The increase in companies offering the same services has led to the inevitable importance of customer satisfaction and retention. This growing issue has further led to the automation of customer management systems to provide better and more effective services.
CRM is a broad term that hinges on taking care of the different aspects of customers’ journey and relationship with the company. In this post, we will define a CRM, explore the types, and help with choosing which CRM software is for you.
What Is a CRM Software?
CRM software (Customer Relationship Management) is a tool that helps an organization to manage its relationship with its customers better. It does this by storing data, analyzing the data, and automating activities to improve customer experience. There are currently three types of CRM software we will discuss. They are collaborative, operational, and analytical.
Collaborative CRM System
Collaborative CRM concentrates on data collection and sharing between different teams. Teams usually work in silos, and so Collaborative CRM helps to break that barrier. An example is the sales team sharing information about a customer with the support team, customer service, and marketing team. Doing this will achieve two goals. The first is that the organization learns as a unit.
With the company sharing information across various departments and locations, it is possible to attend to customers more effectively. A customer calling in to complain about an issue on one (department or location) end can easily have their data pulled out and attended to, instead of the customer restarting the complaints again. The Other is it helps to track and retrieve customer files when needed.
The key features of Collaborative CRM software are:
- Interaction Management: This feature allows the team to monitor, track and interact with its customers through any channel (emails, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings).
- Channel Management: This feature allows for the team to interact with customers on their various platforms. This feature can also help to identify which channels are best to reach the customers.
- Document Management: Some Collaborative CRM software help to store data in a central location.
Operational CRM System
Operational CRM System concentrates on the buyer’s life cycle. This system focuses on attracting customers (Marketing), selling to them (sales team), and then retaining them as customers (service). The operational CRM takes them through the sales cycle funnel. If Collaborative CRM is about improving customer experience and service, Operational is more about turning prospects into paying customers.
We can divide operational CRM into three principal features, they include:
- Marketing Automation: This automation helps to simplify the marketing team’s operation. The marketing team can set tasks like creating email campaigns so that the customer’s action triggers the sending of the mail. Think of when you subscribed to a newsletter and got a thank you email or welcome onboard email. The content of the emails also is triggered by where the customer is on the buyer’s journey. This automation can also apply to other automation techniques like the content recommended to a customer on the company’s website based on past purchases.
- Sales Automation: This automation gives the sales team vital information on leads. Usually, information like the scoreboards of customers helps rank the likelihood of a lead purchasing a product and hence who the sales team members should chase. Sales automation simplifies tasks like scheduling meetings with prospects, scheduling emails, and tracking calls. Sales team automation also separates the regular customers from the big ones. Its system alerts the sales team to valuable customers that will pay more.
- Service Automation: Service automation is automating services for customers. The automation process comes as live chats, chatbots, and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). It is self-service for the customers.
Analytical CRM System
An analytical CRM System is used for data collection, data mining, and producing reports that help make strategic decisions. The use of this system is in its name. It collects, stores, integrates, and processes data for use. The three key features of the Analytical CRM system includes:
- Data Warehousing: Data warehousing is as the name suggests. It collects and stores data from different sources and channels. You have access to all data concerning customer interaction with the company at any departmental level.
- Data Mining: Data Mining is what the CRM software does to bring out insightful reports. You can get information based on customer patterns and trends to improve your sales tactic. It classifies, associates, and finds anomalies to bring about helpful information. An example is asking the software to create a graph showing what products sold the most and the age bracket and location of those who bought them.
- Data Forecasting and Predicting: One of the powerful features of the analytical CRM is forecasting and predicting customer behavior, trends, and outcomes based on historical data, which can become invaluable to the teams.
How To Choose One
In deciding to choose one, you must understand where your company is on the growth spectrum and what goals you intend to achieve in the short and long run.
Most start-ups should opt for the operational CRM, and the reason is that one of the primary goals is to maximize sales. The operational CRM helps to deliver this goal seamlessly. Start-ups will usually not have communication issues, unlike a well-established company, so they will probably not need collaborating software. Although it’s best to adopt CRM as a system, in the beginning, so it doesn’t become a problem as the company expands.
The questions to ask yourself for an operational system are:
Do I want to automate my processes?
Do I want fewer human touches in my business processes?
If the answer is yes for both, then the operational CRM will be a good fit. A good example is SignalHire. It helps capture leads and stores them to contact right away or save and contact at a later date.
This CRM is a good fit if you want to share information across different locations and departments. It is a good fit for larger companies, and a good example is a multinational organization with branches all over the world. Although, it can also be companies with an immense presence in a country and have many locations around. If a company wants to adopt this CRM approach, it should be okay sharing customer information with various departments.
Questions to ask:
Do we want to synchronize our customer information?
Will sharing information improve customer experience across all branches?
This CRM is appropriate for a company with historical and current data available to work with. They are companies with a long history that need the information for informed strategic decisions. They are also relevant to companies who pride themselves on detailed data for their decision-making. The analytical CRM isn’t an easy software to learn but once learned. It is worth the effort and time.
In conclusion, the CRM packages in the market have features that overlap one another, so most of them aren’t one or the other but a light fusion of two or even three CRMs. The most important thing is understanding what the company needs for the period and what type of CRM is suitable for you at the moment.
The truth is all organizations will need all of them at different points, but it’s best to start with the most important ones and scale up as the need arises. Doing this will ensure you maximize your return on investment for the software because you buy when needed and not because it sounds nice.