A Comprehensive Guide to Buying An Operational CRM


Kiran Bajpai

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: July 5, 2021

CRMs are one of the best means of maintaining relationships with your customers. They can help you boost sales, enhance customer experience, and grow your business significantly.

Through this post, we aim to highlight operational CRM; it’s benefits, and how it can help you scale your business. If you’re excited, let’s get going.

Operational CRM Definition

The Operational CRM system is primarily designed to help businesses streamline sales, marketing, and customer service functions. It can significantly enhance your business efficiency by automating your mundane tasks.

Operational CRMs are the best means to connect your employees with prospects. They enable businesses to measure, analyze, and tailor the customer journey in real-time.

Above all, an operational Customer Relationship Management system is used to generate leads, and then convert them into customers and contacts.

How Operational CRM Works?

Now that we know what an operational CRM is, let’s quickly understand how it works to support your business and customers:

Operational CRMs generally come as cloud-based software. This means you get to access all its data from anywhere through the internet. They provide your employees with a platform to interact with the customers.

Looking for CRM Software? Check out SoftwareSuggest’s list of the best CRM Software solutions.

Not just that, you will be able to organize teams and set their priorities based on your goals. You can also set restrictions such that only a few people can access your sensitive data such as sales reports, profit margins, and so on.

Operational CRMs also allow you to integrate various third-party applications, including social media, emails, and other similar tools, to ensure your data remains centralized throughout your organization.

When all your information flows through a single platform, processing data becomes easier than ever before. This way, you won’t have to switch between ten different applications for managing your business.

Main Components of Operational CRM

Operational CRMs are built to automate and simplify a few of your most intricate business processes. They can generate leads, convert them into contacts, and provide businesses with the infrastructure they need to serve their customers.

Generally, operational CRMs automate three primary areas of a business: marketing, sales, and customer service. Let’s look at each of these components individually.


You can streamline your company’s marketing efforts with operational CRM. It will analyze your customer data to help you make informed decisions and create promotional campaigns tailored to your audience. 

Here, an event-based marketing strategy is deployed to offer personalized customer service. For instance, if a customer calls support after surfing shoes, he is more likely to inquire about it. In this case, the CRM will automatically recommend relevant information to help the customer and support team.


Sales automation helps businesses automate and streamline their sales processes, empowering your team to spend more time onboarding customers. It generally includes processes like enabling prospects to schedule their appointments with sales reps, sending emails to individual leads, maintaining sales call log, and so on.

Several operational CRMs can help sales reps by automating lead rotation, creating  promotional offers, and delegating contacts to your team. That’s not all. A CRM can also generate advanced sales reports for better visibility and simpler lead prioritization.

Customer Service

Customer service is one of the most important pieces of operational CRM. It will help you serve your customers by delivering exceptional support.

A customer service automation module helps your sales reps set a framework for one-on-one correspondence. This could include providing customers a demo of your product or training them to make the most of your services.

Service automation can be done through various mediums such as ticketing systems or live chat. Ultimately, the aim is to provide customers an engaging experience.

Differences Between CRMs

There are three different types of CRM software systems: operational, analytical, and collaborative CRM. Depending on your needs, you can pick one that suits you best. Let’s quickly understand how they stand out.

Operational CRM

Operational CRMs are built to help you manage your customers. It can enhance all your customer interactions, be it providing support or sending promotional email campaigns.

An operational CRM is ideal for representatives working in customer service and sales or marketing teams. It will allow them to handle customers and their queries seamlessly.

Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM can help you make informed decisions by analyzing data coming from various touchpoints. The data will help you understand where your business stands and what actions can be taken to drive it profitably. That’s not all; it can also help you determine the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and optimize them so that they get measurable results.

A few of the main functions of an analytical CRM include customer acquisition, retention, and data management. All the modules work together to help you maximize conversions, retain existing customers, and segregate data to make crucial business decisions.

Collaborative CRM

This type of CRM helps you to share information throughout the organization. For instance, if your support team is collecting feedback from your customers, they can share it with the product and marketing team by using a collaborative CRM. The primary objective of this CRM is to unify all the information of your business and share it across all the independent teams so they can work collaboratively to enhance the overall customer experience.

By connecting all your departments through collective data, you can maximize conversions, increase up and cross-sell, and deliver a personalized experience to your customers. For instance, when you know your customers’ search history, you can reward them by offering discounts on the products they may be considering to purchase.

How Can Operational CRM Help?

An operational CRM can bridge the gap between you and your customers by unifying all your business processes through a single interface. Whether you’re a tech company or a BPO, a CRM can significantly boost customer engagement and satisfaction.

Let’s say you run an eCommerce business. Here, an operational CRM system can help you deliver personalized shopping experience by segregating your customers’ information such that it contributes to your marketing efforts and allows your sales team to deliver exceptional support.

Benefits of an Operational CRM

An operational CRM can go a long way in bringing new customers and retaining existing ones through strategic campaigns. Let’s quickly have a look at the top 5 benefits of an operational CRM:

1. Optimize your Marketing Campaigns

One of the most natural benefits of an operational CRM is that it enables you to have a closer relationship with your customers which includes understanding their preferences, and getting a clearer idea of their interests. 

Once you know your prospects well enough, converting them into potential customers becomes easier than ever before. The CRM will help you bifurcate your customers into three main categories; viz. customers who are going to invest in your product/services, the ones who are likely to invest, and those who may never consider your offerings.

Having a clear understanding of your customer base will help you direct your marketing efforts in a way that you get maximum returns. You can refine your approach accordingly to target your ideal prospects.

