What Is a CRM? A Guide to CRM Software

Customer relationship management software, or CRM for short, helps a company manage interactions with customers and prospects. Here’s everything you need to know about CRM systems.

3 min read

What Is a CRM System?​

A customer relationship management (CRM) system is client management software that helps business owners track communications with clients and nurture relationships with potential leads. 

What Is a CRM System Used for?

CRM technologies, also known as contact management systems, consolidate all forms of prospect and customer information, such as contact information, social media interactions, emails, forms, emails, and phone calls and purchases. You and your team can then use this data to further business development, improve customer relationships, and automate certain aspects of your sales and marketing workflow.

Why Is a CRM So Important?

Customer acquisition and retention, the two most crucial aspects of business development, are at the heart of CRM systems. Using customer relationship management tools enables you to deepen your relationship with existing customers, business partners, and supply chain partners while aiding in lead scoring and lead generation as well.

Examples of CRM Platforms

With so many CRM software companies to choose from, it can be difficult to decide on the ideal CRM platform for you. When it comes to cloud-based CRM solutions, the most popular (and highest-rated by users) platforms include: 

  • Zoho CRM
  • Hubspot’s CRM integration
  • Salesforce 
  • Salesflare

What Are the Four Types of CRM?

The main four types of CRMs are operational, strategic, analytical, and collaborative. These four types offer different CRM features, however, you can also opt for an all-in-one CRM, such as Zoho CRM, which combines the features of these four CRM types.

Operational CRM

An operational CRM improves the efficiency of business operations through workflow automation. This type of CRM can be used to organize customer contact information and streamline customer relations operations.

Strategic CRM

A strategic CRM focuses on improving customer experiences and customer interactions with your business. Strategic CRM features include contact management, lead generation, sales lead management, pipeline management, and customer segmentation. This type of CRM is particularly useful for businesses that thrive on customer retention and long-term customer relationships.

Analytical CRM

An analytical CRM analyzes and organizes customer data while focusing on metrics such as top sales accounts, the average deal cycle, customer retention rates, and recurring revenue. CRM data management and analytics tools have features such as data entry and analytics reports, which offer a big-picture look at the customer lifecycle and the sales cycle of your business.

Collaborative CRM

A collaborative CRM tool focuses on communication among internal teams in your company. Features such as task management, contact management, and interaction tracking allow users—such as data-focused teams, marketing campaign management teams, and sales managers—to collaborate.

The Five Steps of the Customer Relationship Management Process

CRMs aim to improve customer satisfaction and track customer engagement in order to increase conversions and customer retention. However, this process doesn’t happen overnight. Here are the five steps every successful CRM process needs:

Reaching a Potential Customer

All customer success stories start with reaching the right potential customer at the right time. Marketing teams can use CRM systems to create a customer profile based on existing customer data. With this information, your marketing team can create a marketing campaign that will reach the right audience.

Customer Acquisition

In order to acquire customers, you must market to the right people, at the right time, and with the right campaign. CRM tools are helpful for marketers to test and compare customer acquisition methods.

Customer Conversion

Your sales team can use CRM tools to analyze customer behavior. Quantitative data in customer management systems can show how many people converted after seeing a particular advertisement and help you compare the success of different conversion methods.

Customer Retention

You can also use a CRM to track and improve customer retention. The data on recurring customers helps you track customer retention, while features that focus on customer requests and customer satisfaction help you improve retention rates.

Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is an ongoing positive relationship between a business and a customer. Your customer service, marketing, and sales teams can use the actionable data a CRM provides to analyze current customer loyalty rates and work on a plan to improve them.

Do You Want to Start Using a CRM?

If you want to start using a CRM tool, Zoho CRM is your best bet. This Zoho app has everything you need in a CRM, it’s easy to use, and it’s cheaper than most competitors.

Plus, you can get Zoho CRM as a part of a Zoho bundle. That way, you’ll get a bunch of impressive Zoho apps that you’ll be able to integrate with CRM, such as Zoho Analytics, Zoho Marketing, and Zoho People.

And, if you need help learning Zoho CRM, or any other Zoho tool, we’ve got you covered. Our free training materials are a great starting point, while our Zoho consultants can help you master the intricacies of each app. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.


Why is a CRM important for marketers?

CRM is important for sales, marketers, customer support, and all other parts of your business. A marketing CRM is crucial for understanding the customer journey, which is the key to knowing how to market to each type of customer.

Marketing automation features such as data collection and analysis take the burden off of marketers and allow them to create effective, data-driven marketing campaigns.

What is a CRM in simple terms?

In simple terms, a CRM (customer relationship management) is a platform that helps you manage all of your company’s relationships. Though their primary focus is on customer and prospect relationships, a CRM can even improve relationships between you and your business partners and employees.

What are the 4 pillars of CRM?

The four pillars of CRM are workforce, strategy, processes, and technology. Each of these four play an integral part in implementing CRM strategies successfully.

The first pillar, workforce, refers to training sales and marketing teams, without which any CRM strategy is likely to fail. Strategy refers to creating a road map with actionable steps and enterprise resource planning that leads to desired goals.

The processes pillar refers to the business processes that will help you achieve goals, while technology refers to artificial intelligence and business intelligence software that will help you get there.

What are the top 5 advantages of CRM?

The five main benefits of CRM tools are: 

  • Improved analytical data collection and reporting
  • Workflow automation of everyday tasks
  • Better customer service and customer satisfaction
  • Improved internal organization among your analytics, sales, marketing, and customer support team
  • Better knowledge of your customers, which leads to better segmentation and targeting

Is CRM a hard skill?

It can be somewhat difficult to master a CRM. However, once you do so, the sky’s the limit. If you need help mastering Zoho CRM, a popular CRM platform by the Zoho Corporation, our Zoho training can help you get there quickly and effortlessly!

Can a CRM help me close more deals?

Yes, a CRM can help you close more deals. In particular, a CRM is beneficial for one integral part of the sales process—opportunity management (the process of tracking sales opportunities).

What is an on-premise CRM?

An on-premise CRM is a CRM that is installed directly on the company server. Alternatively, a cloud CRM is hosted by the provider (the company that made the CRM in question).

What is a sales CRM tool?

A sales CRM tool is a type of CRM with a strong focus on identifying leads, lead tracking, and examining available sales opportunities.

What is a social CRM?

A social CRM is a type of customer relationship management platform that’s housed on a social networking app or website. For example, a Facebook group or a fan page can be a social CRM, as it is a place for your customers to meet, communicate, and share experiences.

What is a mobile CRM?

A mobile CRM is simply a CRM that can be used on mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets. If you’re looking for a mobile CRM, look no further than Zoho CRM, which offers an incredible mobile application available for download on iOS and Android.

Can I get Zoho CRM as a part of a bundle?

Yes, you can get Zoho CRM as a part of a bundle. Two Zoho bundles contain this app—Zoho One, and Zoho CRM Plus.

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