There are four primary types of CRMs. Operational CRMs automate processes, freeing your team to focus on their expertise. Analytical CRMs gather, store and analyze data so you can act on trends to improve customer experiences and, therefore, boost conversions. Collaborative CRMs manage interactional data so team members know how and where to best interact with leads. Finally, marketing CRMs offer data-driven campaign-management tools.
Here is a closer look at the different types of CRMs and their uses.
An operational CRM helps to align your teams across marketing, customer service and sales via automation. In doing so, it allows these functions to work together using one customer or lead view and, ultimately, offer a smooth and positive experience while ushering leads from awareness to conversion and beyond. Its automation capabilities free up your team members to ditch repetitive, tedious tasks, so they can focus on tasks only humans can do.
Marketing tasks that operational CRMs help to automate include designing, distributing and tracking email campaigns and sequences. Customer service and sales automation examples include sales forecasting, tracking customer conversations, ticketing systems that assign complaints to experienced reps, task assigning, chatbots that receive complaints and the automated delivery of helpful content to answer customer questions.
As an example, a customer might interact with a website chatbot to complain about a product defect. From there, a ticket is created and routed to a sales rep who specializes in resolving the issue. After the assigned sales rep resolves the issue, the conversation with the rep triggers a follow-up email with a survey to ensure the issue has been resolved satisfactorily, along with a coupon code to entice the customer to buy again.
Analytical CRMs focus on data. It gathers data about each customer or lead, then offers an analysis of that data so marketers, sales reps and other functional members of your company can better serve your leads or customers. Example data includes customer and lead contact information, preferences, behaviors and interaction history with your brand and its reps.
More specifically, analytical CRMs first gather customer or lead data, then store that data in one place where all internal stakeholders can view it. Finally, analysis dashboards highlight data trends like how customers interact with your website or where they are located. This data is available on a customer-by-customer basis or as an overview of a large customer base. It reveals patterns your internal teams can use to improve the customer journey.
For example, your data may show that 25% of your customers in Florida searched for a particular product during beach season. They even put it into their online carts. However, 50% of those searchers did not buy but, instead, abandoned their carts. This insight can help you know how to offer them personalized marketing campaigns that convert, such as flash sales delivered via a triggered email when a cart is abandoned.
Collaborative CRMs allow teams in and around your company to work together more seamlessly to create better customer experiences across customer touchpoints with your brand. Such teams include internal teams like your sales, customer service, technical support and marketing teams. It also often streamlines communication across your company’s vendors, technical support reps, suppliers and distributors.
To help companies manage interactions, a collaborative CRM stores all interactions between customers or leads and your company. It does so by sourcing data from all channels, including website, email, phone, social media and even face-to-face interactions. From there, the data is analyzed to tell your team how and where to best interact with customers and leads for the best customer experience.
For example, your sales representative sold a customer a hot tub. In that interaction, your team member learned that the customer prefers to interact with your company via text and notes this in your CRM. So, when it comes time to upsell a new accessory or schedule a regular maintenance visit, your marketing or technical support rep will know to also reach out via text to interact with your customer over their preferred channel.
Marketing CRMs, such as other CRMs, gather data on your customers and offer you a holistic view of each customer. But they go further with marketing tools that help you target and automate campaigns. Then, tools like blog publishing, SEO, ad tracking, social media and video production tools allow you to respond to the collected data by giving you insights into the preferences your customers want in campaign content and product offerings.
Tools like landing-page and form builders allow you to collect customer data and segment customers. Then, marketing automation tools help you nurture leads and customers to convert or purchase again. All behaviors and preferences related to each customer or lead are captured in the marketing CRM, allowing all team members across your departments to know where the customer is in the conversion journey, then seamlessly nurture them from there.
For example, your data may show that a lead made a first purchase, becoming a customer. In response, you can use your CRM’s marketing segmentation and automation tools to nurture that customer to become a repeat buyer. Simply segment the customer into a category specifying their “new customer” status and their product interest. Then, create and launch an email sequence to automatically nurture more sales from that customer and similar ones.