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What is Operational CRM?

Operational CRM is a system that offers marketing and sales professionals the ability to reach out to clients in real-time. 

This type of software streamlines customer experience management, providing everything from data collection tools for new customers all the way up to loyalty programs for repeat ones. Ensuring your clients are happy with their interactions with you is just one of the many benefits of this type of system. 

A blog post about how operational CRM can help your business make more money!

What is operational CRM?

Operational CRM is software that focuses on streamlining customer interactions with sales and marketing. Operational CRM also provides service automation, in other words, the ability to handle tasks more efficiently and with fewer steps (i.e. less work).

Operational customer relationship management software is the most common variety. But, truth be told, “operational” is a catch-all term, and there are many differences across CRMs in this category.

Behind everything, the idea is to generate leads, then convert them into customers and contacts.

How does operational CRM work?

So now we know what operational CRM is, but how does it work to fulfill its customer-facing and customer-supporting roles? 

To begin with the basics: this type of platform (like most CRM software) is generally cloud-based, software as a service (SaaS). This allows you to access all your business data and participate in business processes from any device you are using (mobile apps are now a standard issue for most vendors). 

Proprietary, or on-site CRM solutions, are also available if you prefer to host all your data within your business’s servers. 

Operational CRM provides an interface for your team to interact with one another and your team in customer-facing roles to interact with external parties in-app. You can organize groups and set tasks to increase visibility and organizational transparency. 

Most operational CRM allows you to set privacy permissions on viewing specific, sensitive data on sales reports, meeting notes, and so on. Integrations with social media, email clients like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook, and other digital tools allow data to flow into the centralized platform. 

When all your information flows into the same source and is processed in-house, everything gets faster, more accurate, and generally just…better. 

You can eliminate skipping between different digital tools, email clients, and websites, shooting off emails to co-workers, and so on.

What are the objectives of operational CRM?

Operational CRM is mainly concerned with the processes that businesses can leverage to ensure customer satisfaction and retention. 

It also serves as a solution for high customer support costs.

Here are the objectives of operational CRM:

  • Automation of processes helps implement best practices and cut down costs while driving revenue.
  • Enhancement of processes empowers businesses to offer a superior customer experience without spending a fortune. This leads to a higher return on investment for businesses.

Functions of an operational CRM

There are four main CRM applications and operational functions that this term is concerned with: marketing, sales, customer service, and analytics.


Marketing’s goal is to identify new customers and make initial contact, which will give the sales team a leg up when trying to secure that customer.

Through operational CRM, businesses can prospect and handle leads management more efficiently, building a more tailored sales leads list with a higher chance of success. Companies can also cut marketing costs by being more efficient with advertising and reaching more of their target market while spending less.

A screenshot of Insightly’s marketing dashboard.

Insightly’s marketing dashboard allows users to visualize all marketing activities. Source: Insightly.


Sales involve your salespeople contacting potential customers to get them to purchase your product or service. Use operational CRM to improve how your team identifies prospects, how they move them through the sales funnel, and how they close.

Businesses can use automation to cut down on manual data entry to increase the number of customers contacted, and therefore the total sales.

Customer service

Customer service is the part of your business that responds to customer inquiries, fields complaints, and generally ensures the customer has a good experience with your product or service.

Businesses can improve their processes and cut down on wasted time, for instance, with a customer who contacts the wrong department and must be re-routed.


The analytics function involves diving deep into customer data to identify trends and better understand customer behaviors. Using this information, businesses can change their processes or alter their products to better cater to customers or expand their customer base.

Businesses can improve analytics through operational CRM by automating data collection and report generation.

Operational CRM

Operational CRM is mainly focused on automation, improvement, and enhancement of business processes based on customer-facing or customer support. 

Therefore, the primary importance of a CRM system lies in how the selling, marketing, and service-oriented operations are automated and for which operational CRM systems are embedded with the following major automation applications:

Marketing automation

As the name implies, marketing automation is focused on automating marketing processes. In marketing, campaign management involves marketers using customer-specific information to determine, evaluate, and develop communications targeted to customers in individual and multilevel or multi-channel environments. 

Campaigns designed to communicate with customers individually are easy and involves unique and direct communications. However, for a multichannel environment, marketing strategies and campaign management are pretty tricky and challenging. 

For example, some retailers have multichannel transactions like shops or stores, wholesale stores, websites, home shopping, and even television shopping. Here integration and implementation of communication strategy are complicated, and evaluation of performance and quality of campaigns needs to be automated. Moreover, it should be technologically sound across each of the channels. For handling this, a CRM marketing strategy called event-based marketing is inherited. 

Using event-based marketing communication and offers are presented to customers as and when they are required. For example, a credit card customer calls the call center for inquiring about the current interest rates. 

This indicates that the customer is specific about the interest rates and is trying to compare the interest rates and may switch to a different competitor to find special deals which suit him. Without wasting time, the automated CRM system pops up an event of offer which is best suited for that customer and helps to retain him back.

Sales-force Automation

CRM Sales Force Automation

A CRM system is used to deal with the existing customers and is also helpful in acquiring new customers. The process first starts with identifying a customer and maintaining all the corresponding details in the CRM system. 

