CRM system: definition, purpose, types and setup tips

Why do you need a CRM system?

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is a system for managing customer-brand relations, automating sales processes, building customer bases and building communication with clients in proper way. CRM eases the business operations and makes them less effortful, because of automating routine tasks. For instance, managers don’t have to keep in mind when to call the client – the system will remind them. CRM system also eliminates the risk of making a mistakes due to inattention and allows more time to perform other duties.

CRM systems are needed for any kind of business, especially for e-commerce. System will help to save all leads, because it tracks the communication history with all clients. Based on this data, you can get detailed reports in other tools – call center software, for example. It allows to find out the sales performance, employees productivity, and many more. It would take a year to tell you all about capabilities of modern solutions, but let’s discuss it briefly:

  • system can collect customer base, creating customer profiles
  • system can save the communication and interaction history with clients
  • system can gater communication channels in one interface
  • system can send email and SMS mass mailings
  • system can control deadlines
  • system can analyze performance metrics
  • system can improve the speed of order processing
  • system can improve customer loyalty
  • system can improve customer service quality
  • system can take on some managers’ responsibilities
  • system can be integrated with other systems

What types of CRM exist

Operational CRM

Operational CRMs are systems that solve customer interaction tasks. The program collects information about users, organizes it and provides it to employees in a convenient form. Operational CRM records any contact the client has with the company and monitors its movement through the sales funnel. The system automates assignment of tasks, invoicing, sending SMS messages and other processes.

Even if you have a small business, an ordinary operational CRM will bring the quality of service to a new level. For example, you will be contacted by a buyer who placed an order several months ago. As soon as an incoming call comes from a familiar number, the CRM will immediately show: the customer’s name, his past order and the data that was collected earlier. You cannot implement such a database in Google Sheets or Excel.

Analytical CRM

Analytical CRMs are systems that collect information about customers and use it to build reports or forecasts. With their help, you will learn how successful your sales are, what is the profitability of promotion and what needs to be done to increase income. The system will statistically tell about customer behavior and point out weak points in the sales funnel.

Analytical CRM helps to optimize both the sales process and the company’s internal mechanisms. You will learn how your managers process applications. Maybe they don’t call customers fast enough or make other mistakes in their work. In addition, the system will help determine the company’s priorities. Analytical CRM will segment the customer base and identify the most loyal audience. Then you will make them the target of marketing activities and increase sales.

Collaborative CRM

Collaborative CRMs are systems for internal exchange of customer information. This type of CRM is rare because it is needed by companies with many autonomous departments and branches, for example, in banks. The system stores a single customer profile that can be supplemented and changed by managers from different parts of the company. Usually, the functions of collaborative CRM are performed by other types of systems or they are developed personally.

Combined CRM

Combined CRMs are systems that perform the functions of several types of CRM at once. Most often, it is a mixture of operational and analytical systems. Such programs allow you to maintain a detailed client base and build simple reports on it without in-depth analysis.

How to choose a CRM

In addition to varieties, CRMs have other features that need to be considered. If you work in a specific niche, for example, the hotel and restaurant business, then the program should have a special set of functions. Look for niche systems that take into account the specifics of your field. And for standard business, such as online stores, universal CRMs are suitable.

If you have a large business with your inquiries, you should consider building a CRM from scratch. The developers will implement the system taking into account your wishes and you will receive a unique product. This approach is expensive, so it’s important to understand how appropriate it is for you. Most companies choose ready-made solutions – they are much cheaper, solve almost any task and do not require modifications.

Decide which way you will start CRM. The most popular option is a SaaS system, when all information is stored on the developer’s servers and you need to pay a subscription fee. Cloud products are convenient in that employees can use them anywhere there is an Internet connection, and a browser is required to log into the system. An alternative to the cloud is box solutions. In this case, a program is purchased that is installed on employees’ computers and deployed on its server.

Choosing a CRM: some tips

  1. Ease of setup and configuration. If you want to set up a CRM system on your own, choose the one with intuitive interface. Ask the customer support some questions to check how fast are they in answering your inquiries
  2. Integration capabilities. CRM system has to be integrative with other tools you use for business – bulk email services, virtual PBX systems, etc. Choose the CRM with API. 
  3. Features. Don’t think of current needs only, think of scaling up needs too. This increases the requirements list. Don’t choose the CRM that won’t meet your needs after a year of use. 
  4. Price. Look at capabilities first. CRM system will pay off the investment, and trying to save on a system with limited capabilities will do nothing. The choice in the market is so large that you will be able to find
  5. Updates. E-commerce is fastly developing niche. Learn about how often are updates dropped. Also check the real reviews. 

There are numerous good CRM offers, but don’t choose the first one you see. When you’ll do a little research, you will understand what you reall need. Ask for demo to try the system personally. When you are ready with choice, buy it. 

How to implement CRM

  1. Install a CRM system.
  2. Integrate CRM with your own site.
  3. Prepare product feed and customer data for upload. Import this information into CRM.
  4. Set up your CRM. Build a sales funnel, create basic report templates and connect the necessary integrations.
  5. Test the system.
  6. Train employees to work with CRM.
  7. Put CRM into operation and optimize processes if deficiencies are found.


CRMs create a foundation for quality customer service and proper organization of work. As a result, you will increase user loyalty and your sales will increase. A competent customer base, analytical reports and other CRM functions will open up new opportunities for business. Work will become more convenient and easier thanks to the automation of processes. Don’t procrastinate with CRM, even if you’re just starting out. Do not expect to get by with ordinary tables – immediately get used to the correct management of affairs together with CRM.