What is CRM?

A Complete guide to what CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is, how it works, and how CRM Software can help strengthen the result of Sales, Marketing, and Service.

What is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software?

CRM stands for "Customer Relationship Management" and is a software or technology that enables businesses to engage, nurture leads, turn prospects into customers, and retain existing clients. The main goals of using CRM are to boost relationships with clients, increase loyalty and close rates, and drive profits.

CRM systems allow companies to automate customer-related workflows and ensure all interactions with customers and prospects happen smoothly and efficiently across the customer journey. With CRM software, businesses can easily collect and manage customer data from multiple channels to build more detailed customer profiles, provide personalized customer engagements and ensure maximum productivity of customer-facing teams.

Who uses and benefits from CRM?

Deploying CRM software is beneficial for companies of any size. CRM solutions allow small business organizations to efficiently manage the customer journey without rudimentary worksheets or notebook entries. Moreover, small businesses can expand CRM capabilities following the company's growth by implementing a highly scalable solution with additional functionality.

Mid-size and enterprise-level organizations usually leverage CRM solutions to orchestrate workflows, unify and visualize data and break silos across departments for improved operational efficiency, productivity, and customer experience

As for internal departments, CRM software accelerates Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Business Development, Customer Success, and others. Let's take a closer look at the possibilities of CRM for different business users.

How does CRM software work?

СRM significantly simplifies daily work by automating various activities related to managing sales and marketing funnels, reporting, forecasting, analytics, etc. Customer Relationship Management Software can consolidate in one place all the data and communications from your leads: emails, chats and messengers, forms at the landing pages created with CRM, phone calls, etc.

A CRM system typically includes the following:

  • Dashboards with deep dive analytics.
  • A client database with detailed customer 360 profiles.
  • Customer behavior and interaction tracking across all channels (website forms, e-commerce shopping carts, banners, buttons, and other interactive elements).
  • AI/ML tools to suggest the most relevant next-best offer/next-best action for customer-facing teams.
  • Data management, segmentation, and automation tools.
  • Sales and marketing automation tools, detailed sales funnel analytics, forecasting, and intelligent scoring.

Companies can use those features to engage their customers through their preferred channels, such as websites, emails, advertising, phone calls, chatbots, etc. CRM systems enable managers to automate routine processes and measure team performance to improve operational efficiency further.


Here's an example of how a CRM system can benefit a medium or enterprise software company.

Let's say you work for a large software company that provides a wide range of products and services. Your sales team manages many different accounts, with some customers having multiple contact points within your organization.

  1. Using a CRM system, all customer data is centralized and easily accessible: customers' purchase history, preferences, and any issues they've had. This comprehensive vision lets your sales team understand customers' unique needs and tailor their interactions accordingly.
  2. CRM systems can help you to identify trends and opportunities for business growth, for example, determine which products or services are most popular, which geo regions have the most expansion potential, and which customer segments are most profitable.
  3. By having this information marketing team can clearly understand where they need to start. For example, which PPC activities should be created and which region and customer segment should be covered for a better result.

How does CRM software boost sales, marketing, and service?


For Marketing teams, CRM software provides automation tools to streamline lead engagement from demand generation to lead nurturing to final hand-off to sales.

Run personalized campaigns to catch more leads

CRM systems enable marketers to build more targeted customer communications using a 360-degree customer view, marketing dashboards, AI/ML-powered tools for next-best action, product recommendations, and lead quality scoring.

With embedded campaign management tools, CRM software can enable marketers to design, manage, and optimize complex omnichannel marketing campaigns (email campaigns, banner ads, search ads, social media ads, ABM ads, etc.). in a single interface.

Track customer engagements across every touchpoint

Integrating marketing into your CRM allows users to capture online customer data via web pages and eCommerce websites, analyze intent data, track engagements with human-assisted chats and chatbots, monitor calls, and analyze social media data.

Customer behavior tracking allows users to monitor all customer interactions, analyze historical data, and utilize AI/ML-powered tools to create personalized offers and product suggestions through appropriate marketing channels.

Accelerate leads to revenue cycles

CRM enables marketers to streamline lead management workflows and design personalized marketing campaigns to engage customers and prospects better.

Stay aligned with the sales team and ensure all leads are qualified and handed off to sales managers on time.

Sales Managers

CRM system for Sales teams delivers end-to-end sales processes to manage the complete customer journey – from lead to order and continued account maintenance.

Automate sales processes to boost close rates

Sales professionals can use streamlined sales workflows that guide them through a complete sales cycle, from generating and nurturing leads to a successful deal closure. CRM systems can help identify process bottlenecks and help sales reps promote better customer engagements at each sales cycle stage.

