Having worked in technology for most of my career, I’ve seen many technologies launch, become mainstream and ultimately a commonplace thing we rely on daily. However, whilst not yet commonplace, we have witnessed Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platforms undergo dramatic shifts, not only in capability but in how they are leveraged and utilised.

Why is your CRM so important?

Originally most CRMs were put in place to support essential Marketing and Sales functions; however, leading companies use them for far more than managing leads and sales funnels. Below are some of the many uses of your CRM:

  • Sales and Marketing
    Your sales team should be looking in detail at your sales pipeline to understand better where they are successful and why? For example, if your organisation resonates with certain groups, you should logically market and pitch to those groups more.
  • Customer Service
    With CRMs now interfacing with ticketing and support systems, your service teams get a fast, accurate and holistic view of all interactions between your brand and the customer. This information allows them to provide better, timely support and improve your customer’s journeys.
  • Forecasting
    CRM’s show all customer interactions with your brand from acquisition through to support. By mining this data, your team will be able to forecast likely sales and know what is needed to close them.
  • Supply Chain
    Keeping records of all interactions with your suppliers ensures better working relationships. Additionally, having ready access to historical sales data ensures you know when cyclical supply issues will occur and plan with your vendors.
  • Recruitment
    Your CRM’s features to attract customers can easily be applied to attracting the best applicants, as well as automating steps within your onboarding process.

Emerging CRM Trends

Not all CRM systems are created equal, and certainly, those targetting small and medium businesses are usually slower to adopt the newest features. That said, there are some key trends emerging that we think will start impacting businesses in 2022. These include:

  • AI is becoming mainstream
    Gartner’s CIO Agenda Survey of 2019 showed that 14% of global CIOs had implemented Artificial Intelligence somewhere within their business, and the trend continues to grow. Salesforce’s Einstein AI, for example, provides an integrated suite of tools that can start working with your data as soon as you import it. AI for CRM can analyse data, trigger workflows and ultimately provide a nuanced, tailored customer experience without requiring human interaction.
  • The importance of social media grows
    Bringing consumers into your brand’s ecosystem via social media is becoming more critical than ever, and by having a CRM in place, you can not only ensure that all these potential leads are captured but review what content captures their attention. This level of maturity is fundamental as the costs for content production grow.
  • Lower costs of entry
    The cost of CRM tools continues to fall due in part to new entrants in the market and more cash-flow friendly SaaS pricing models. We expect this model to continue well into 2022, allowing many small and medium enterprises to start adopting CRM systems. In addition, many CRM systems are building out industry-specific plug-ins and workflows, allowing these businesses to get up to speed quickly.
  • Voice integration
    Voice technology has come a long way and is now mainstream. Customers expect voice technology for search and basic workflows; however, we see CRM’s most significant voice benefit to be on the user side. For example, to have sales staff on the road be able to converse with your CRM will significantly improve user adoption, particularly when coupled with AI.
  • IoT
    As the number and mix of Internet of Things (IoT) devices continue to grow, CRM systems will inevitably make use of their data. This trend started with simple sensors such as electricity and utility readings; however, we have seen far more complex IoT systems such as crowd counters, temperature sensors and facial recognition systems entering the fray.
  • CX is key
    Ultimately for your CRM is to be successful, it needs to improve the customer experience (CX). For example, Live chat, Omni-channel customer views, and an automated knowledgebase are all potential CX improvements. These improvements ensure support costs are lowered, loyalty built, and your competitor’s barriers to entry raised.

To understand how these trends provide your organisation with opportunities to capture customers, talk to us today.

Michael Williamson