There is no business that doesn’t value customer data management. From solopreneurs and small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) to giant corporations, all businesses deal with customers by definition. Thus, contact management is the vital foundation of all interactions; who your customers are and where you can reach them. On this front, the business software sector has provided myriads of options, the most notable being Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and Contact Management Systems (CMS). Thus, if you’re wondering where to stand in the CRM vs CMS debate, we at MoversTech are here to help.

Let’s start with defining CMS

A man using a ballpoint pen on a notebook.
CMS solutions focus on providing contact management utilities.

To start off on the right foot, let us delve into each of the two separately. CMS is, at its core, a contact list solution. Much like the phonebooks of old, CMS intends to consolidate customer information in a single, accessible space. However, unlike such traditional records, CMS can be cloud-based as well as on-premise. Finally, despite what the name might suggest at a glance, CMS also offers more functionalities than simply contact and interaction records.

CMS features

In much the same way as CRM, CMS features also vary quite wildly among different solutions. It’s thus not definitively easy to address the matter of CRM vs CMS based on features because they differ from each product to the next. Nonetheless – basic, advanced, and specialized CMS solutions often offer some or all of the following features:

  • A comprehensive contact list database
  • Accessible reports and dashboards
  • Customizable contact fields; tags, groups, etc
  • Access via mobile devices
  • Phone and email integration options
  • Activity tracking, lead management, and internal communication tools

Combinations of the above, as well as additional access security features, can often be found on more sophisticated CMS solutions.

Now, to refresh with a brief summary of CRM

A red and white dart hitting a target.
CRM solutions optimize your interactions with customers, letting you achieve short-term and long-term goals.

Similarly, CRM is a comprehensive, holistic software solution that manages all business interactions with customers. Much like CMS, CRM also manages contact information and can be cloud-based or on-premise. A few additional shared features aside, that’s where the similarities stop, however. CRM software intends to do more than manage contacts; it streamlines workflows, nurtures leads, automates tasks, and shortens sales cycles. In essence, CRM is a holistic asset toward creating a customer-centric strategy through immense interaction insights.

CRM types

A vital distinction to make in the CRM vs CMS debate is that CRM often comes in more, and more specialized, types. While some marketers may identify 4, 5, or more types, the 3 most commonly recognized are the following.

  • Operational CRM – service, sales, and marketing automation
  • Analytical CRM – predictive modeling, profitability analysis, and deeper customer segmentation
  • Collaborative CRM – interaction and channel management, and internal communications

As such, CRM solutions typically offer much deeper, specialized features to suit every business’s needs. Depending on your company’s short-term and long-term goals, as well as desirable focus, any of the 3 main types of CRM can prove to be your most valuable asset.

CRM features

A man in a white shirt working at a call center.
With deep customer insights, CRM can help personalize and enhance your customer service.

While features will strongly depend on CRM type, different solutions may also overlap somewhat. In all cases, CRM software typically offers the following features:

  • A centralized customer data and interaction database
  • Automation features
  • Phone, email, chat, social media, and call center integration options
  • Lead management and lead scoring
  • Profitability analysis and sales analytics
  • Workflow automation and approvals
  • Selective, role-based access
  • Document management

It’s still noteworthy that every CRM solution will differ from the next, so it’s likely wise to do one’s due research. Many CRM options, especially in higher price brackets, may offer more features than one may realistically need. Furthermore, your moving business’s unique goals and needs will also determine the value of many such features. But regardless, CRM remains vastly potent – and the downsides of running a moving business without a CRM are equally notable.

CRM vs CMS – what’s the difference?

Having analyzed both in some depth, the differences between the two should be easy to consolidate. In fact, it may be wiser to note the similarities; both offer contact management and may offer similar tools for lead management and activity tracking. That’s essentially where the similarities end and the differences begin. For the sake of summarizing, we could likely identify the starkest differences in 3 key areas; automation, lead segmentation, and overall scope.

Automation features

CMS may offer some automation assets such as notifications, but that is mostly the extent to which such features go. That is of course perfectly understandable since automation isn’t the focus of CMS solutions.

CRM, on the contrary, excels at email automation. Even basic email automation triggers are among the most common CRM features because they’re a common starting point for customer interactions. Operational CRM specifically offers even deeper customizable event triggers, that can help streamline the workflow of your marketing teams.

Lead segmentation

While CMS may at times offer some basic customizable contact fields, it does not delve into lead segmentation. One can certainly do so manually, but that’s beyond the typical scope of CMS solutions.

CRM, on the other hand, offers an array of lead segmentation options. As it intends to be a vital asset for digital marketing strategies, it focuses on providing immense, actionable customer insights. Through building buyer personas, as well as through segmenting customers based on shared characteristics and behavioral patterns, CRM can help inform marketing decisions. Such segmentation can drive accurate, personalized outreach, which can shorten your sales cycles and increase profitability.


Finally, the two simply differ massively in terms of scope. While CMS intends to help smaller, growing businesses manage contacts more efficiently, CRM offers a much more massive scope. CRM seeks to manage all aspects of customer interactions, improving communications and customer service, and enhancing your sales funnel. Simply put, CMS is focused on contact management, while CRM is holistic.

In conclusion, CRM vs CMS: which should you choose?

With all of the above in mind, the choice should thus be clear. Both CMS and CRM have their individual merits, but they have different scopes and they differ more than they’re similar. CMS can help smaller businesses manage contacts effectively, but CRM offers a wealth of options for businesses of all sizes. That said, however, the ultimate choice will of course depend on your moving business’s goals and needs.

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