CRM enables businesses to track individual sales rep performance, analyze sales teams' effectiveness, and identify top performers.

Manage sales of any type and complexity

With CRM software, businesses can automate long and short sales cycles, including B2C, B2B, or B2B2C. CRM allows users to manage multiple sales channels in a single workplace (agent desktop), with a 360-degree view of customer data and complete engagement history.

Automate and streamline opportunity management with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) tools that enable you to build data-backed scoring models, suggest the next best action/best offer and assess your sales process effectiveness.

Stay in touch with marketing and customer service

CRM solutions provide seamless sales integration with marketing and customer service. Businesses can use this integration to improve customer engagement by syncing all their customer data, thus gaining a deeper insight into the customer's history, preferences, and needs.

Operations Managers

CRM helps improve the business's overall performance by providing valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and interests. Operations Managers can identify patterns and trends through this information and use these findings to create proactive strategies.

Measure and improve performance

Operations managers can improve the visibility of teams'/individuals' KPIs across multiple departments, easily spot bottlenecks and inefficiencies, manage projects, and create workflow templates based on tried-and-proved operational strategies.

Integration of additional services

Accelerate your operation with out-of-the-box apps, connectors, and templates available at your fingertips. For example, help your service with chatbot integrations and marketing with email templates.

Business Owners

CRM system allows the owner to quickly assess vital indicators such as actual and projected revenue, ROI, plan execution, KPIs of various departments, and more.

Informative dashboards

Create customized dashboards that show the overall state of the business in a few clicks - revenue, sales funnel, number of opportunities, and the dynamics of new deals.

Identifying business growth channels

Identify important channels that drive revenue growth - affiliate sales, marketing activities, brand development, etc. Built-in analytics in СRM will help you make the right decisions and plan further growth investments. Analytics will also help identify the least effective channels to adjust your growth strategy.

Deep dive into TOP-10 CRM Features

Dashboards & Analytics

Full-fledged CRM solutions include interactive dashboards that can be created and personalized using visual design tools with no-code (e.g., overall business performance, snapshots of the current sales funnel, team KPIs, sales forecast, or lead generation overview) to facilitate better reporting across any business function. These dashboards can be configured in various visual formats using any data entry from the system with the ability to set up access rights for specific individuals based on their roles.

Contact & Accounts Management

CRM software helps you build and manage a 360-degree customer profile, including their contact and business information, connection to business accounts, current engagement status and activities, history of previous interactions, and other AI\ML-powered intelligence (e.g., predictive score). Access to all this information enables your team to engage with customers at the right time in the right channel and with the most personalized messages.

Lead & Opportunity Management

CRM offers a range of tools to automate and streamline lead-to-revenue workflows, from initial contact to repeat sales. You can easily aggregate leads from multiple sources, automatically verify and deduplicate lead data, nurture them using embedded CE tools, and transition them across sales cycle stages based on their sales-readiness.

Orders, Invoices & Contracts

CRM software provides tools to set up automated document management workflows, track current document status and document history, and analyze order processing effectiveness. CRM lets you easily create invoices, contracts, and other order-related documents. You can quickly personalize your orders by adding installment plans, product lists, discounts, and other data stored in the CRM database.

Field sales management

CRM must support and empower your field sales representatives with everything they might need during their on-site meeting with a potential client or when planning their business itinerary. A mobile application enables your sales team members to quickly pull up customer profile details, contracts and orders, pricing information, or marketing collateral can help ensure the perfect scenario for the client's meeting. CRM solution also enables a senior sales manager to view a schedule of visits for each representative and monitor the status of the visits by geo-tags from field sales rep check-ins in each location.

Campaign management

CRM empowers marketing with tools to create, run, analyze, and optimize multichannel marketing campaigns. With this feature, you can easily segment your target audience and design an automated marketing campaign to engage with prospects or customers through various channels (e.g., email, PPC campaigns, social media, etc.). You can also use embedded campaign analytics to run A/B tests and keep track of campaign effectiveness in real time with performance indicators.

Service management

CRM offers customer service teams a digital workspace to provide omnichannel customer service, effectively manage customers' requests, drive better efficiency across agent teams, and automate other service workflows in a single environment. Customer Service is one of the most popular areas of CRM, alongside Sales and Marketing.

Workflow automation

CRM software enables users to set up automated workflows that meet the unique needs of their business or industry. Users can also easily customize and improve core processes using workflow automation tools like lead or campaign management. Furthermore, workflow automation capabilities significantly expand the scope of use of CRM solutions and, in many cases, allow for enterprise-grade workflow automation, including complex back-office processes.


