The three different types of CRM and what they offer

There are three main types of CRM, and before you go ahead and implement a system for your business it pays to understand exactly what is different about them and what each one offers.  

Your CRM will enable you to communicate effectively with customers and prospects, having essential information at your fingertips when you need it.  Without it, valuable opportunities can be missed.  

So what are the three main types of CRM? We like to classify them as either:

  • Operational
  • Analytical
  • Collaborative

1. Operational CRM

This streamlines and automates sales and marketing as well as service processes.  Its main role is to generate leads and then convert them into contacts within the CRM, capturing all details at the same time.

With regard to sales, it will enable existing customers to be dealt with efficiently and new ones acquired, organizing information effectively.  Its various modules will incorporate contact and lead management as well as sales forecasting.   

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As far as marketing is concerned, it helps businesses with offering products and providing ways of communicating with customers.  Campaign management is a big plus, enabling emails, phone calls and meetings to be tracked and organized.  Finally, the service automation side enables quality customer service to be provided, dealing with things like call management and monitoring based upon KPIs.

Example: a current customer calls up to query the current interest rate on his account, possibly thinking of switching to a competitor; instead of just telling him the answer, the CRM pops up a current deal relating to reduced interest rates so you are not only able to retain him but make him additionally happy.

2. Analytical CRM

Data analysis is the main function of this CRM, looking at customer data and providing management with much better insight with regard to current business status.  Decisions can be made much more efficiently and correctly and campaign effectiveness can be tracked.  

Sales and customer service personnel can use the information provided to support and improve customer relationships.  Information will be gathered from many different channels and then analysed in a structured way, enabling companies to put business methodology in place and effectively analyse KPIs.

Example:  a customer buys a printer from an online store.  In the background, this information is taken and fed into the CRM.  When she next goes online, matching items will be flagged up to match her printer i.e. consumables such as ink and paper.  When new models come out, they will be emailed to her, enabling the company to use her data for promotions and surveys. This will better satisfy customer needs and help build market share.

Collaborative CRM

Sometimes referred to as a Strategic CRM, this shares customer information between business departments such as sales, marketing, technical, support etc.  

Feedback from support can be used proactively by the marketing team to connect with targeted customers, relating to certain products.  Without the collaborative CRM this would generally not happen as data is not often shared and losses can occur as well as damage to customer relationships.  The overall aim is to improve the customer experience, improving loyalty and boosting sales.

Example:  A customer buys a new car and then has a problem with it.  The customer service department liaise with the technical and the data is fed into the system.  The department that sold the car can communicate with the buyer, making sure their problem does not manifest into a lost customer, also taking the time to ensure that their problem is rectified correctly and they are made aware of offers and deals particularly suitable to them i.e. warranty cover etc.

Different types of CRM come equipped with different features and applications.  Before you implement your CRM, make sure to decide your future strategy and purchase the one most suited to your business needs.

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Courtney Danyel

About the author…

Courtney is a business writer, content marketing expert, Twitter addict (@danyeltravels) and recovering academic. These days she works with marketing agencies and SaaS companies to create content that engages audiences, generates buzz, builds relationships, and drives sales.

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Courtney Danyel

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