Operational CRM

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What is Operational CRM

An operational customer relationship management (CRM) tool is used to streamline and integrate customer-focused workflows across sales, marketing, and customer service departments.


These CRMs centralize your lead and customer data — such as information from customer service call transcripts, call notes, lead nurture forms, and sales reports.

You can use an operational CRM to automate sales, marketing, and customer service tasks — from ad campaigns to lead nurturing.

How Do Operational CRMs Work?

Operational CRMs are typically Software as a Service (SaaS) tools that unify customer and lead data via the cloud — providing easy access to data about customer interactions across channels.

These tools reduce the need for manual data entry and make it easy to track the customer journey. CRM operations deliver targeted lead and customer data and enhance marketing, sales outreach, and customer support initiatives.

This is achieved with the help of features like automated campaigns, self-service, and lead nurturing.

MarketingSalesCustomer ServiceAnalytics


Operational CRM systems pull data on prospect and customer interactions from a variety of digital marketing channels. Say a customer requests pricing information from a chatbot or makes a purchase — this data is collected and stored.

With a unified view of customers, you can use an operational CRM to gain new insights into customer preferences, behaviors, and pain points — better personalizing your marketing campaigns and improving customer targeting.

Operational CRMs are also great for marketing automation. You can create targeted, personalized campaigns on your prospects’ and customers’ preferred channels and automate event-based marketing like ad campaigns and email nurture sequences.


Sales teams can use operational CRMs to identify and qualify prospects, manage their sales pipeline, and improve sales engagement.

For example, sales teams can use sales analytics from their operational CRM to uncover the perfect point in the customer journey for nurturing, cross-sells, and upsells. They can then use their CRM to automate personalized nurture emails.

Customer Service

With operational CRM software, customer service reps can automate and support several aspects of their job. For example, they can retrieve customer information about earlier interactions and get insights into a customer’s:

  • Needs
  • Purchase history, and
  • Past complaints

Ultimately helping them deal with a current customer issue more effectively. In addition, customer support representatives can use operational CRMs to automate dull or time-consuming tasks.

Take this operational CRM example: A support team uses their CRM software to uncover data about previous successful customer resolutions to customer problems and provides automated responses to customer FAQs via their site chatbot.


By centralizing and effectively organizing customer data and their interactions with your brand, you can use an operational CRM to gain new insights into each customer.

From leaving a comment on your latest blog post to a call with your sales team. This allows you to analyze customer movements throughout the customer journey.

Your operational CRM can then turn these data-driven insights into automations designed to:

  • Enhance customer experiences
  • Help you target prospects more effectively
  • Generate new leads
  • Up your conversion rates, and
  • Help support your sales team to close more deals

Related: How Does CRM Software Work?

Operational CRM vs Other Types of CRMs

CRM services are built to centralize and streamline customer data — helping teams more effectively manage customer intelligence and optimize their interactions with them.

There are three main types of CRMs. Here’s a quick rundown of operational CRM vs analytical CRM vs collaborative CRM tools:

Operational CRM

Operational CRM

  • Centralizes customer data
  • Streamlines sales, customer service, and marketing workflows
  • Automates sales, marketing, and customer-service tasks
Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM

  • Centralizes and analyzes customer data for decision-making
  • Delivers omnichannel customer insights
  • Spots interesting patterns in data and makes predictions to uncover trends to help build more successful business strategies
Collaborative CRM

Collaborative CRM

  • Facilitates communication between customer-facing departments — including marketing, sales, and customer service
  • Collaborative CRMs break down silos between departments
  • Used to share documents and other internal resources and communications

The Benefits of Operational CRM Tools

One tool. A number of benefits for customer-focused teams. Here are the top benefits that come with using an operational CRM:

  • Centralizes customer data
  • Streamline workflows across customer-focused departments
  • Automate time-consuming tasks — cutting costs and improving employee productivity and wellbeing
  • Improve customer satisfaction and retention with more personalized outreach on their preferred channels

The Bottom Line

An operational CRM is a brilliant tool for unifying customer data and gaining new insights into customers. Built to help support the delivery of customer-facing roles, this type of CRM can be used to automate tasks for sales, marketing, and customer service teams.


What are the 3 types of CRM?

What does operational CRM typically support?



Related Terms

Kirsten Lamb
Technology Expert
Kirsten Lamb
Technology Expert

Kirsten Lamb is a freelance conversion copywriter and content marketer with a specialist focus in technology. She previously studied at Keele University and The University of Edinburgh. She has over 7 years of experience in the marketing industry and has worked with brands like Hotjar and WooCommerce, plus on the tech side of Booking.com.