Choosing a CRM for your Business? Understand the Types and Benefits

Author: Keystone Click Team

You may have heard the acronym “CRM” before, but do you really know what a CRM does and how it can benefit your business? Simply put, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management, a technology for managing all your company’s relationships and interactions with current and future customers. The goal of a CRM is to improve business relationships to grow your own business and CRMs help companies stay connected to their contacts, automate their marketing or sales processes, and improve profits. Understanding the benefits and types of CRMs will help you choose one that is right for your business.

Features of CRMs and how they will benefit your business

The features of CRMs are meant to aid you in managing customer relationships across the entire customer lifecycle — and can be used for marketing, sales, digital commerce, and customer service. Let’s take a look at the most beneficial features for your business.

Contact management:

CRMs allow you to store contact information such as a name, address, email, phone number, company name, and much more. In addition, it allows you to utilize interaction tracking. You can add notes to contacts and track the life of contacts in terms of what emails they have viewed, any offers they have signed up for from your company, or if they have scheduled a phone call or meeting with you. This allows you to manage your leads much more effectively through lead scoring, which you can utilize to better identify your most promising prospects.

Pipeline Management:

When you identify a contact that you believe is a lead, CRMs allow you to create pipelines where you can organize your leads. If you have multiple offerings, you’re able to create multiple pipelines that allow you to better organize and keep track of your leads. Within each specific pipeline, CRMs allow you to create stages for the lead. For example, here are some of the stages we use within our own pipelines:

  • Identified
  • Initial contact
  • Proposal Scheduled
  • Proposal Presented
  • Won/Lost

You can organize the stages in your pipeline in whatever way is easiest for you, and lead stages can easily be changed with a click of a button.

Workflow automation:

Workflows can be used in many different ways. Simply put, a workflow is just a series of automated actions that trigger based on the behaviors of a lead. Examples of triggers can include:

  • Lead visits an email
  • Lead has a certain lead score
  • Lead visits a certain landing page
  • Lead is in a certain stage within your opportunity pipeline
  • Lead fills out a form

Those are just a few examples of many types of triggers that can be used to trigger a workflow. Workflows can be used for many different purposes, including marketing campaigns, sales drip campaigns, or changing the lead stage of a contact if they have completed a certain action.


Many CRMs will offer reporting or analytical features that can be used to generate data. CRMs can generate reports on anything from emails, sales figures, page visits, and much more. These allow businesses to observe which campaigns are the most effective as well as to make edits to campaigns that aren’t performing as well.

Types of CRMs

Did you know there are actually 3 main types of CRMs? Each type of CRM will put a bit more emphasis on a specific feature and less emphasis on others.

Operational CRMs:

Operational CRMs are focused on operations surrounding customers. The main 3 areas an Operational CRMs covers are sales, marketing, and service. Consequently, it is the most all-encompassing type of CRM. One key feature available within an Operational CRM is sales automation, which includes distributing leads to sales representatives as well as giving them insight on which leads to pursue via lead scoring. Operational CRMs also feature many of the marketing automation tools such as visual workflows. Operational CRMs are good options for pretty much any type of business as it has aspects of the other two main types of CRMs. Due to its heavy focus on sales, marketing, and service, an Operational CRM would be most beneficial for a company with a heavy customer focus.

Analytical CRMs:

Analytical CRMs function exactly as the name suggests. They serve as warehouses for data where you can integrate and store data from multiple sources. From the data warehouse comes data mining, which is the process where the raw data run in reports is turned into useful insights. Analytical CRMs also offer Online Analytical Processing — OLAP for short. OLAP is a technology for data discovery that has capabilities for unlimited report viewing, analytical calculations, as well as forecast and budget predictions. Analytical CRMs would best benefit a company that has a plethora of historical data to shift through and would like to use the data to make informed decisions when building their business plan.

Collaborative CRMs:

The goal of a Collaborative CRM is to maximize the efficiency of communication and collaboration across your team in order to provide better service for your customers. A Collaborative CRM accomplishes this internally by giving their entire team access to critical information. There are two main features of Collaborative CRMs with the first being Interaction Management, which allows businesses to contact groups based on various criteria and map behaviors to improve interactions. The second is Channel Management which is to identify your customers’ preferred channels. Collaborative CRMs can improve cross-team communication, data-driven interactions with customers, and support for customers on their channel of choice which will allow businesses to craft their messaging based on customers’ pain points. A collaborative CRM will best benefit companies that are heavily dependent on cross-department communication as well as those that need to track customers across multiple channels, especially digitally.

Have any questions regarding CRMs features and how to pick the right CRM for your business? Contact us, and we would be happy to help!