This process can be distributed into many stages, including generating the lead and then qualifying those leads as prospects. 

The Sales and Field representatives then try getting business out of these customers by sophistically following up with them and converting them into a winning deal. Automation of selling process is efficiently handled by Sales-force automation which automates all the methodologies or sales cycle and above-described process sophisticatedly.

Service Automation

Service automation deals with managing an organization’s service. The actual interactions with customers, such as contact, direct sales, direct mail, call centers, data aggregation systems, websites, and blogs, etc., are examples of operational CRM. Each interaction with a customer can be collected to the client database, generally known as ‘customer’s history, and the information can later be used wherever necessary. 

Anyone in the organization can have access to this information about a customer, which gives a clear view of customers’ needs and essential information on the customer such as products owned, initial support calls, etc. It naturally eliminates the need to obtain this information individually from the customer. Instead, based on the information, if required, the customer can easily be contacted at the right time at the right place.

Operational V/s Analytical CRM

We understand that the basic definition could get some people into confusing operational CRM for analytical CRM. However, these two CRMs have very different features and Modus Operandi. 

The main difference between Operational and Analytical CRMs is their respective uses and objectives—the reason behind a product cut. 

A typical operation CRM makes processes smoother and more efficient. With this type of CRM, you achieve more but with fewer steps.

Generally speaking, this CRM streamlines customer interactions with sales and marketing. However, this CRM is also about service automation- the art and science of efficiency.

The fundamental objective of this CRM is ultimately to drive leads and then sales.

However, you could think of Operational CRM as a more intuitive and robust platform to draw a comparison with Analytical CRM. 

Analytical CRM provides the data to the decision-makers. It is the cornerstone of all business processes. Without this crucial information, your sales and marketing people won’t know much about their customers.

Analytical CRM splices the data of the organization and arrives at meaningful information. It works in the background and is all the time supplying helpful information to decision-makers.

Therefore, while operational CRM works in the forefront, analytical CRM runs in the background. Thus, while analytical CRM is essential for data finding and extraction, we only focus on operational CRM in this article.

To understand what makes this type of CRM omnipotent, let us consider what makes it come to life. 

Benefits of using an operational CRM for your small business

Benefits of Operational CRM

Operational CRM benefits are many and varied, but these three illustrate why you shouldn’t ignore them.

Improved efficiency

An operational CRM strategy improves your organization’s efficiency by identifying ways to streamline your operations and automate time-consuming tasks.

Because operational CRM is really about running your business better, you’ll notice tasks are more likely to stay on time and budget, employees can get more done in less time, and you’ll have more time to spend on building the business.

Increase in revenues

An indirect result of this boost in efficiency will be a boost in revenues. For example, since your sales team can make more calls in less time to a more targeted leads list more likely to purchase your product, you will see increased sales.

This increase in revenues can be invested back into the business to continue this growth.

Better customer retention

Because you can more quickly and efficiently respond to customer inquiries, customers are more likely to rate you higher than competitors and continue to do business with you.

Customers will be pleased with your speedy fixes to their problems, your responsiveness to questions about the product, and the general feeling you give them that you are at their beck and call.

Examples of operational CRM

So far, we have seen what an operational CRM is, what it can do, how it helps, how it enhances your sales process, and more. However, the question remains: What now? 

You may be interested in getting your hands on the best tech out there, so which is the best CRM?

This is a difficult question to answer since, with CRM, there is no universal size. To each, their own!

Located at one end of the spectrum are the giant multinationals with millions of customers and thousands of SKUs. On the other side are small business enterprises that have just started up and have limited needs.

Here we look at some of the more popular CRM tools, their features, and their distinct advantage.

Salesforce CRM

User-friendly CRM Software

This operational customer relationship management tool is perhaps the largest selling software in the world.

This platform’s most significant distinguishing feature is that you don’t need to set up any infrastructure. Instead, all you need to do is open an account and log in.

Salesforce is meant for small, medium, and large companies. One of the biggest trusted partners of KFC, this platform has been around for a while. More than 150,000 companies use this tool to manage their sales daily.

There are free and paid tools for businesses. For example, if you run a small business, you can run a free account and see the value.

Salesforce provides to you. Paid plans are available from $25 per month per user.

CRM is an ever-changing field, and more and more features are getting added to the standard tool. There can be no limit to your range of choices when it comes to operational CRM.

Now that you know our top picks for CRM, you may be wondering which one to go for? Ideally, the choice is all yours to make!

You can call the shots depending upon your requirements and finances. However, you don’t have to call a blind shot. Most software in the business offers a free trial period. You could sign up and try using the channel extensively throughout the trial period. 

Some providers would go the extra mile by helping you with induction and introduction. For instance, EngageBay is 24*7 there for you, shall you encounter a hiccup. To start your journey of expansion, leverage a good Operational CRM today. 

Operational CRM refers to services that support various ‘front office’ business processes in helping an organization take care of its customers. Focus on customers’ value is essential for a successful operational CRM strategy. Different customers have to be treated differently, so information on variables like customers’ ranking, actual value, and potential value is strategic value.