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The Complete Guide to Understanding CRM Systems

By: Louise Harris


CRM Customer Relationship Management for business sales marketing system concept presented in futuristic graphic interface of service application to support CRM database analysis.

Multitasking is one of the most widely used skills in any business setting. Gathering data and talking with prospects takes a lot of time. To become most productive at work, people in your business would need to do many things at once.

Fortunately, there are many ways to improve their attention span at work, and there are also tools used to improve productivity. This is where CRM apps come in. 

Because of its functionality and potential to increase employee productivity and business sales, CRM apps (Customer Relations Management) were the largest software market in the last few years. An effective CRM software provides a business with a holistic view of each of their customers and prospects in real-time. 

CRM is not only used by sales but also by marketing and customer support. With the help of the information stored in CRM apps, managers can make quick and informed decisions to sell and improve customer communication and engagement. 

Key Features Of A CRM Software

CRM software works more than just organizing your contacts and their information. To optimize the use of the software, here are some CRM features you should know: 

  • Contact Management – it stores information for every client and prospect contacted by your team. 
  • Interaction Tracking – it documents conversations with prospects. 
  • Manages Leads – it helps you manage the process of converting prospects to potential customers. CRM software also identifies leads through scoring and aids salespeople to move the leads through the pipeline. 
  • Email Integration – helps you easily pull up information and track interactions whenever a customer calls for support. 
  • Document Management – CRM systems let you upload, store, and share documents relating to your contacts to anyone in the business. Having a centralized location makes it easier for the sales, marketing, and customer support team to access the critical information they need. 
  • Reporting And Analytics – provides you with routine reports regarding sales and sales representative performance. It gives everyone in the pipeline a better understanding of the marketing and sales process. 
  • Forecasting – information from analytics helps generate a prediction for future sales. It also provides a projected revenue based on past and present data. 

The best CRM apps also include other helpful features like the following: 

  • Social media marketing automation
  • Custom website forms
  • Blogging platform
  • Product tracking
  • Referral Tracking
  • Content Management Systems

Important Terminologies You Should Know

Every CRM software is different, but most of them use the same concepts and terms. Here are some of the terms you should know to have a successful CRM implementation

  • Objects – it is a data point used by the software. It could be a piece of contact information stored in your database or information associated with a contact, like phone numbers and email addresses. 
  • Contacts – any person whose contact information is stored in your database. Contacts are not only customers or prospects as they could also be partners and suppliers. 
  • Conversions – conversions happen when a visitor in your business websites clicks on a call-to-action button.
  • Leads – these are contacts that show significant interest in your business. These could be potential customers who are willing to buy your product or pay for your service. 
  • Opportunity – when leads are interested in your offer, they’re converted into an opportunity. 
  • Workflow – it’s a series of tasks that you choose to have automated in your CRM system. The workflow consists of triggers and actions. For example, an individual clicks a call-to-action button on your site or subscribes to your email newsletter. The system will automatically send an invite to a meeting or a virtual discussion between the individual and the sales rep. 

Types Of CRM Software

There are plenty of CRM apps available in the market today. Choosing the best one for your business can be quite overwhelming. However, you shouldn’t be confused with the selection that you currently have. Each of them is designed to help you understand and serve your contacts better. 

To have a better understanding, here are the four types of CRM software: 

1. Conversation 

Conversation CRM software focuses on your team’s emails and conversations with your customers and contacts. The app works by tracking your team’s email inboxes and organize every conversation from across the business. 

The information helps you see who in the business has a connection with the contact and what they talked about. 

2. Leads and Deals 

Leads and deals apps are the most popular type of CRM app because it focuses on the conversions of leads into customers. The software tracks potential customers and tags them as leads in your network. This will help your sales rep prioritize contacts. 

The software will then log all the interaction, a contact made inside your workflow to know which strategy worked in converting them into customers. This information is critical as these strategies should be replicated to earn more customers in the future. 

3. Contact 

Contact CRM apps are the simplest and cheapest among the other types. Since this focuses on the contacts, it’s easier to use and understand. 

It works as the main database for all your contacts and the information relating to them, like their name and birthday. It also helps you track your interactions with your contacts. 

4. Marketing 

Marketing CRM apps put all your data into action. The software includes tools similar to lead and deal with CRM apps. 

Marketing CRM apps include an automated workflow that helps you contact leads by sending them an email. Marketing apps are more expensive than the others because it offers a wide range of automated systems that increase your business productivity. 


Overall, CRM apps are helpful tools that organize all the information relating to your interactions with your potential clients and customers. Choosing the right CRM software for your business is critical as each app can have different features. The information above provides you with basic concepts of CRM apps and gives you an idea of which type can optimize your business operations.

Published: October 1, 2020

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