Differences in CRM types
Every business needs to share information with the clients in the most efficient way. Customer relationship management software is very helpful in this respect. The main purpose of any CRM application is to define the customers’ needs and preferences and provide the best service. CRM offers the opportunity to build relationships with customers as the software helps to analyze the information and make the reports.
The customer relationship management platform is quite easy to use and is very helpful when you need to manage interaction with existing and potential customers. All CRM systems have basic features, including dashboards, database, tools for marketing and sales and many others. However, you need to choose CRM taking into account your business needs, goals, and unique characteristics of your company. There are no universal solutions.
How to choose the best CRM for your business
To pick the CRM that satisfies your requirements, you need to follow the simple steps. Firstly, you should make a comprehensive analysis of each type of customer relationship management platform that we will describe in more detail below. CRM features typically include contact management, lead management, tracking of emails, real-time reports concerning clients’ behavior, management of social media and automation of some processes.
Secondly, you need to define the main requirements of your business. For example, it is hard to find information about your target clients, there is a lack of communication between the departments or you have difficulties with creating customer loyalty.
Thirdly, you need to analyze the software features. The main points for consideration are the functions, ease of use, security, collaboration features, integration, customization and mobility.
The last steps are to consider the price of CRM software and compare different options. You can start from free versions and then purchase the upgraded software. If you try the free trials of different software by some leading vendors it will cost you nothing but you will be able to see, whether it suits your business requirements or not.
Note that vendor of the CRM is extremely important because during the time of the software usage you will be communicating with the customer support and help desk teams. That is why the vendor of customer relationship management should be reliable.
Types of CRM
There are three major types of CRM systems:
- Operational. This type of CRM is mostly focused on automation and improvement of the processes related to customer support, including marketing and selling processes.
- Analytical. As the name implies, this type of CRM collects and analyzes customer information. Based on this data, the system identifies solutions for the best business decisions.
- Collaborative. The system shares information collected from the clients between various departments of the company as marketing, technical support, and sales.
Some features of different platforms may be similar, depending on the exact CRM you have chosen. The three types of CRM will have advantages and disadvantages according to the industry where you are going to apply them. Further, we will define some pros and cons of each type and find out the most suitable customer relationship management platform for your company’s niche.
The operational customer relationship management system provides you information about the clients’ interactions with your company. The main purpose of operational CRM is to automate some business processes that do not require human oversight. These processes include:
- Sales automation;
- Marketing automation;
- Service automation.
Sales automation is aimed at simplifying the sales process. The operational CRM organizes sales tasks and helps to assign them to the sales team. The main aim of sales automation is to set a standard within the company to attract new customers and interact with the existing ones. Sales automation helps to organize data in the most effective way.
CRM can be configured in the following way. When the sales representatives collect the information about the customers’ needs with the help of direct contact, online touchpoints or other means, then they are able to figure out the most suitable approach. Sales automation has some CRM modules as contact management, lead management, forecasting of sales and quote-to-order management.
Marketing automation is targeted at finding the right way of offering products to potential clients and also the most suitable approach. Automation is aimed at collecting the data needed for promotional digital marketing activities including emails, the traffic of the website, online activity of visitors and other information. With the help of this CRM, your company can automate the emails to the sales team with the reports concerning lead quality, lead acquisition, etc. Further, this data is used for creating promotions for clients based on analytics.
Marketing automation is helpful for companies when choosing the best channels for communication with their potential and existing customers as phone, email, advertisements on social media or personal meetings.
You can automate the following information:
- account size;
- type of organization;
- purchase history;
- close time;
- any data you can gather.
Service automation allows companies to maintain a positive relationship with their customers. This type of automation helps to solve the customers’ problems, manage customers’ incoming and outgoing calls and monitor the indicators of performance of the service. Service automation tracks the customers’ inputs on the websites and data from the phone calls, social media and emails. After that, it sends notifications to the staff members via social media or mobile phone.
Service automation is very useful in terms of handling the customers’ requests in the fastest way possible. In addition, this CRM type is able to update customers’ information in the account and also confirm the orders automatically.
Analytical CRM is applied for organizing, analyzing and managing the data provided by the customers to provide better decisions and boost sales. The main function of analytical CRM is the analysis of the information. Analytical CRM collects data including:
- customer retention rates;
- the average cycle of the deal;
- the recurring income per month.
One of the major features of analytical CRM is predictive modeling. Analytical CRM can review past consumer trends and thus, it is able to forecast future ones along with the sales activity and the availability of the product.
After collecting data from customers and the company, the platform makes a prediction based on the holiday schedule, weather and region of the company’s operation. The reports made on the basis of large volume and range of data allow businesses to make the process of engagement with the customer more convenient.
Analytical CRM also performs the analysis of the profitability of each customer. Due to this approach, the company can define the prices for the specific products in a more precise way for specific customers.
With the help of this CRM type, businesses can categorize customers according to certain criteria identified by the company. The criteria for grouping customers often include:
- level of education;
- marital status;
- past purchases.
When the company collects this information, it can tune the analytics for the targeted groups of clients. It is easier to develop promotional activities and services if the company has information about the better ways how to attract the customers and how to retain them.
The benefits of the analytical customer relationship management system are:
- data storing;
- cross-sell opportunities;
- personalization of the customer’s experience;
- sales trends forecasting;
Analytical CRM will be useful for your business development if you want to find out why customers are not purchasing the products by the company, collect more data about the target groups of your clients, to better understand what touchpoints are bringing more income. Also, this type of CRM will suit your needs if you are spending too much time on the spreadsheet analysis, you want to improve the sales strategy and to monitor the sales KPI.
This type of CRM is often called Strategic CRM. Due to collaborative CRM, the company can share the data collected from the customers among various units of the company, including the marketing team, sales and support teams. These often are stakeholders of the company, various departments, distributors and vendors. So, the main focus of collaborative CRM is internal communication within the company which sometimes is rarely addressed in real life and this fact causes a lot of problems.
For instance, the marketing team of the company may apply the feedback received from the support team in order to create the strategy of interaction with the customers ordering certain products or services. Collaborative CRM helps to unite different business teams and to improve the customer experience.
However, the other CRM types — operational and analytical — can also be applied for interaction between the different groups of the company. The greatest difference is the focus. Collaborative CRM is targeted at customer satisfaction, retention and good quality of service, rather than on the attraction of the new clients.
Collaborative CRM monitors the touchpoints of the customers’ interaction with your brand. This can be useful to improve the customers’ engagement with your company. For example, collaborative CRM may help you to define the repeated customers’ concerns which can be later analyzed by the marketing department.
With the help of the collaborative CRM, you can receive the reports from the support team which will be useful in your interactions with the customers in the future. The team conversation will help you to find out the products and services the customers are interested in the most. The information gathered from the sales department will help you understand how to improve the promotional materials.
Collaborative CRM is also helpful for managing documents. Due to this CRM, the team may have access to the technical documentation, proposal, contract or any other type of document.
This type of customer relationship management platform will be profitable for your company if your goal is to improve communication between the different teams if your main focus is the retention and loyalty of the customers and you want to share the customers’ data with the suppliers. Also, you would enjoy using collaborative CRM if the clients of your company have specific requirements.
Choosing the right type of customer relationship management system is not an easy matter. Your new CRM needs to match with your existing technology, future goals and specific strategy of the company.