A customer relationship management (CRM) software leverages technology to devise strategies to analyze customer data and drive sales growth. CRM platforms achieve this feat by careful and intelligent analysis of customer interactions and data procured throughout customer lifecycles. Cloud-based CRM solutions help companies improve their customer service relationships by efficiently tracking, filtering and managing customer data in real time to offer actionable insights across multiple smart devices to close more sales and grow their businesses.
CRM, thus, has become the one-stop solution that helps businesses make data driven decisions to improve sales and boost business revenues.
Here are 10 emerging trends in CRM to look out for in 2021:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) to play a big role in successful implementation of CRM
CRM analyzes innumerable data to enable personalization of customer experiences. Various CRM tools give businesses access to data from multiple touchpoints across varied departments and channels like sales, marketing and contact centres to devise successful business strategies. Business can expect AI-powered CRM platforms to throw light on real-time customer behaviours to offer insights on buying patterns and enable possible conversions.
Salesforce had released a research report way back in 2017 which had predicted AI-backed CRM solutions to boost global business revenue by $1.1 tn by the end of 2021. AI would help CRM automate laborious and long drawn out manual tasks, thus improving the productivity of employees. AI and Machine Learning (ML) can enhance conversational options presently available with CRM platforms. Pretty soon, CRM chatbots backed up by AI would be able to predict possible questions from customers and provide additional information that might be required. AI powered CRM softwares can provide faster and better solutions, eliminating the occurrence of human errors.
- Customers Have Plenty of CRM Systems To Choose From
Salesforce leads the CRM market, but there are other players around too. Salesforce was named the top CRM provider for the 7th consecutive year by research firm International data Corporation (IDC) in its latest Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker. Forbes had earlier reported that the company had registered more than 19% marketshare in the CRM domain in 2019. But SAP, HubSpot, FreshSales, Keap, Less Annoying CRM and Zoho, to name a few, are some of the several hundreds of players around. With so many CRM platforms being available, CRM solution providers need to embrace cutting edge technologies to stay ahead of competition.
- Voice and Conversational User Interface (UI) will be integrated with CRM
Voice technology is critical to the advancement of SaaS solutions. An Adobe study on voice technology says that around 94% of users consider voice technology easy to use, and say it does more than save time – it improves their quality of life. For example, Salesforce’s Einstein Voice Assistant help sales personnel track customer data faster and update their teams about the same. SAP, another CRM solution provider, too has embraced voice technology. More CRM solution providers are expected to follow suit and incorporate voice technology into their operational processes and interfaces.
- CRM Will Join Hands with IoT Technologies
Experts expect IoT to redefine CRM activities in future. TechJury says the world would be flooded with more than 64 billion IoT devices by 2025 which may range from smart home devices to wearable health monitors to cyber security scanners. Companies are increasingly using data generated from IoT solutions to improve overall customer experiences. Embracing IoT will offer CRM platforms deep insights into customer usage and behaviour to devise personalized marketing strategies while providing enhanced customer support.
For example, IoT devices can report on performance and maintenance issues to companies while CRM softwares powered by IoT can proactively and meticulously help companies detect product performance issues and identify potential problems with customer satisfaction, thus providing predictive maintenance. Customers would thus be able to leverage IoT devices to inform companies on performance issues of the product. Thus customer engagement stands to strongly benefit from the merging of IoT and CRM technologies.
- Customer Experience (CX) Will Continue To Be An Integral Part Of CRM
CX will continue to determine the future of CRM. Salesforce’s “State Of the Connected” report that surveyed 80000 customers across 16 nations and was published last year says 84% of customers feel the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. CX, therefore, is critical to both the businesses that use CRM as well as their clients.
Ease of use would be the key feature of future CRM systems. This, in turn, would ensure more personalized customer support as the CRM system would be empowered with capabilities to provide the right content that meets customer requirements and guide them further ahead into the marketing funnel. Thus future CRM systems are likely to enable targeted selection and intelligent segmentation. A CRM functionality that would even help sales and customer service personnel initiate customer contact is also a future possibility.
