What is Operational CRM? Benefits & Top Software Solutions

Hiba Ali

Senior Writer

Operational CRM

Customer relationships are at the heart of any successful business. Building strong, long-lasting customer relationships ensures customer loyalty and significantly impacts a company’s bottom line. According to studies, CRM systems enhance customer retention rates, leading to a profit gain ranging from 25% to 85%.

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

One of the most effective ways to manage customer relationships is through Customer Relationship Management or CRM software. There are three types of CRMs: operational, analytical, and collaborative. Operational CRM helps streamline customer-facing operations like marketing, sales, and customer service. It provides a centralized hub to store all customer interactions and touchpoints in one place.

An operational CRM is a must-have system for any customer-centric organization looking to build lasting customer relationships, streamline operations, boost collaboration, and gain data-driven insights.

This post highlights operational CRM’s benefits and how it can help you scale your business.

Let’s get started!

What is Operational CRM?

An 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.

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Businesses must use Operational CRM effectively to reap the full benefits. This involves choosing the right CRM software that fits the business needs, training the staff to use it properly, and integrating it with other business systems. It is also important to regularly update the CRM system to keep up with the changing environment of business and customer expectations.

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 generates leads and converts them into customers and contacts.

How Does Operational CRM Work?

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 can access all its data from anywhere through the internet. They provide your employees with a platform to interact with the customers.

You can also 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, etc.

CRM Benefits

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

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

An operational CRM software 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 a 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.

What Are The 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 necessary infrastructure to serve their customers.

Components Of Operational CRM

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

1. Marketing Automation

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, a customer who calls support after surfing shoes is more likely to inquire about it. In this case, the CRM will automatically recommend relevant information to help the customer and support team.

CRMs can interpret data and translate it into insights that can help you simplify marketing processes and 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 overall conversions and maximize revenues.

Operational CRM Example: Marketing Automation

The New Customer Campaign – 

The transition from a potential lead to a confirmed customer is a significant milestone, but it doesn’t signify the end of their journey. Onboarding processes, akin to welcome campaigns, serve as a powerful tool to sustain customer engagement post-purchase, ensuring their longevity as clients.

The New Customer Campaign

These initiatives could include providing useful guidance on product usage or introducing them to your user-friendly customer support portal for any potential concerns. By automating these onboarding processes, you can foster relationships with your customers and get them from. This strategy can bolster customer loyalty and give them compelling reasons to continue associating with your brand.

2. Sales Force Automation

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 logs, etc.

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 generate advanced sales reports for better visibility and simpler lead prioritization.

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 relevant products based on his purchase.

Also, managing 10-20 leads daily can be overwhelming for sales reps who balance different selling points and deadlines. They may waste time and miss opportunities without a system to track each potential buyer’s progress. That’s why sales force automation tools are essential for optimizing your team’s time and pipeline. These tools help you assign tasks to your team and remind them when and who to follow up with. This way, every client gets the right amount of attention and a more persuasive sale.

Operational CRM Example: Sales Automation

Lead Generation – 

Sales teams have to do a lot of research on hundreds of leads. They must learn about their company size, industry standards, recent performance, and contact details. Finding prospects interested in your services can be hard without the right tools. Automated prospecting tools do this work for you and put all the data in one place. This helps your sales reps contact the hottest leads without doing any research. They can also use operational CRM tools like automated emails and tracking to follow up with their new leads. Operational CRM software can help salespeople quickly find and qualify leads, saving them time and helping them close more sales.

3. Service Automation

Service automation 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 with a product demo 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 with an engaging experience.

Operational CRM Example: Service Automation

The Self-Service Option – 

Customers don’t like to wait for answers, especially if their questions are easy. They shouldn’t have to queue behind customers who have complex problems. You can let your customers solve their minor issues by giving them self-service options. This way, you can reduce the workload of your customer service reps and increase customer satisfaction.

Self-service option

What Are The Different Types Of CRMs?

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

1. Operational CRM

Operational CRM systems are built to help you manage your customers. It can enhance customer interactions, provide support, or send promotional email campaigns.

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

2. Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM can help you make informed decisions by analyzing data 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.

An analytical CRM’s main functions 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.

3. Collaborative CRM

This type of CRM helps you to share information throughout the organization. For instance, if your support team is collecting customer feedback, they can share it with the product and marketing team 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 purchasing.

