Regardless of your niche and industry of choice, customer management is an essential part of the success of any business endeavor.
These days, most companies that have a large client base do not embark on this process manually. Instead, they use customer relationship management software solutions — CRM. With the importance of these platforms in the contemporary business world, we will take a look at the different types of CRM and their various benefits.
You need to know that different kinds of CRM platforms provide support to your business from a variety of angles. In order to bring the most value to your company, you need to pick the CRM that is the most in line with your objectives.
On the other hand, these software solutions exist to fix concrete problems. So you need to think about what issues your business has in terms of client management and choose a CRM accordingly.
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What Does CRM Entail?
CRM is a software suite that assists with the automation of different menial and repetitive tasks that your employees spend a lot of time on. This allows any company to reach a new level of efficiency. It frees up the time that can be devoted to actual customer satisfaction.
CRM has a rich history in the world of computing. While the practices of client relationship management had existed since the 1970s, the software that would support them and help with task automation first gained popularity in the late 1990s.
So, what does a CRM solution bring in practice? It gives you an easier way to handle your existing customers and attain new ones, instead of spending a lot of energy and resources on manually tracking consumer information and managing different pipelines. A high-quality CRM application has options for iOS and Android apps that allow sales staff to do their work on the go as well.
Furthermore, a CRM is incredibly useful at helping you process and put to use all of the data you collect regarding your consumers.
The days of each sales agent or marketer using their own disparate Excel tables containing various data are long gone. A CRM provides you with a unified data collection that employees can access.
As we have mentioned, there are different kinds of CRM, depending on your needs. Let’s go deeper for knowing them better.
If you need help with the day-to-day management of your customer service, sales, and/or marketing departments, there is nothing better than operational CRM software.
Such platforms are the most often-used CRM platforms. Businesses of all kinds utilize them across all industries. From e-commerce companies to retail brands — everyone can benefit from such a tool.
For instance, marketing automation is a big part of such CRM platforms. They give you options for more precise audience targeting in every part of a sales funnel.
When it comes to lead generation for your sales funnel, most campaigns still make use of email campaigns. With a large target audience, managing such a campaign manually becomes nigh impossible.
That is why operational CRM software often provides trigger-based automation options for email campaigns. It is not all about obtaining new leads — nurturing existing ones is just as important. For that purpose, CRM systems offer options for the automation of salesforce tasks as well.
There is also service automation — with the intent of giving customers a higher level of service. The types of CRM that contain such features can automatically respond to basic customer queries or provide consumers with information via a prerecorded phone helpline, automated text messages, and emails. That is great for freeing up your personnel and allowing them to handle more urgent or complex tasks.
CRM used for analytics are the second most used types of CRM. They are there to allow for easier management of customer retention and acquisition, mostly through data analytics of customer details.
When companies have to process and collect huge data sets to perform audience targeting or other functions, analytical CRM is there to help.
So, there are three primary functions of an analytics-focused CRM platform. First, there is customer acquisition, where the platform helps automate upselling or lead generation.
Secondly, this CRM helps with consumer retention as well — by providing the company with all the data needed to make the customers as happy as possible over the long term.
Data management is an important role that analytical CRM performs — with that type of software, you can easily track the interactions your staff has with customers. These are important insights that can positively impact your firm’s bottom line.
In this day and age, data is incredibly important. The more data you have on your target audience, the better able you will be to predict pain points, patterns, and customer behaviors.
That is great for coming up with detailed sales and marketing strategies for both existing and new customers.
Often enough, a sales funnel is not as effective as it could be. It may need to highlight a problem-solving process for your consumers in a clearer way, or it could use some de-clogging at key points. Some of the types of CRM listed here can be of huge aid in seeing where your sales funnel can be improved.
Benefits of Operational CRM
Now that we have made a short overview of what different types of CRM entail, we will take a look at what their bonuses and features are — starting with operational CRM.
In short, operational CRM is there to give you an all-around look at each piece of communication any single consumer has had with your company. When it comes to relationship management and proper customer interaction, this is obviously crucial.
Primarily, this type of CRM serves to streamline different processes that are a part of your business through automation. At the very least, it streamlines those related to customer servicing, marketing, and sales.
These software solutions are also used for lead generation and conversion. Basically, we’re talking about problem-solving software packages for customer relationship managers in service-oriented companies.
Sales automation is an important feature in operational CRM solutions. This lets you set suitable standards for your service. It also ensures that you are able to constantly obtain new consumers while keeping the old ones.
It allows you to organize customer information in a structured way, helping your staff tend to consumer needs more efficiently. In the long run, this boosts your sales efficiency as well.
In practice, this means that your customers do not have to provide their personal information or subscription details each time that they contact your customer support staff.
Simply by stating basic information (such as their name and last name), your staff will immediately be able to see all the relevant information about that customer.
They will know what kind of service the company is providing to said customer, and what kind of interactions the customer has had with the customer support team in the past.
This allows the staff to deal with the consumer in a more personalized way — raising the bar when it comes to consumer satisfaction.
If the customer has already called to complain about a specific issue before or sent an email or text, your staff member will have all of that information at hand from the first moment they interact with the consumer. The customer will not have to deal with the frustration of repeatedly stating their issue.
