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The Different Types of CRM and How to Use Them

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The Different Types of CRM and How to Use Them

Your business is growing, and you’re looking to implement a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to replace that old spreadsheet you’ve been using, BUT you’re overwhelmed by so many options! Why are there so many? What’s the difference between them all? Which is the best fit for your business? Read on for the answers to these questions and more.

CRM systems are essential for businesses to manage customer interactions and improve communication. With so many types of general-purpose CRM systems available, it can be overwhelming to determine which one is right for your specific business needs. In this blog, we’ll explore the many different types of CRM systems available.

CRM systems provide a platform to manage customer relationships, track sales activities, improve customer communication, and overall help your business operate smoothly. But, not all CRM systems are created equal. By understanding the different types of CRM systems, you’ll be well-prepared to choose the best and most beneficial one for your business.

## 1. Operational CRM

An operational CRM system is designed to automate sales, marketing, and customer support processes. This type of CRM system focuses on the front end of customer interactions, from lead generation to post-sales support.


### Features and benefits

- Sales automation and lead management

- Marketing automation and campaign management

- Customer service and support management

- Contact management and tracking


### Examples of operational CRM software

- Salesforce

- HubSpot CRM

- Microsoft Dynamics 365


## 2. Analytical CRM

An Analytical CRM system is designed to understand and analyze customer data to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and needs. This type of CRM system focuses on the back end of customer interactions, analyzing data to identify trends and patterns.


### Features and benefits

- Data analysis and segmentation

- Customer behavior tracking and analysis

- Forecasting and trend analysis

- Customer lifetime value calculation


### Examples of analytical CRM software

- Zoho CRM

- SAP CRM

- Oracle CRM


## 3. Collaborative CRM

A Collaborative CRM system is designed to improve collaboration and communication between different departments within a company. This type of CRM system focuses on improving internal communication and collaboration to better serve customers and is usually a good fit for a larger organization.


### Features and benefits

- Shared customer data and communication history

- Collaboration tools and workflows

- Customer service ticketing and escalation management

- Knowledge management and sharing


### Examples of collaborative CRM software

- Freshworks CRM

- Bitrix24

- Nimble


## 4. Strategic CRM

A strategic CRM system is designed to align business strategy with customer needs and preferences. This type of CRM system focuses on long-term customer relationship management, including customer acquisition, retention, expansion, and loyalty.


### Features and benefits

- Customer acquisition and retention strategies

- Relationship management and loyalty programs

- Customer satisfaction measurement and feedback

- Personalized marketing and communication


### Examples of strategic CRM software

- SugarCRM

- Pipedrive

- Insightly


## 5. Customizable CRM

Most CRM systems offer customization to an extent, but there are some that are designed to give businesses the ultimate flexibility to easily tailor the system to their business. This type of CRM system can be customized to fit specific industries, business processes, and workflows.


### Benefits of customization

- Fits unique business needs

- Improves system adoption and usage

- Increases productivity and efficiency

- Enhances [customer satisfaction and loyalty](https://devrev.ai/blog/crm-customer-retention)


### Examples of customizable CRM software


- Creatio

- Salesforce


## 6. Cloud-based CRM

All modern CRM systems are cloud-based and designed to be accessed through your browser rather than installed on a local server. All CRM providers at least have a cloud offering because it’s typically more affordable and easier to deploy and maintain than an on-premise CRM system.


### Features and benefits

- Accessible from anywhere with an internet connection

- Lower upfront costs and predictable pricing

- Easy deployment and maintenance

- Automatic updates and security patches


### Examples of cloud-based CRM software

- Zoho CRM

- Salesforce

- HubSpot CRM


## 7. On-premise CRM

On-premise CRM systems are not a popular choice anymore because they’re installed on a local server and managed by the organization’s IT department. This type of CRM offers more control over data and processes, but requires significant resources for maintenance and upgrades. This option is likely only a good choice for a minority of businesses.


### Features and benefits

- Complete control over data and processes

- Enhanced data security and privacy

- Customizable and scalable

- Better integration with other on-premise systems


### Examples of on-premise CRM software

- Microsoft Dynamics 365

- Sage CRM

- SAP CRM


## Choosing the right CRM system

Now that you understand the difference between CRM offerings, we’ll discuss some of the other factors to consider when choosing and evaluating a CRM system.


### Business needs and goals

It’s important to deeply understand and define your business needs and goals before choosing a CRM. Consider factors such as sales and marketing processes, customer service requirements, and future growth plans.


### Integration with other systems

Consider how the CRM system will integrate marketing automation software, accounting software, and other business tools.


### Customization options

If your business has unique requirements, look for a CRM system that offers sufficient customization options.


## CRM implementation

Implementing a CRM system can be a complex and time-consuming process. Here are some tips for a successful implementation:


### Planning for CRM implementation

Create a detailed plan for CRM implementation that constitutes data migration, customization, and integration with other systems.


### Training employees on the new system

Provide training for employees on the new CRM system to ensure effective usage.


### Customization and integration

Customize and integrate the CRM system to fit your specific business needs.


### Overcoming common challenges

Implementing a CRM system is no easy feat. Here are a few common pitfalls and tips on how to overcome them.


### Resistance to change

Involve employees in the process and communicate the benefits of the new system to best manage change.


### Data quality

Establish data quality standards and provide training to ensure effective data management.


### Integration issues

Evaluate integration capabilities and plan for necessary customizations or integrations.


## Measuring ROI

After investing in a new CRM, it’s essential to measure ROI and ensure you’re getting the value you were looking for. Here are some factors to consider:


### Increased revenue

Increased revenue is one of the primary benefits of implementing a CRM system.


### Improved customer retention

A CRM system can help improve customer retention by providing personalized communication and better customer service.


### Increased productivity and efficiency

A CRM system can streamline business processes and increase productivity and efficiency.


### Tips for maximizing ROI

It’s essential to regularly evaluate and optimize your CRM processes, train new employees on the system, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends, technologies, automation, and integrations.


## Final thoughts

In conclusion, choosing the right CRM system is a crucial decision that needs a lot of research and analysis. It can have a significant impact on your customer relationships and overall business operations. By understanding the different types of CRM systems, implementation challenges, and how to measure ROI, you’re well-armed to make the right decision on which system is best for you.

It's important to carefully evaluate factors such as business goals and needs, integration with other systems, and customization options when selecting a CRM system. Don’t forget to adequately plan for implementation and schedule it at an appropriate time for your business. Implementation should include training employees on the new system and customizing and integrating the system with your existing stack.

Measuring ROI through increased revenue, improved customer retention, and increased productivity and efficiency can help ensure that you are getting the most value from your investment in a CRM system.

When you [choose the right CRM](https://devrev.ai/blog/choose-the-right-crm-software) system, it can provide numerous benefits to your business. That includes efficient customer communication, increased revenue, and higher customer engagement. Armed with the right information, you can now carefully evaluate your business needs, choose the best fit, adequately plan for implementation, and measure ROI to ensure a CRM implementation that takes your business to the next level.

Frequently Asked Questions

The different types of CRM systems include operational, analytical, collaborative, strategic, customizable, cloud-based, and on-premise.

Consider your business needs and goals, integration with other systems, and customization options when choosing a CRM system, and re-read this blog!

Aditi Mishra
Aditi MishraProduct Marketing @ DevRev

Member of Product Marketing Staff