Find out which CRM software solution type suits you best - operational, analytical, or collaborative.

Streamlining your business’s interactions with your customers is a never-ending aspiration and a beneficial prospect for all parties involved. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is designed to facilitate this, emerging as a powerful tool at the disposal of new and seasoned professionals.

At its core, CRM software presents a practical and easy-to-use platform. Such systems manage all aspects of a business’s interaction with current and potential customers. Regardless of the type of CRM, all such systems come with basic functionalities, such as a database, dashboards for tracking metrics, sales and marketing tools, etc.

However, a more tailored CRM will likely cater better to the unique needs of your company. To help you make an informed decision on which CRM software type might best suit your company, we’ve compiled a guide to different types of CRM.

The three fundamental types of CRM systems

  • Operational
  • Analytical
  • Collaborative

It is notable that many platform features may overlap, depending on the individual CRM solution at hand, and these three categories do somewhat complement each other. All three will likely have their own benefits for various industries. For example, movers can find such software helpful no less than online retailers or web design agencies. Nonetheless, a good grasp of how exactly they differ in concept and functionality will help you recognize which software is most optimal to the requirements of your business and niche.

ll the different types of CRM aim to boost customer engagement and satisfaction, and thus revenue.
ll the different types of CRM aim to boost customer engagement and satisfaction, and thus revenue.

Operational CRM

Business processes that require no creative human oversight are practically the easiest to automate. That exact sentiment is the intent of operational CRM. While streamlining or fully automating processes is their primary function, many aspects of operational CRM can be further customized for more specific roles.

Service automation filters through customer input and inquiries across websites, social media, emails, and phone calls. Then, it sends notifications to relevant agents through social media or even automated phone interfaces. As a result, it is an invaluable asset for swift responses to pending customer requests. Moreover, such CRM can update customer account data, route calls, and automatically send order confirmations.

Sales automation, as the name implies, streamlines the sales process. Such software can follow marketing analytics tools, with the capacity to automate outgoing emails to valuable leads. The software itself can be configured to assign scores to leads so that a company can assess more optimally whether a lead’s readiness is enough to warrant contact by a sales representative. Once sales representatives acquire relevant customer information through online touchpoints, other tools, or direct contact - they can then tailor an approach that is more suitable to each lead.    

Marketing automation further builds on acquiring online lead information prior to promotional activities; visitors’ online activity, website traffic, emails, and other metrics. Such CRM can automate emails of this nature for a sales team, producing detailed reports on lead acquisition, lead quality, final sales, and other relevant information. With this valuable data, some CRM solutions can be further modified to automate tailored promotions to customers, based on the acquired analytics. Such software will cross-reference lead value and promotional levels - all to determine the course, nature, and intensity of such prospects for optimal returns.

Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM software seeks to analyze the aforementioned customer touchpoints and apply optimal models to such data. In function, it can thus analyze past consumer trends and reliably predict future ones, in addition to factors such as product availability and sales activity. The sheer volume and scale of available data allows such software to produce highly specific reports, allowing a business to adapt and fine-tune its customer engagement and operations. In turn, this can have a tremendous impact on customer acquisition and retention activities.

Predictive modeling. The CRM gathers a massive volume of data on consumer online behavior and the company’s own historical data. The platform then merges it with such factors as weather, region, and holiday schedules - all to weave an accurate forecast on both consumer trends and internal needs. As such, it facilitates service optimization towards improved customer engagement; analyzing past customer behavior offers highly optimized, targeted outreaches that are much more likely to be successful.   

Profitability analysis evaluates each customer and their profitability. It compares customer retention and longevity and average invoice value with outreach and interaction costs. The company can configure said CRM to weigh each individual factor according to its criteria, thus allowing it to produce similar results as lead scoring – grading customers in adherence with its needs. In turn, this insight can help a company optimize promotions and price points for specific products and customer categories - optimizing the overall sales funnel considerably.    

Customer segmentation seeks to provide such grouping data, categorizing customers according to the company’s desirable identifying criteria. Such criteria can include age, gender, income, and location, among others. All this allows for analytics to be fine-tuned to suit a company’s desired target groups. This information enables more optimal engagement through tailored promotions and services - increasing potential customer acquisition and retention.

Collaborative CRM

Predictably, collaborative CRM platforms specialize in optimizing communication and collaboration across a company’s teams. It thus serves as a means of synchronously sharing key customer interaction data to relevant teams, enhancing response times and quality and improving customer satisfaction. This, in turn, allows a company to maximize profitability from its operations.

Interaction management tracks various touchpoints of customers in relation to your brand. Visibility of individual customers’ online journey can offer tremendously valuable insight. How and why they interact with your company? Through which lead acquisition means do they interact? Since the focus of this CRM type is enhanced interactions between your company and customers, this will likely be very crucial information. It could help highlight, for example, a trend of recurring customer concerns which could then be addressed by a marketing team. Such responses benefit highly from streamlined internal communication, which this CRM type excels at.

Channel management focuses on lead acquisition platform information - namely, social media, email, phone, and others. No business can be limited to a single channel of customer communication nor is it ideal to restrict interaction channels. On the contrary, it should be visibly detrimental. Channel management CRM consolidates such channels, making it easier to manage incoming inquiries across customers’ preferred channels.