Industry-specific CRMs do more than streamline your customer relations

Anna Vod · March 19, 2024 · Short URL:

SMBs get more benefits from niche CRM providers. Here are a few that make you stand out.

In today’s context of personalized services, pre-packaged generic CRM solutions just might not hit the mark for many businesses. That’s why industry-specific, or niche, customer relationship management (CRM) systems have gained significant attention.

Designed to cater to specific industries, such as real estate, healthcare, or e-commerce, these platforms address unique requirements and pain points within these sectors. For example, a real estate CRM might offer features like property management, lead tracking, and automated follow-ups tailored specifically for real estate agents and brokers. 

While they provide a narrower set of functionalities and no longer cater to all businesses, they excel in their niche markets – and are able to offer the personalization sought today. They really aim to provide that one-stop shop for all related customer services management needs.

Some of these niche CRMs are drawing increasing attention. Let’s zoom in on a few.

At the end of 2023, Zillow Group acquired Follow Up Boss (FUB in short), a CRM app for real estate professionals. The online real estate marketplace giant paid about $500 million for FUB’s top-notch platform that serves as a central hub for agents and teams, helping them stay organized, engage with customers, close deals, and grow their businesses. It stands as an all-in-one tool with a minimalistic, user-friendly interface that’s easy to use for all levels of professionals.

Among FUB’s competitors in the U.S. real estate space is Lofty, also designed specifically for real estate agents. The AI-powered platform makes it easy to manage leads and listings, run ads, monitor appointments, and send reports. It also streamlines marketing campaigns and integrates with social media and calendar tools like Google, Zoom, and Calendly. Formerly called Chime, the platform launched in 2016 and is based in Phoenix, AZ. Lofty is a subsidiary of Moatable, a Chinese holding company.

A popular U.S. platform for fitness management is Mindbody, operating from San Luis Obispo, CA. It provides for lead management, a built-in pipeline for client profiles, easy payments, scheduling, staff management, AI assistance, and regular reports. An alternative in the boutique fitness space is D.C.-based Mariana Tek, acquired by private equity firm Advent in 2019. Some of Mariana Tek’s standout features include automated fee collection for no-shows, rental sales, multi-location functionality, and cross-studio bookings. Plus, in late 2023, it integrated marketing and customer experience.

E-commerce SMBs may also often turn to niche CRM providers. Traditional CRM tools can be overly complex, designed for enterprise-level features, and cater to diverse industries. They center around both online and offline interactions with customers, which isn’t needed for online shops specifically. They also tend to be expensive or offer very limited free plans that may quickly discontinue meeting the mark for small teams. E-commerce-focused CRM solutions are more tailored, simpler, and cost-effective for small and medium-sized online businesses.

One of the popular options for e-commerce SMBs in the U.S. market today is Bitrix24. This platform, based in Alexandria, Virginia, combines CRM, project management, communication tools, and AI capabilities to empower e-commerce businesses in sales and client service. For small teams or startups looking to manage basic operations without additional costs, Bitrix24 offers a free plan, more robust than most other e-commerce CRM platforms.

On the other hand, there are SaaS customization platforms like AddaxCRM. This New Jersey software company partners with niche CRM providers to customize their features. A registered Salesforce partner, Addax specializes in end-to-end Salesforce implementations, customizations, and integrations for enterprises of all sizes. It also builds custom web solutions, integrates client portals with third-party software, and adds e-commerce, SEO, lead generation, and cybersecurity features.

Going beyond U.S. offerings, here's a Canada-based CRM service targeting SMBs that’s gaining traction specifically with vacation agencies, gyms, marketing agencies, and financial consultants. Called Leadfox, this marketing software offers highly personalized planning, genuinely taking in its client’s requests and needs.

As Alex Paquet, Leadfox president and ‍co-founder, told Vator in a podcast last week, the company listens to a client’s objectives first, then makes recommendations, and then builds marketing campaigns and create all the integrations. “First, you choose the strategy and, after that, we do all the architecture and the creations and the launch," Paquet said.

Leadfox aims to provide the highest performing marketing automation software for small businesses at an affordable rate. On top of it all, it has that AI-powered assistance that automates and speeds up many processes, including client engagement. As Paquet said, Leadfox is providing companies with an entire marketing department and saving its clients a lot of money.

To conclude this story, niche CRMs aren’t just tools: they’re that entire marketing and customer relations department that your small-to-midsize business can’t afford just yet. Yes, they streamline your processes – but they also provide a strategic advantage in the market and increase your reach. So, as you evaluate CRM options, consider the power of specialization. Sometimes, it’s the fox that outsmarts the pack.


Image: Wowzer AI



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