Entrepreneurs in various industries know about Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and software membership solutions, but what is the difference between CRM and Membership Management? 

Many fledgling business owners need the answer to this question as they don’t want to invest in two SaaS packages. 

What Is The Difference Between CRM And Membership Management? 

The difference between CRM and Membership Management software solutions is their target demographic (customers or members) for automating processes and streamlining. 

But that’s just the surface-level answer to “What is the difference between CRM and Membership Management?” 

CRM systems are developed to manage relationships with customers and prospects across the entire customer lifecycle. In comparison, membership management systems are created to manage memberships, subscriptions, and more. 

Let’s highlight the major differences between the two by discussing their major defining elements. 


A CRM system’s primary focus is managing interactions with current and potential clients. 

CRMs are designed to track customer interactions across various communication channels, such as email, phone calls, social media, and website visits. 

By gathering this valuable data, you can use some of the critical features of your CRM system, which may include:

  1. Contact management
  2. Lead generation management
  3. Sales pipeline tracking
  4. Email integration
  5. Reporting
  6. Gathering analytics
  7. And marketing automation.

Companies use CRM systems in their sales, marketing, and customer service departments. The benefits are streamlined processes and improved efficiencies regarding managing customer relations. 

Now that we’ve reviewed what CRM systems do, let’s look at membership management software. 

Membership Management

When creating a membership business, membership management systems allow you to manage your members, subscriptions, and community engagement in forums. 

Membership management software providers target specific organizations that have membership or subscription elements to the product or service. These organizations may include:

  • Online membership sites
  • Trade associations
  • Clubs (gyms, country clubs, corporate, political and more)
  • Nonprofits (charities, advocacy groups, foundations, and more) 
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Educational institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities. 

These organizations use membership management software to help with membership registration, renewals, payment processing, event management, communication, and storing members’ personal information. 

Member management is about nurturing relationships with these clients, providing them with benefits and services while creating a sense of belonging to the organization or community.

Now that we’ve answered what the difference between CRM and membership management is, let’s focus on the three distinctive types of CRM. 

What Are The 3 Types Of CRM?

The three main types of CRM systems are:

  • Operational CRM
  • Analytical CRM
  • And collaborative CRM. 

Each of these CRM types focuses on a single aspect, ensuring that the overall process is streamlined and efficient. 

Operational CRM

The main focus of operational CRM is on automating and improving customer-facing processes, including sales, marketing, and service automation. 

Other features included are contact management, lead management, opportunity management, email marketing, and customer support ticketing. 

The primary goal of operational CRM is to streamline and optimize customer interactions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Analytical CRM

Analytical CRM analyzes customer data to gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. This involves gathering and analyzing data from various sources, such as:

  • Sales transactions
  • Customer interactions
  • And marketing campaigns

Analytical CRM tools often include data mining, predictive analytics, and customer segmentation capabilities to help businesses better understand their customers and make data-driven decisions.

Collaborative CRM

Collaborative CRM focuses on helping communications and collaboration between different organizational departments to serve customers better.

These collaborations involve sharing customer information and interactions across departments such as sales, marketing, and customer service to provide a unified and consistent customer experience.

Collaborative CRM systems often include features such as shared customer databases, communication tools, and workflow automation to ensure seamless collaboration across teams.

Read next: How Do You Keep Track Of Membership Dues?