Operational CRM Software

Monday, February 18, 2019
Christopher Sirk
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CRM.ORG is a knowledge hub for all things work: digital tools, customer service relationship software, and other innovative methodologies for exploring work-related relationships. In “What is a CRM?”, we break down the meaning of the three-letter monster that is CRM and explore the history, benefits, and features of the customer relationship software.  
 

Operational customer relationship management software is the most common variety. Truth be told, “operational” really is a catch-all term, and there’s a lot of differences across CRMs in this category.

Generally speaking, it just means software that focuses on streamlining customer interactions with sales, marketing, and service automation.

The idea is to generate leads, then convert them into customers and contacts.

Benefits of Operational CRM

The reason businesses use this software is that it invariably brings two concrete benefits: more sales and more loyal customers.

A CRM system takes the edge off customer-facing interactions with easy access to relevant data. Your service becomes more fluid and effective, and your business is made more agile as key information is put at the fingertips of all relevant team members. Instead of flipping back and forth between a bunch of spreadsheets and forwarded emails, you can run your customer relationships out of one box.

Supported by customer data and a productivity-boosting user interface, all business processes are coaxed towards better practice. Existing customer are retained, and higher conversions on new leads are obtained.

It’s enough to make you leave behind your cluttered but comfy Google Drive, and embrace a slicker, more lucrative future.

Components of Operational CRM

Marketing automation interprets data and helps develop offers that are tailored to specific clients. When a customer fills out an online contact form, spends time on a specific website section, or leaves a blog comment, that information goes into an organized database.

When someone gets in touch asking for information about a certain item, marketing automation can automatically start targeting them with relevant ads.

Timing is everything, but it’s hard to communicate with clients at just the right moment, in just the right way every time.

Things have gotten easier, however, with the advent of event-based (trigger) marketing, which allows you to send out accurately targeted, personalized emails to customers and would-be customers. Trigger marketing is a proven way of boosting sales and building brand awareness and brings the additional benefit of freeing up time and brainpower for more creative work.

Meanwhile, people are increasingly picky, and these days they want complex things to be spelled out simply as fast as possible. Product configuration lets you do that, by offering customers the ability to choose the specific product type and options they want in the course of a sales interaction. Anticipating customer requests and speeding up the sales process makes your company look very chivalrous indeed.

Sales force automation helps your team’s daily hustle by sorting information and improving workflow.

Quotation management lets you generate quick quotes and keep track of those already in play.

Lead management and contact management give you easy access to information on who’s who in relation to your business, and who they’re connected to in general.  

Opportunity management lets you see when potential sales develop, giving you time to respond and capitalize. Proposal management keeps track of projects and quotes, letters, contracts, and, well, whatever else can be called proposals. Accounts management lets you keep track of specific client information in one location, with activity, pending deals, and associated contacts, as well as payments.

Some operational CRMs to check out

 

Nextiva

Nextiva’s Service CRM offers the usual features and more, comprising all customer touchpoints and bundling in survey tools and workflow automation. Its real-time analytical CRM features let you stick multi-channel data into a single visual dashboard, do keyword analysis, and craft custom reports.

One unique feature is the internal chat, which lets reps chat with each other while simultaneously dealing with customers, meaning you’ll be able to bring in additional expertise when needed.

It’s priced from $10 a month, so very much within the realm of affordability.

You can also make use of Nextiva’s Service CRM as part of the full-stack NextOS platform, which bundles CRM, chat, telephony, analytical, and survey features into one comprehensive package. Built to please customers, it provides the means to align your team, keep customers happy, and make sense of all that data your business is accumulating every day.

NextOS is available from $35 a month.

 

Salesforce

It’s probably not possible to exaggerate just how massive Salesforce’s presence in the CRM market is. Their software is almost ubiquitous among larger companies, but it’s increasingly designed to appeal to small or midsize businesses too.

Salesforce’s CRM has a lot of powerful features, foremost among them being sales forecasting, reporting, automating tasks, and collecting and documenting sales leads. It’s all designed to let you run day-to-day operations more efficiently and effectively, reducing time and expenses on marketing and campaign management, and general business management writ large.

These days they’ve added AI to their arsenal of customer solutions too, with Einstein offering predictions and analytics tailored to your specific business operations.

The new Lightning platform is an industry game-changer, offering a cleaner and quicker component-based user interface with drag-and-drop features and endless customization.

Access to a free online training center definitely makes Salesforce very approachable. Called Trailhead, it takes the form of an outdoorsy quest with cute little fuzzy characters, gently coaxing you onward to glory.

Their CRM is priced from $25 per user per month.

 

Less Annoying CRM

What’s in a name? Well, Less Annoying CRM certainly puts it all out there in terms of what they hope to accomplish.

They target small enterprises who have traditionally struggled to adopt complicated CRM products and pay for them, offering basic features on the cheap with a get-it-and-go, super light learning curve.

The developer’s goal is to help small businesses succeed by offering simple yet effective management tools, as well as customer service and customer supporting features. Users can keep track of sales, customer data, and routine business processes without getting lost in extraneous features.

User interface is very simple, clean, and functional. It has all the lead tracking, collaboration tools, and follow-up reminder features you’d need. Basic reporting is included as well.

Pricing is delightfully simple. There’s a 30-day free trial, after that it’s $10 per user per month.

 

Propeller

Propeller CRM lets you stick an operational CRM in your inbox, integrating with Gmail as a Chrome Extension.  

One of the platform’s major selling points is its customizability. You can build multiple sales pipelines for different products, markets, and processes. Craft customizable columns, attributes, and sales stages, and generate email templates for follow-ups and responses to info requests.

They offer a lot of handy team-based features too, like a full view of your sales activity, tracking tasks and processes, and assigning follow-ups.

Zapier integration brings with it a connection to over 1,000 other useful apps. A full-fledged REST API helps to seamlessly send your data wherever you need it to go.

Propeller comes in a one-package-to-rule-them-all price of $35 per month/per user, all features included.

 

You may also be interested in Collaborative CRM.

Or, go back to our homepage.

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