Operational CRM 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, but 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.
The reason businesses use this software is that it invariably brings two concrete benefits: more sales and more loyal customers. It takes the edge off customer-facing interactions with easy access to relevant data, so they’re more fluid and effective, and makes your business more agile by putting key information 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.
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.
The benefits of CRM products in this very broad category are legion. Supported by data and a productivity-boosting user interface, business operations are coaxed towards best practice. Try one, you may just want to leave behind your cluttered but comfy Google Drive and embrace a slicker, more lucrative future.