What Are The Benefits of 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  Marketing Campaigns

One of the most natural benefits of operational CRM tools is that they enable you to have a closer relationship with your customers, including 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. The CRM will help you bifurcate your customers into three main categories: customers who will invest in your product/services, those 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

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 your customers will most likely buy. An operational CRM will keep track of all your customer’s activities on your website. The data can further promote your products based on customers’ preferences.

As surprising as it may sound, 35% of the 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, now is the right time to get started if you’re not harnessing the power of upselling and cross-selling. An operational CRM system can help you capitalize on such opportunities.

4. Increase 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. You can create a well-organized repository of frequently asked questions through an operational CRM 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 favor your business.

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

Top 5 Operational CRM Solutions

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

Software NameFree Trial PeriodPricing
14 daysStarter – $25 per month if billed annually
14 daysStarter CRM Suite (For individuals & small teams) – Starts at $30 per month if billed annually
14 daysStarter – $8.99 per month if billed annually
15 daysStandard – $14 per month if billed annually
14 daysEssential – $9.90 per month if billed annually

1. Salesforce

Salesforce logo


4.9 out of 5 stars

14 Reviews

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

Salesforce CRM has all the 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.

Key Features

  • Pipeline and forecast management
  • Account and contact management
  • Lead management
  • Workflow and approval automation
  • Collaborative forecasting


  • Starter – $25 per month if billed annually
  • Professional – $75 per month if billed annually
  • Enterprise – $150 per month if billed annually
  • Unlimited – $300 per month if billed annually

Pros and Cons

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  • Operational CRM offers extensive customization options, allowing businesses to tailor the system according to their needs
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  • It includes effective lead management and scoring features, enabling businesses to track and prioritize leads efficiently
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  • It is easy to set up, ensuring a smooth business implementation process
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  • A free 30-day trial allows businesses to test the operational CRM before committing
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  • No free plan is available, meaning businesses must invest in a paid subscription
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  • The operational CRM can be complicated to set up and learn, requiring dedicated time and resources for implementation
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  • Maintaining may be time-consuming, requiring ongoing effort to ensure the system operates effectively

2. HubSpot CRM

Hubspot CRM logo

Hubspot CRM

4.6 out of 5 stars

37 Reviews

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

Key Features

  • SEO analytics
  • Content repository
  • Automated data capture
  • Prospect tracking
  • Meeting scheduler


  • Starter CRM Suite (For individuals & small teams) – Starts at $30 per month if billed annually
  • Professional (For businesses & enterprises) – $800 per month if billed annually
  • Enterprise (For businesses & enterprises) – $3600 per month if billed annually

Pros and Cons

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  • The operational CRM effectively tracks the progress of the sales pipeline and closed deals, providing visibility into the sales process
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  • It automates tasks and email communication with prospects and customers, saving time and improving efficiency
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  • The system provides real-time notifications about lead behaviors, allowing businesses to respond promptly to customer interactions
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  • It enables personalized email sequences for leads and existing customers, enhancing engagement and nurturing relationships
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  • Per-user plans can become expensive for small businesses, potentially posing a financial challenge
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  • Only one email can be sent per contact, limiting the flexibility of communication options
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  • The chat functionality in the CRM is basic, lacking advanced features offered by other chatbots, which could enhance customer interactions and support

3. Agile CRM

Agile CRM logo

Agile CRM

4.4 out of 5 stars

162 Reviews

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.

Key Features

  • 50+ plugins and integrations
  • Google/Shopify/Stripe sync
  • Landing Page Builder
  • 5,000 Emails (Branded)
  • Web-to-Lead


  • Free – For 10 users
  • Starter – $8.99 per month if billed annually
  • Regular – $29.99 per month if billed annually
  • Enterprise – $47.99 per month if billed annually

Pros and Cons

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  • The banners feature is valuable for highlighting important messages related to specific users
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  • Email reporting provides easy visibility of metrics like CTR and open rates, making it convenient to track email campaign performance
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  • The interface is intuitive and user-friendly, ensuring a pleasant user experience
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  • Integration with other software is seamless and straightforward, facilitating streamlined workflows
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  • The Android software needs optimization as it tends to crash and slow down
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  • Importing contacts can be challenging and may require additional effort
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  • Glitches may occur when using certain browsers, causing disruptions in functionality

4. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM logo

Zoho CRM

4.6 out of 5 stars

39 Reviews

Zoho CRM is a highly popular CRM solution for small businesses. It starts at no cost for a basic CRM platform that allows organizations just getting started to organize and manage lead and customer data with ease. With Zoho CRM, companies can maintain a centralized database for all prospect and customer information.

