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Traditionally, businesses stored their contacts using spreadsheets and filing cabinets. Imagine browsing through all the data on spreadsheets or, worse still, on handwritten documents. It would take you a while before you saw potential conversions. Add the labor of creating manual funnels to know if the lead is qualified and worth pitching. The sales team spent more than half their work hours identifying leads. If there wasn't a system in place, most of their time was spent cold calling and running behind leads who weren't sales-qualified. You can see that traditional methods ate into productive hours and couldn't match the ROI goals. Software solutions, especially the ones used in sales and marketing teams, have led to an incredible increase in their productivity. These solutions help the sales teams know which lead to follow, from automating the contact management to moving them across pipelines. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can point at the ideal sales funnel and improve the ability of the team to create workflows and manage conversions. CRM software can help businesses increase customer retention and promise to improve revenue (Zippia). At least 65% of the salespeople who use mobile CRM meet their targets easily, while the 22% that don't use it cannot keep up. 


The global CRM software market is expected to grow to $49.6 billion by 2025 (Statista). It is the right time to plan a CRM for your business.However, not all CRMs are the same. There are different types of CRM, and they help fulfill the different goals set by your business. If you are contemplating investing in CRM, choose the one that fits your sales/marketing goals. Let's look at the different CRMs in detail with their use cases. 

» The Three Types of CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) software solutions differ in the functionality they offer. They handle different parts of your organization. You can choose between operational, analytical, and collaborative CRM based on your needs. Here, we will take you through each CRM, how it works, and the top examples in this segment for a detailed understanding. 

#1 Operational CRM

As the name suggests, operational CRM offers help with simplifying the different processes/operations within an organization. For instance, you might need help simplifying the lead generation processes and their movement from the marketing to the sales team. For this purpose, you need an operational CRM. The operational CRM tools can help a company's key leaders visualize the customer's journey, determine the touchpoints and build the story for interactions. The customers interact with the different teams via website/social media channels for the first time. The company will continue these interactions via chat, Email, and other channels depending on the customer's preferences, responses, and workflow. The CRM will offload most of the work from the marketing and sales team's shoulders. It will manage to create the pipelines, move the leads through the funnel and give a descriptive view into the lead's journey. This will help make the communication and interaction methods to ensure every lead becomes the organization's customer. The operational CRM functions towards automating the tasks and creating more space within the team for other functions.There are three types of automation software within the operational CRM: Sales, Marketing, and Service. The CRM will help these three departments with breaking down their tasks efficiently. 
    • The Sales Automation CRM
This automation software will help break down all the sales-related tasks, remove the heavy lifting and create more simplified processes. For instance, when a person connects with you via chat for some product information, you might want to create a workflow for when and how the sales team will get involved. Similarly, you need to identify the time when the sales team will start working on connecting with a potential lead and converting them. The automation will schedule the appointments, help manage the calls, determine the open rates, define the hot leads, and prepare your list of possible conversions.You can manage all conversations from a single place, thus increasing the team's productivity. You can also track your sales team's performance, each member's capabilities, and other determining factors from a single place. 
    • The Marketing Automation CRM
Marketers are tasked with many responsibilities, including managing email communications, social media and implementing different strategies. However, most of the time, marketers handle the leads, manage the conversations and interact with them. Marketers spend a lot of time building workflows. Eventually, it lowers the marketers' productivity and hampers your business. That's why you need the marketing automation CRM. It can improve your insight building, tracking ROIs, and looking into analytics. The automation software can also help with implementing optimization strategies. 
    • The Customer Service Automation CRM
Knowing your customers is important for business success. However, spending a lot of time scanning through the data can make managing customer expectations challenging for your service teams. You can either dive into insights or work through the customers. You can either boost your team's strength or add a software solution to help your team. CRM software can manage the analysis and reporting part, which helps dive into detailed insights. You will know your loyal customers versus the customers who are leaving. It will also give you enough insights to understand your customers and enhance retention. Let's see how this CRM type works.

›How They Work?

The operational CRMs will identify the main functions that need to be automated. For instance, when implementing CRM in the marketing niche, you will notice that Email marketing requires workflows and automation. Similarly, it would help if you created a separate workflow to manage SMS and Whatsapp marketing. In sales, you must determine the hot leads and your approaches. Once you have incorporated the automation, you might want to include the reporting and analysis for the different parts of your work. This will help the teams enhance the quality of work. The idea is to leave the conversations and actual service/marketing/sale to the representatives.

