CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software can be used in multiple ways to get the highest return on investment for your company. Its functions can include strategic, operational, analytical, and collaborative benefits. 

A customer-centric business strategy that aims at winning & keeping profitable customers can be described as a strategic CRM initiative. Customer information is collected, shared and applied across the business to learn what exactly customers want and then employees behaviors and attitudes are shaped such that they enhance customer satisfaction and retention.

Operational CRM initiatives, typically focuses on the automation of customer-facing processes such as marketing, sales and customer service. In the case of marketing, it’s usually about applying technology to marketing processes, using customer-related data to develop, execute and evaluate targeted communications and offers. In the case of sales, operational CRM is often linked to efforts to improve and standardize the selling process.

Data collection is an important part of finding new prospects or learning how to keep the customers you have happy. The analytical CRM approach uses sales, financial, marketing, and service data to decide who exactly your best customers are and what other products and services they may be interested in.

A collaborative CRM initiative applies technology across organizational boundaries with the goal of optimizing interactions between your company, its partners, and its customers. In this process everyone works with each other to make sure the relationships are and continue to be mutually beneficial.

CRM software is not just a software tool for managing customer data, but for making that data useful and your business more successful.