It’s no secret that Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has had an enormous impact on salespeople in the past few years. Traditionally, sales staff have used CRMs as little more than glorified contacts lists to look up company contacts, sales notes, and previous interactions; however, this has changed dramatically in recent times.

Modern enterprise CRM systems have become the primary tool of high performing sales teams, giving the company a holistic view of their customers and real-time, actionable insights.

As technology evolves, so must your CRM. This article explores some of the changes coming and what to expect.

1. More personalised experiences

It’s no shock that personalised messaging delivers a better response from potential customers. What has changed in recent years is customer expectations. According to Salesforce’s Connected Customer Report from 2020, 52% of customers now expect personalised offers.

Your CRM allows marketers to address personalisation issues by utilising customer data to develop offers aligned with your company goals. You can personalise at scale if you effectively collect data and insights from your customers via your CRM. 

For example, suppose a customer has shown interest in a particular product and has provided contact details. In that case, you could implement a content campaign that drip feeds content and offers over time. Their interactions with this campaign could tailor future tailored messaging.

Methods to improve this include:

  • Content is still king – People will give their data where they think they are getting something worthwhile in return. Therefore investing in research, thought leadership, and special offers pays dividends.
  • Collect more first-party data – data you directly collect via surveys, forms, and analytics is crucial. Ensure your CRM integrates with other systems to get an accurate customer view, including purchase history, raised tickets, and customer interests.
  • Be open and transparent – customers are willing to give a reasonable amount of private data for better, personalised experiences. Your privacy policy should be clear, easy to find from wherever data is collected, and frequently updated.
  • Turn on Site Tracking – tracking on your site will allow you to understand what the user is interested in and their stage in the buying journey. For example, if they are looking at pricing, a drip-feeding content campaign is less valuable than a call from your sales team.

2. Greater integration of data across the organisation

If your data lives in various silos and applications, your sales team is not getting an accurate picture. Also, If salespeople have to jump between applications and systems, you will hurt both productivity and increase its time to satisfy the customer.

There are some simple steps to improve integration:

  • Ensure an integrated CRM – pick a CRM with native compatibility or easy connection to the various systems you already use. Ensure your CRM is the single source of truth your sales team needs.
  • Annual Audits – Ensure your marketing tech stack meets your organisational and sales goals and is configured for what the business wants to achieve. For example, if your Marketing team’s buyer personas don’t align with your sales team is closing, then the misalignment is hurting your business and wasting marketing efforts.
  • Involve IT – chances are the data your sales team is screaming for exists; it just isn’t integrated. Don’t let people create ad-hoc data sets in your CRM; check with IT first. That data they are keying in may already exist elsewhere.

3. Self Service CRM

Maybe due to our digital lifestyles, there is a noticeable trend today that people prefer self-service options to contact a customer representative for simple transactions. The rise of AirtaskerUberEats and Lyft are proof of this. 

Even in traditional organisations, customers demand self-service portals for mundane tasks, relying on customer service only for more complex issues. Whilst most self-service portals are stand-alone solutions offering FAQ pages, knowledge bases, and community forums, integration into your CRM systems will be a continuing trend in 2022.

These integrations allow all staff to see the areas of interest for the customer, identify trends and tailor future product decisions around what customers want.

To facilitate this, we recommend:

  • Single login – this isn’t lead generation; you already know who they are, so after a single log into the portal, make it easy for them to download the content they need.
  • Integrate your CRM and Chat Systems – Ensure that interactions are captured by ensuring that your chat systems feed into your CRM. Many leading platforms like Salesforce and Hubspot already have their own chat solutions, making this easy.
  • Audit and unify your communication channels – make sure that all communication channels, regardless of company channel, are known and are integrated with your CRM. Your customer service people need to understand what sales are doing and vice-versa. 

4. Mobile CRM Tools

The pandemic has fast-tracked the move to decentralised work teams meaning your salespeople are often on the road to meet contacts. The growth rate of mobile CRM reflects this. Future Insight’s Mobile CRM Market Outlook predicts an annual growth rate of the mobile CRM market of 10.4% for the remainder of this decade alone.

With an effective mobile CRM, your sales, marketing and customer teams can access customer data quickly without being tied to the office. The figures are already apparent. For example, Nucleus Research’s recent CRM report showed that in North America, 65% of companies with mobile CRM tools were hitting their sales numbers instead of only 22% who do not.

With most leading CRM platforms being cloud-based SaaS tools, this trend will continue, with over 80% of CRM users now using multiple devices to interact with their CRM.

To maximise the usage of mobile CRM, we recommend:

  • Choose a mobile-friendly CRM – the days of a separate, feature-limited app are long gone. Choose a CRM that works on desktop, tablet and mobile.
  • Provide the device – Company issued devices give you control, especially on locking things down should an employee leave. Many salespeople are hesitant to install company software on personal devices. A device as a service provider can help here, allowing you to scale without large overheads.
  • Provide regular training – your CRM provider is rolling out new features periodically, so ongoing training for your staff is essential to ensure they utilise it. In addition, ensuring that new functionality does not impact your standards and workflows should be a priority for team members who manage your CRM.

How to get ready

With customers expecting digital-first, personalised experiences, organisations must be in a position to meet these needs or risk losing opportunities.

Implementing these functionalities at speed and scale is a must to ensure they integrate with your existing tools, such as SalesforceContact us to discover how we help leading organisations get the most out of their CRM and digital investments.