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March 24, 2023
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This is the big elephant in the room for buyers who are looking for project management software or customer relationship management (CRM). Should you use plugins or keep the two separate entities separate?
This is a complex question. CRM buyers are not usually project management buyers. The existing articles and guides treat each as a feature or add on for the other. This is not true.
Realistically, neither industry can speak the other’s language. Project managers and salespeople should, therefore, keep their software separate.
What are the similarities between CRM software and project management software?
There is overlap between both types of software. We found that the following qualities are common in most CRMs and project management software.
This means that the software is used in a similar way by users. They rely on email and time tracking, as well as mobile. Despite each offering a different level of functionality, both PM and CRM software offer the same basic features.
What are the differences in CRM and project management software?
Because the software types offer different functions, there are many differences between CRM software software and project management software. CRM software is used to manage customer relationships and data. It is a software type that focuses only on the external activities of a business.
Project management software is designed to manage large projects or business goals. It has clear start and finish dates, deliverables, budget constraints, and budget restrictions. These projects can be internal (such as patching software) and external (creating buildings for a commercial building company).
The following functionality is CRM-specific:
Salesforce, Zoho and SAP are the most popular CRM tools.
The features of project management software are slightly different. These include:
Microsoft Project, Atlassian and Podio are the most popular project management software.
Why not get an all-in-one solution instead?
1. CRM is long-term; project management works on an individual basis.
The end users of CRM software will likely not be the same end users of project management software. There are exceptions to this rule but it is a commonality.
It makes sense to keep the two platforms separate, as customer relationship management software is focused on long-term success and project management software is focused on start and finish dates. Even though businesses may have multiple clients, there is no reason for all that customer information to be scattered around the project workstream. Many of the customer data won’t be relevant to the project.
2. All-in-one programs can be expensive and rare.
There are not many software options that can offer both project management and CRM capabilities. JobNimbus, Insightly, and other solutions are available today. These programs are expensive, but you can get open-source project management software and free CRM software for free. These options are great for small businesses on a budget.
What about CRM software options that integrate project management plugins?
A plugin is a compromise. It should be handled on a company-specific level. Many companies don’t require a robust project management system, but they do need an assigned task manager to work with their CRM. A plugin feature in a CRM system can make a huge difference to a company.
Sometimes, project management software is required by teams that only manage a handful of external clients.