- Mobile CRM Will Be On the Rise
The advent of smartphones has redefined the way businesses conduct their operations. CRM technologies too have evolved to keep up with the ever changing trends in the digital world. Work from home having become the norm of the day, CRM resources need to be accessed online by all stakeholders concerned. This calls for compact CRM resources with easy online-offline interchangeable capabilities. With sales personnel being more on the road than they are ever in the office, more mobile compatible CRM features are expected to hit the market to meet the ever increasing communication needs of the end customers.
- Growing Relevance of Self – Service
Automation-enabled self-service is an emerging trend in the CRM world. Chatbots are increasingly engaged to minimize manual management tasks. These chatbots are programmed to engage customers, ask questions, sum up details and provide the end users with more personalized content. The synergy between automation and CRM has enabled chatbots to complete more contact management tasks without any human interference on the part of sales team members. CRM platforms like Drift and HubSpot are examples of CRM platforms that provide chatbots that can automatically guide prospects through marketing and sales pipelines, gather data, ask questions, and provide more personalized content.
Self-service ensures that the customers get quicker answers with little or no effort on the part of the company employees. Automation renders interaction, engagement and management tasks much easier for businesses. The chatbots of Drift and HubSpot guide customers and prospects through the right channels to provide actionable insights.
- Social CRM to Be On The Rise
Social CRM is the integration of social media channels into CRM platforms. When social media joins hands with CRM platforms, companies get to draw more powerful insights from social media posts while gaining a better understanding of brand perception in general. Companies can leverage social CRM to build better rapport with customers, both existing and potential, by providing timely and thoughtful responses to comments posted. CRM is expected to delve deeper into social networking as it will serve to provide one-on-one interactions with all stakeholders. Adopting social CRM would enable businesses to understand better how their products and services are perceived by their clients, give quicker answers to queries and make appropriate changes to their offerings, if necessary. It would also serve to clear any misconceptions that clients may have of the products or services offered. In short, embracing social CRM would help businesses generate more leads, win more customers and retain them.
- More Integration of CRM with Other Processes
CRM software uses data from as many as 12 sources for its functioning. Future CRM platforms would definitely go for advanced integration with multiple data sources and other third party applications to draw more insights on consumers while improving the functionality of their software. For example, integration with marketing automation and analytical tools would help CRM platforms track and analyze external interactions with consumers. Similarly, integration with various accounting tools would help businesses streamline the billing process and implement customer segmentation better. As already stated, integration with IoT devices would give CRM platforms access to voluminous data on consumer usage to offer better customer support and formulate personalized marketing strategies.
- Analytics Would Be an Integral Part of CRM
Advanced analytical tools help companies identify challenges and find solutions to meet them. This is achieved by analyzing data in real-time and reporting on it. Advanced analytics backed up by CRM processes would offer actionable insights on sales pipelines, lead generation and customer satisfaction. Most businesses have come to accept that CRM Analytics are integral to their growth in more ways than one.
The global customer relationship management market is estimated to reach US$ 114.4 bn by 2027, says a newly published research report by Grand View Research, Inc. The rising adoption of CRM platforms among businesses across various industries can be attributed to the growing demand for analyzing data to drive better customer experiences. CRM’s integration with big data and AI powered analytics are expected to help improve customer experiences by leaps and bounds. Reduced marketing costs and shorter sales cycles have also contributed to the increased adoption of CRM software.
Infographics : How CRM and Data can Elevate Your Customer Experience
In short, automation and easy usability are expected to help CRM platforms grow considerably in 2021. The CRM analytics segment is anticipated to register the highest CAGR in the coming years owing to the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning along with growing integration of business intelligence and analytics in CRM software. Integration with other tech capabilities will help companies improve their revenues and grow their customer data base with the help of CRM platforms.