2. Enhance Internal Communication

It goes without saying that improving your internal communication can significantly boost your overall productivity and efficiency. An operational CRM can do exactly that. It can allow your employees to collaborate by helping them share data seamlessly.

When all your employees can access data from a single repository, they can work mutually to drive business and increase customer satisfaction. The analytical CRM system also allows you to set role-based restrictions on data accessibility. This means you never have to worry about your data falling into the wrong hands. Only the users you allow will be able to access the data.

3. Maximize Cross-selling and Upselling

Knowing your customers’ likes and dislikes can help you showcase personalized recommendations. This increases the chances of upselling and cross-selling products that your customers are most likely to buy. An operational CRM will keep track of all your customers’ activities on your website. The data can be further used to promote your products based on customer’s preferences.

As surprising it may sound, 35% of total revenues on Amazon come from cross-selling and recommendations. That’s not all. Several studies have also proved that shoppers who landed on a product through recommendations are 4.5 times more likely to purchase those products. Thus, if you’re not harnessing the power of upselling and cross-selling, now is the right time to get started. An operational CRM system can help you capitalize on such opportunities.

4. Enhance Customer Satisfaction

CRM can help you enhance your customer value and satisfaction significantly. Customers don’t like to wait in long queues to resolve their queries. They would instead prefer to find an answer themselves through a self-service portal. Through an operational CRM, you can create a well-organized repository of frequently asked questions to help your customers with their queries.

That’s not all. A good CRM will also help you to use the data for your customers. For instance, if a customer is not happy with a particular product, you can show them other similar products instead of that. Better customer satisfaction means increased loyalty and more business.

5. Gain Actionable Insights

CRM is a place where all your company’s data is stored. This means you can get a bird’s eye view of your entire business through a single dashboard. Ultimately, it will enable you to make informed decisions that are in favor of your business.

CRM can tell you everything about your business, starting from your customer base to overall yearly revenues. That’s not all; it will eliminate the guesswork involved in decision making and provide you with an accurate framework to make better business decisions.

Operational CRM and Sales Automation

Your sales activities and CRM system can go hand in hand. Let’s reimagine your sales reps’ normal workday. He got a prospect from his marketing initiatives. Now, the moment he enters the prospect’s details to the CRM, he will be able to determine whether he/she is an existing customer or a new one.

For instance, if the prospect is an existing customer, the salesperson will try to upsell him a product or service more expensive than his current one. However, if the prospect is a new customer, the salesperson will try to cross-sell him relevant products based on his purchase.

Operational CRM and Marketing Automation

CRMs can interpret data and translate it into insights that can help you drive sales. Through the insights gained from customer interactions, the CRM can create an environment where your prospects are most likely to convert. This way, a CRM can help you drive more sales by automating your marketing.

Implementing marketing automation will help your team increase the overall conversions and maximize revenues.

Selecting the Right Operational CRM Solution

Picking perfect CRM is vital to your business growth. Now that you know pretty much everything about an operational CRM, it’s time to choose a CRM tailored to your needs. To help you get started, we’ve prepared a list of top 5 operational CRM examples. Let’s look at them one by one.

1. Salesforce

One of the top-selling operational CRMs, Salesforce, truly stands out for the exceptional features it offers. It is easy to work with and can connect you and your entire team with the customers from any device. Being a cloud-based CRM, it doesn’t require you to set-up anything whatsoever. You can simply get started by logging into your account.

Salesforce CRM comes with all the necessary tools to empower you to build meaningful relationships with your customers. It will help you understand their requirements, identify and address problems, and enhance every customer interaction.

Salesforce Operational CRM

2. HubSpot CRM

HubSpot CRM gives you full visibility of your business sales pipeline in real-time through an intuitive interface. It enables you to generate detailed reports on everything ranging from sales activities to your employees’ performance.

You can get started with HubSpot for free. It allows you to add unlimited users, data, and 1,000,000 contacts with no time limit or expiration date.

HubSpot operational crm

3. Agile CRM

Being an all-in-one CRM, Agile can help you streamline all your business areas, including sales, marketing, and customer service. Agile CRM is a cloud-based CRM and can be accessed from anywhere with the internet. Starting from marketing automation to delivering great customer service, this CRM will enable you to convert customers into your brand ambassadors.

Agile operational crm

4. Zoho CRM

Whether you are just starting out or a billion-dollar enterprise, Zoho can be a perfect customer lifecycle management solution for you. It will help you manage a few of the most intricate business processes like sales, marketing, and inventory.

Getting started with Zoho is absolutely free. You can always scale up with its paid plan, which starts from just $15 a month. It is supported by native iOS, Android, Windows, cloud, web, and SaaS platforms.

Zoho Operational CRM

5. PipeDrive

Pipedrive offers a wide range of features to help you prioritize deals, track performance, and predict revenue. Used by over 90,000 companies in 179 countries, it is certainly one of the leading CRM that will enable you to serve your customers well.

PipeDrive operational crm

Wrapping it Up

An operational CRM can go a long way in helping you drive more business by automating your business processes. Whether you’re a huge enterprise or just starting, investing in an operational CRM can be very rewarding. A robust CRM will help you convert, engage, and retain customers. If you’re looking for a CRM tailored to your needs, give us a shout and let our experienced consultants help you.

Kiran Bajpai is Marketing Associate at SoftwareSuggest. Her expertise lies in Software Analysis. She can never get bored of reading books, especially those related to History and Politics.

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