will offer at least two or three options, while others offer far more (Salesforce offers more than 15 different options!). That means even if a CRM costs a lot for an expensive plan, it’s likely they offer an affordable option as well.

Industry vs. general CRM: Which is better?

Now we can finally circle back to our original question: Between an industry-specific vs. general-purpose CRM, which is the better choice?

As you can probably guess, the answer depends. An industry CRM may be the better choice if you:

  • Work in a specialized industry
  • Highly prioritize industry-specific features
  • Have a reasonably large budget

If you meet all the above criteria, consider an industry-specific option. For all other businesses, though, a general CRM is almost always the best choice. 

The thing about CRMs is that they don’t really need to be industry-specific. Customer data collection and analysis looks very similar across all industries — there just aren’t usually big enough differences between them to warrant getting a specialized tool.

It’s far easier and more reliable to find a general CRM that has all the standard features, stays within your budget, and has plenty of good reviews.

Meet MarketingCloudFX:

One platform tracking countless metrics and driving stellar results.

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Nutshell is the perfect general-purpose CRM for your needs

If you’re looking for a general CRM, we can already recommend the perfect option — Nutshell. Nutshell comes with all the general CRM benefits listed above, and it also offers features like sales automation and custom reporting. Plus, unlike a lot of general CRMs, you can get it set up in just a couple of months.

Nutshell is also very affordable, and it comes with full access to a helpful customer support team. Plus, if you partner with WebFX for help with your digital marketing and use MarketingCloudFX — our marketing software — you get some free seats in Nutshell along with it.

Interested in getting started with WebFX and Nutshell? Just call 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!

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