Examples of Operational CRM

Here are a few known operational CRMs that work for several companies. 
  1. HubSpot: HubSpot is small to large businesses' most preferred operational CRM. It has an extensive range of features designed for the specific teams. You will need to invest in separate CRMs for the teams and improve the automation capabilities of the organization. 
  2. SalesForce: Salesforce CRM is a leading CRM application, available for mobile devices too. It extends Ai-driven analytics for better decision-making. You can easily use the in-built tools and AI-driven processes to enhance the outcome.
  3. FreshSales: Freshsales is one of the top-notch CRM that extends workflow automation capabilities. It can easily help improve the overall efficiency of your system. You can assign leads, conversations, and other aspects to the concerned sales team member for better outcomes. 

›Use Cases

Here are some of the top use cases for operational CRM that can help you realize if it is useful for your business. 
    • Automate Repeated Tasks
If tasks need to be repeatedly performed and can take up time, you might want to opt for a CRM. For instance, Email design and scheduling can take up endless hours. Automating can help you enhance the outcome. 
    • Omni-channel Interactions
The customer can interact with your business from multiple channels. You might want to be present at all the channels for smooth interactions. This can happen when you implement CRM. It will be present automatically when your customer comes aboard. 
    • Lead Prioritisation
One of the crucial use cases for the sales team is managing and prioritizing leads. You may have to study detailed spreadsheets and lots of data before you can prioritize. To overcome these issues, you can implement operational CRM. 

#2 Analytical CRM

Companies generate lots of data in a minute. You will notice that your marketing team alone produces a lot of data from the different interactive channels. A single campaign gives away a lot of details about the potential lead. The analytical CRM will help businesses manage the data, read through it and build insights. This CRM will help businesses skim through large data and help decision-makers with the right recommendations.With analytical CRM, you can understand your customers, know the current trends and work through your strategies to improve retention. Let's go through the important components of an analytical CRM. 
    • Data Warehousing
This is an important component of the analytical CRM. You will notice that this CRM can help analysts with all data related to the operations. For instance, they would have detailed data regarding customer demographics, purchases, decisions, and even their interactions with the business. This component handles all data in a single place, from the latest to the historical. As a marketer/salesperson, you can extract, clean, and study the data using CRM tools. This will help you analyze customer behavior, know if they are ready for conversion, and approach them accordingly. 
    • Data Mining
This is an important component of the analytical CRM. It can help identify patterns that bring together large pieces of data within the organizations. It will help build correlations, identify emerging patterns, and enhance the intelligence of the business systems. You can build a solid customer lifecycle based on the patterns and know how to approach the customer in each segment. This will enhance your conversion-to-retention cycle.
    • OLAP Tools
Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) tools are core to the analytical CRM and enhance the data analysis capabilities of the software. You will be working on data from across dimensions and channels. Your insights will be deeper as a result of this evaluation. Let's say your potential lead communicated with you via the website. This also helps gain access to the entire demographics of the person. You will know your lead in-depth. OLAP tools will work on all the available data together. It will help the teams get a detailed customer data analysis from all data sources. It will eventually help build the persona and implement the marketing strategies. When the tools gather enough information, it helps the businesses understand where they need to maximize their efforts. It can help enhance the outcome accordingly. Let's understand how CRM functions. 

›How They Work?

Analytical CRMs are known for detailed analysis of all aspects of data that comes into the system. It helps businesses create effective strategies that can help improve conversions. You will have enough data about the types of campaigns to generate leads. You will know which customer makes the most purchases and how they complete the purchase decisions. You will also know customers' issues while using your products/services. You can determine the existing weaknesses in your current strategies and improve the outcomes of your marketing. From data mining to warehousing, there are several instances where analytical CRM can help. 

›Examples of Analytical CRM

    • Zoho: The Zoho analytics CRM is dedicated to finding the top insights and helping with recommendations. This is built for small teams that cannot invest in extensive CRM features. Even the free version can help analyze a lot of data.
    • SAP Analytics: It uses predictive modeling and a lot of machine learning to help you determine the insights for your business. It also extends forecasting reports for better analysis.

Use Cases

    • Personalized Interactions
With the analytical CRM, you would have more validated customer data. This will help you know which customers are loyal versus those ready to churn. They would need separate campaigns. You can tailor the interactions based on this information from the CRM
    • Information Repository
You can store all the information from different perspectives and manage the data efficiently with the analytical CRM. It helps create a solid repository of information. 
    • Improved Segmenting 
Segmenting is key to creating interactions. You need to ensure smooth segments that can help you identify the customer type, reaction to your product, and habits. Each segment can then be targeted with personalized messages. 