We have already mentioned that automation is a big part of this type of CRM. But how does that look in practice? Imagine that your staff is completely overwhelmed with a huge number of phone calls each day.
You do not need to spend a lot of make money to hire a much bigger team that could handle all of the issues at a faster pace. Instead, you can automate some of the interactions with the customers via operational CRM.
Many customers wish to speak to a company representative in order to learn more details about the services which the company provides.
Instead of spending time explaining these services, there are always more urgent issues that your staff could be dealing.
If that’s the case, an operational CRM software solution might have a feature that lets consumers log onto a website with detailed descriptions of the company’s services.
This could save you a lot of time and man-hours, while also giving your customers the information that they need.
Benefits of Analytical CRM
With the understanding of the inner workings of operational CRM solutions in hand — how does analytical CRM help your company?
Unlike the operational variety, this type of CRM does not help your handling of day-to-day customer interactions. Instead, it indirectly helps you devise long-term strategies.
While your consumers interact with your business, there is always data that your company generates in the process. Analytical CRM solutions take that data, store it with the utmost security, and then help analyze and convert it into actionable information. This helps you improve your company’s processes and operations.
Bear in mind that these are massive amounts of data generated from a variety of channels. No single human would be able to process them in a timely manner. That is why these software solutions are useful at providing profound insights from customer metadata.
Analytical CRM solutions don’t help a specific customer support employee during a specific phone call. At least not usually.
Instead, they give the decision-makers at your company a more systematic and better-structured approach to making important calls. The data analyses performed with this type of CRM are particularly useful for smaller businesses that seek to upscale.
This data comes from all kinds of channels — from live conversations and purchase records to phone calls, live chats, and social media. And the CRM collects and processes it, helping you immensely with customer segmentation, trend prediction, and so forth.
In many cases, the most crucial business trends are difficult to spot — even for seasoned professionals in a particular niche.
However, that’s where analytical CRM comes in. This software can be used to process the data from previous sales trends, in concert with the currently active leads, singling out patterns in the behavior of your consumer base.
This helps you predict new trends and processes before they happen, giving you an edge over your competition. For instance, you can see how likely you are to convert a particular segment of your wider target audience in the near future.
Such a prediction would be founded on a variety of factors. Some of them include the time they have spent browsing products or services in the past, and how the current time of the year affects their purchasing habits.
As you might have assumed, truly high-quality analytical CRM solutions make use of cutting-edge digital technologies, such as machine learning algorithms.
These are highly useful at refining and processing customer data — providing the end-user with the most useful information with minimal manual effort.
The data analytics performed by this type of CRM are of major use when it comes to customer satisfaction as well. You can utilize it to analyze all sorts of customer information from all available channels and create universal customer profiles.
These can contain every piece of information about the customer that is useful to your company — from their geographic location and other demographic info to their personal preferences.
Having such detailed information about your consumers gives immense benefits when creating new business strategies.
While you plan for the engagement of new leads, as well as their conversion and retention — knowing everything there is to know about existing consumers is always a great benefit.
Optimization of Marketing Campaigns
Another highly useful feature of analytical CRM software is how useful it is when it comes to planning marketing campaigns. When you are not acting on a well-informed opinion, it can be easy to misplace resources and waste funds in your budget. Instead, analytical CRM will help you rationalize your efforts in the marketing sphere.
By processing sales and conversion data and providing clear information, you will know which of your previous campaigns have worked and in what ways. In the end, this means you will be able to plan ahead without wasting human resources, money, or anyone’s time.
The vast amounts of data processed by analytical CRM solutions serve to improve the efficiency of predictive sales and marketing models. Business intelligence solutions, coupled with Big Data, can be used to predict consumer behavior to an impressive degree.
Having the ability to perform in-depth monitoring of sales activity gives you an incredibly useful feedback for refining your processes in sales later on.
Analytical CRM lets you have a quick overview of the performance of your individual sales representatives, as well as their actions across each task. That way, you can delegate the necessary tasks more efficiently.
The underlying processes essential to the satisfactory performance of analytical CRM are data mining and data warehousing.
Among the two, the latter entails all of your customer and company data being securely kept in a single place that’s easy for appropriate company employees to access.
This includes everything from feedback forms to invoices and other billing information. Consumer data included a wide range of disparate databases. An analytical CRM solution unifies these into one easily accessible set of information.
On the other hand, data mining is there to process this metadata and discover usable patterns among them. This is the core of analytical CRM — the part that saves you the trouble of processing data “on foot” on your own, saving thousands of hours of work.
Analytical CRM solutions also often utilize OLAP — online analytical processing. This is the process of using disparate datasets on one platform.
When it comes to decision-making in real time, OLAP is used both to aggregate metadata and to pinpoint the smallest details of the information you possess.
For a company to function at its utmost capacity for efficiency, features from both analytical and operational custom CRM solutions are needed.
The two are not mutually exclusive — though there are all-encompassing CRM packages out there that contain features applicable to both.
Suffice it to say that operational CRM helps in the day-to-day management of huge customer support systems. In terms of logistics, it’s more “tactical” of the two.
Conversely, analytical CRM does not approach the front end of customer relations. It is more concerned with the long-term implications and conclusions that can be derived from current and past sets of customer data.