Teams gain a 360-degree view of all touchpoints across the customer lifecycle—from lead to opportunity to account. Sales teams can track potential deals efficiently in the pipeline and get guidance to close more deals. Zoho CRM provides tools for marketing and customer service teams to plan, execute and analyze campaigns across channels.

Key Features

  • Zia AI
  • Multi-user portals
  • Advanced customization
  • Custom reports and dashboards (Unlimited)
  • Command Center


  • Standard – $14 per month if billed annually
  • Professional – $23 per month if billed annually
  • Enterprise – $40 per month if billed annually
  • Ultimate – $52 per month if billed annually

Pros and Cons

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  • The pricing plans are affordable, ensuring accessibility for businesses of various sizes and budgets
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  • Automation capabilities are available across all plans, streamlining workflows and saving time
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  • Multiple integrations are available, enabling seamless connectivity with other platforms and tools
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  • The system is user-friendly and easy to navigate, ensuring a smooth user experience
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  • Customer support could be improved to provide better assistance and responsiveness
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  • Editing and customizing email templates can be a tedious and time-consuming task
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  • AI features are only available on top-tier plans, limiting their accessibility

5. PipeDrive

Pipedrive logo


4.4 out of 5 stars

16 Reviews

Pipedrive is a top-notch customer relationship management (CRM) solution that caters to the needs of small businesses. Pipedrive’s strength lies in its ability to guide sales leads through the entire sales process while keeping track of essential contacts and feedback, ensuring that sales teams can effectively track leads and boost sales. The platform is flexible, and businesses can adjust it to their specific workflows, ensuring it suits their needs.

Key Features

  • Document and contract management with e-signatures
  • Revenue forecasts and deeper reporting capabilities
  • Unlimited reports and customizations
  • Full email sync with templates
  • Meeting, email and video call scheduling


  • Essential – $9.90 per month if billed annually
  • Advanced – $19.90 per month if billed annually
  • Professional – $39.90 per month if billed annually
  • Power – $49.90 per month if billed annually
  • Enterprise – $59.90 per month if billed annually

Pros and Cons

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  • The system provides an effortless way to customize and organize according to individual preferences
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  • It enables efficient tracking and logging of leads and deals, ensuring no missed opportunities
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  • The operational CRM supports remote work and facilitates managing local leads effectively
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  • The dashboard is excellent, prioritizing tasks and deals for easy management
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  • There are limited options for custom fields and reports on most plans, restricting flexibility in data management
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  • Phone support is only offered on the highest tier, potentially limiting accessibility for some users
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  • Managing deals through drag-and-drop functionality can be tricky and may require additional effort to master

Wrapping it Up

In the era of customer-centric business, Operational CRM is no longer a luxury but a necessity. It is a powerful tool that can help businesses to stay ahead in the competitive market by providing superior customer service. This holistic view enables businesses to better understand their customers, anticipate their needs, and provide personalized service, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

The benefits of Operational CRM are manifold. It not only helps in improving customer service but also aids in increasing sales and revenue. Businesses can save time and improve performance by automating regular tasks and focusing on strategic tasks. They can also make better choices by learning from customer behavior.

Moreover, it aids in cross-selling and up-selling by identifying potential opportunities. Therefore, businesses should invest in a good Operational CRM system and use it effectively to enhance their customer relationships and achieve their business goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sales and marketing can use operational CRM to make their processes easier and faster, such as managing leads, contacts, and campaigns. It provides a centralized database that allows sales and marketing teams to access and share customer information, enabling targeted and personalized communication.

By providing real-time data and analytics, operational CRM enhances sales forecasting and helps identify upselling and cross-selling opportunities, ultimately improving customer acquisition and retention.

Customer service is crucial in operational CRM, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. It enables customer service representatives to access comprehensive customer information, including purchase history and preferences, facilitating personalized and efficient support.

Operational CRM also provides tools for issue tracking, case management, and customer feedback analysis, enabling organizations to address customer concerns promptly and effectively, leading to better customer experiences and increased customer loyalty.

While operational CRM can benefit many businesses, its suitability may vary depending on specific requirements and industry dynamics. While many businesses can benefit from a CRM solution like Salesforce or HubSpot, some industries may require more specialized CRM solutions due to their complex operational processes.

For instance, industries like manufacturing or construction may have unique workflows and requirements that demand tailored CRM solutions. Additionally, smaller businesses with limited resources find simpler CRM systems more appropriate, while larger enterprises may require more advanced features and scalability. It's important to assess the specific needs and consider industry-specific CRM solutions before implementing operational CRM.

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