#3 Collaborative CRM

This is useful in improving collaboration between the sales, marketing, and service departments. Their function is to break down the silos within the organization and prepare it for increased collaborations. Imagine a small organization where the sales, marketing, and service teams sit together. However, when you move this into a large enterprise, separate departments may sit across different spaces. It is also possible they are working in different geographies. As a result, the crucial data that can help improve marketing never reaches the department. To avoid this from happening, the teams need a collaborative CRMThe different functions it handles include:
    • Interactions
The customers interact with the company via various channels. The customer may interact with different people/teams within the organization. You must track these instances to enable smooth deliveries. With the CRM, the teams will know when the communication occurred, the responses shared, and the outcomes. It gives a better perspective on the customer. It will help the other teams take the proper route for targeting the customer.
    • Communication Channels
It is equally important for the teams to know which communication channel the user prefers. It could be WhatsApp, Email, or direct website chat. The CRM gives thorough information on where the interactions occurred and how often they happened via a channel. Once you know the preferred channel, extending the right communication to your users becomes easier. 
    • Document Handling
An important part of customer relationship management is the document you share with them. This would include the contracts, the warranty, NDAs, and others. It would help if you also had a place to store them so your teams can retrieve them when needed. This CRM can also help manage the documents and share them across teams. This way, the service teams can access the documents and help the customers with their queries during support calls. 

How do they work?

Collaborative CRM focuses on customer retention and satisfaction. This happens when the teams that are customer-facing work together. The service team should share every information with the sales and marketing team. This can help the sales/marketing teams extend the right product, work towards enhancing their experience and nurture the customers better. Collaborative CRM is an excellent example of this aspect. You will be able to share the information across departments with ease. At the same time, you will be assured that the information is available in the simplest form possible.

› Examples of Collaborative CRM

  1. CRM software helps businesses with real-time communication and improves data storage abilities. It provides all the tools to share information and improve the connection between the different departments. 
  2. Sage CRM: With this CRM, you can ensure that there is no data duplication and that all numbers are available in a single view. You can access the insights, too, for the data made available.

› Use Cases

    • Better Customer Service 
Customer service has access to all data about the purchase. This allows them to support the customer better and resolve their queries faster. It can enhance customer service interactions. 
    • Upselling
When you know what the user purchased and how they feel about a product, you can cash in on the data to upsell another product. You can always go through the service and marketing interactions to identify customer needs and share the product with them. 

» How to Choose a CRM for Your Business? [[5 important factors]

Knowing the CRM your business needs before investing in one is important. It will save you a lot of money and ensure you get the best returns. Here are the top five factors that can help you choose a good CRM solution for your business. #1 Know the RequirementsYou need to know what your business needs. Do you want to improve the lead generation? Are you looking for better service? Do you want to get a bird's eye view into your business? All your requirements will direct you toward a particular CRM that can help your business. #2 Determine the CRM TypeWe have discussed the three CRM types. It is time to know which of these CRM fits your requirement efficiently. After jotting down the requirements, you will know which CRM is best-fit as a solution. For instance, you need an operational CRM if you have written automation and workflow management. If you need insights, analytical CRM is for you.#3 Top Features to IncludeMake sure to list all the features you need in your CRM. It could be as basic as integrations. This would help you communicate and connect without moving out of the CRM. Similarly, in-built payments can help businesses for better sales and services. The features can help determine which CRM is the best fit. #4 Budget for the CRMIt is important to have a defined budget for your CRM. You may have a specific amount you want to spend on the CRM. This will improve your search and help you find the right solution for your business. So, make sure you are estimating the CRM budget beforehand. #5 Vendor ResearchLastly, you should have a supportive vendor for your CRM. Whether you are facing issues implementing or need support, the vendor is your go-to person. As a result, it is very important to choose the right vendor for your CRM.

» Conclusion

Customer relationship management is a crucial part of your business. Managing the relations across departments, ensuring smooth interactions, and then offering the right solutions can help retain your customers. The software solution can enhance the departments' productivity and ensure a smooth customer journey. Businesses need to choose the right CRM software for their business. Along with determining the features, budget, and vendor, the customer should also read all the reviews/ratings for the particular software. It will help you know if the CRM is fit for you. 

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