Should I Use a Professional Services-Specific CRM?

A customer relationship management (CRM) platform exists to gather, store, categorize, and analyze customer data in a single, centralized location. That makes it an essential tool for any business, including professional services companies like yours.

But what kind of CRM should you get? Many CRMs are designed for all kinds of businesses, but some are specific to your industry. So, you may be asking, “Should I use a professional services-specific CRM or a general-purpose one?” That’s just the question we’re here to answer.

Keep reading to learn whether a professional services-specific or general-purpose CRM is right for you, as well as what the advantages are of each one.

What is a professional services-specific CRM?

A professional services CRM is one designed specifically for companies that offer professional services. These might be built for professional services companies in general, or they could be optimized for specific industries (e.g., accounts, engineers, etc.).

Advantages of a professional services CRM

There are several different benefits of using a professional services-specific CRM. Here are three of the biggest ones.

1. They have industry-specific features

Firstly, professional services-specific CRMs are often equipped with features that are specific to your industry. For example, an architecture CRM might come with features for helping architects record measurements and generate estimates for their clients.

Obviously, the exact features offered depend on what kind of services you provide and what type of CRM you get. Still, this is one thing you won’t find in general-purpose CRMs, since they’re trying to cater to a variety of industries.

2. They often come with a quicker setup time

Another advantage of professional services CRMs is that they often take less time to set up. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule—there are certainly industry CRMs that take forever to set up, and there are general CRMs that take almost no time at all. But industry CRMs definitely tend to take less time on average.

Why? Because with a general CRM, a lot of the setup time comes from setting up the CRM with configurations and preferences that are specific to your industry. But with a professional services CRM, those industry preferences are already in place. That makes the setup time far shorter.

3. Compliance with industry-specific regulations

Finally, many professional services industries are regulated by specific laws. Companies in those industries have to be careful about staying within those regulations as they run their marketing and sales campaigns. And many industry-specific CRMs make that easier for you.

If you work in a heavily regulated industry, a professional services CRM can be helpful since it may include features for helping you keep track of your compliance with those regulations.

What is a general-purpose CRM?

A general-purpose CRM is designed to work equally well for any and every type of business, with universal features that every industry can use.

Advantages of a general CRM

There are several significant benefits of using a general CRM instead of a professional services-specific one. Here are three of those benefits.

1. They cost less money

The first big advantage of getting a general-purpose CRM is that it will probably be more affordable than an industry-specific option. Obviously, this depends on the exact tool. But generally speaking, general CRMs will have more flexible pricing.

That’s because general CRMs frequently offer a variety of pricing plans. So, a general CRM might be very expensive if you choose one of the top plans, but the lower plans will probably be more affordable. And if you’re running a small business, you might not need the most expensive plan anyway—those are often designed for enterprises.

In contrast, professional service-specific CRMs tend to have far more rigid pricing.

2. They have better integration options

Another benefit of general-purpose CRMs is that they tend to offer far better integration options. That’s a big deal for a CRM, because integrating with other tools is how they gather all your customer data in the first place. So, the more integration options a CRM offers, the more likely it is to integrate with all the data tools you already use.

Unfortunately, this is a weak point for many professional services-specific CRMs. General CRMs, on the other hand, have to cater to a wide range of audiences. So, they make it a priority to integrate with as many tools as possible. That makes them far likelier to connect to all your other tools.

3. They’re often more user-friendly

Finally, general CRMs have a reputation for being more user-friendly and easier to navigate than industry-specific tools. Again, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. It depends on the specific platform. But you’ll definitely have an easier time finding a user-friendly option if you’re looking at general CRMs.

The main reason general CRMs are more user-friendly is that since they cater to a wider audience, they tend to bring in more revenue. That means they can afford better and larger teams, giving them the time and resources to focus on optimizing the user experience.

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Should I use a professional services-specific or general-purpose CRM?

Now we return to the original question in this blog post: “Should I use a professional services-specific CRM or a general-purpose one?” The answer, as you can probably guess, is that it depends on your company’s particular needs.

As we’ve established, professional services CRMs aren’t as flexible on pricing, and the main benefit they offer is industry-specific features. So, if those niche features are one of your top priorities — and you have the budget to afford it — a professional services-specific CRM may be for you.

If not, though, you’re probably better off with a general-purpose tool. The truth is, most companies don’t need an industry-specific CRM, because CRMs serve mostly the same purpose for all businesses. 90% of the time, a general CRM will get the job done.

Nutshell is the optimal CRM for your professional services company

Regardless of whether you choose a professional services-specific or general-purpose option, you need a CRM. If you’re in the process of searching for one, look no further than Nutshell. Our CRM comes with features like sales automation, advanced reporting, and customer segmentation, making it a top choice.

Of course, you no doubt need more convincing than that. That’s why we offer a 14-day free trial of our tool. Check it out today to see what Nutshell can do for your professional services business!


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