Customer Relationship Management Software enables better alignment between teams as it supports a single database of customer data with the ability for employees to collaborate on various deals and projects within the same environment. With CRM, you can manage your tasks/projects with a calendar easily integrated with MS Outlook or Google Calendar.

AI/ML Data models

Modern AI/ML technology supports automating workflows and building data-backed forecasts/recommendations for different use cases. Advanced CRM solutions provide pre-configured AI-powered ML models of various types (classification, regression, recommendation, segmentation, scoring, similarity, etc.) and vertical-specific AI/ML data models, for example, a Next Best Offer solution for banks or a Customer Segmentation solution for retailers.

What are the three types of CRM?

The main types of CRM are: collaborative, analytical, and operational.

Collaborative - enables companies to connect multiple departments, sometimes in different geo, and ensure their organized daily work based on single-source customer data. Collaborative CRMs are essential for distributed teams and businesses that apply a multi-faceted approach to customer acquisition and retention. Using a collaborative CRM, for example, your sales reps will have instant access to the customer's service history or history of marketing campaigns, thus giving them a complete profile of the customer's needs.

Operational - focuses on streamlining and automating diverse workflows for customer-facing teams. This type of CRM typically offers flexible tools to create, monitor and optimize customer-facing business processes. While collaborative CRMs emphasize single-source data access and unified data management, operational CRM systems focus on operational excellence, automation, and improved performance of each business unit.

Analytical - offers excellent reporting capabilities and ensures transparency of customer-facing activities for managers and executives. Analytical CRM provides value for large enterprises looking for solutions to visualize data. These CRMs feature multiple types of analytics, including interactive dashboards, campaign pipelines, workflow-embedded analytics, AI/ML-powered predictive analytics, and text & speech analytics.

Online vs. On-premise CRM?

There are two types of CRM development - online (or cloud-based) and on-premise (or local-based). Each has pros and cons, but in 2023 online CRM is preferable because it allows you to work from anywhere and quickly adapt to changing business realities.

With on-premise CRM, a company needs to purchase the licenses beforehand. Although it is the buyer's responsibility to ensure the constant maintenance of the on-premise system, including data security, the vendor will still provide technical support in critical circumstances. Considering that the software is on the company's servers, on-premise CRM is a good choice for organizations with strict security policies. Still, the implementation process takes more time, expenses, and IT resources.

On the other hand, software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud, or on-demand CRM stores data on the vendor's servers. In this case, the users have full access to the database at all times, wherever they are. Most importantly, the vendor takes all the responsibility for the seamless operation of the system and provides all the necessary system updates and support.

Cloud-based CRM software is highly scalable. An organization can quickly expand its functionality when business requirements grow or change. With online CRM software, a company must purchase licenses per user, and businesses can flexibly manage the required licenses.

Cloud-based vs On-Premise

Hosted in vendors' cloud infrastructure
Installed locally on a company's servers
Accessible from anywhere with internet access
Accessible only on-premise
Lower pay only for licenses per user/month
Higher due to setup, maintenance, and hardware costs
Easy, only new licenses purchase is needed
Limited due to hardware limitations
Easily with other cloud-based tools and services
Integration with other services may be more difficult
Handled by the vendor (no additional costs)
Requires internal IT staff for maintenance
Faster due to ease of setup
The more time-consuming deployment process
Limited options (except for No-code CRM)
More opportunities for customization
Vendor provides services
Requires internal IT staff
Automatic backup and recovery options
Backup and recovery require internal IT staff


Why is Customer Relationship Management important?

CRM software helps to get better customer service, improve client retention, increase lead generation, and automate the qualification process. CRM streamlines essential business operations to enhance the customer experience across the customer journey from initial contact to repeat sales and customer service.

What CRM software pricing is?

The cost of the CRM products is estimated per user/month and depends on many factors:

  • Basic and additional functionality.
  • Number of users.
  • The type of system deployment (cloud or on-premise).
  • Additional customization.
  • Other factors.

Creatio CRM starts from $25 per user/month.

How can I choose the right CRM for my business?

The best place to start is by requesting a demo presentation, which will be prepared for the needs of your business. The basic requirements for any CRM are ease of use - user-friendly and functional interfaces with the ability to configure them with no-code, integration with other services and apps, and scalability - the possibility of operating a growing client database or readiness to add the required number of users or new teams at any time.

What is No-code CRM?

A no-code CRM gives you complete freedom over your CRM automation. No-code technology leverages visual design tools (e.g., drag and drop). No-code in CRM enables users to build customer engagement apps, configure integrations with other sales, marketing, and service solutions (e.g., telephony solutions, ABM platforms, conversational platforms, chatbots), and automate CRM, operational and vertical workflows without a line of code.

Ready to explore CRM Creatio further?