Six Crucial CRM Trends Impacting Your Future Business Performance

Forbes recently stated that marketing’s new role is to manage and retain relationships. The organization’s new role is to focus on relationships and CRM is the model and technologies that helps organizations to put the customer at the center. For many Firms, competitive advantage is everything. There is no time to be inefficient, especially with your customer-facing activities. With customer contact enabled through so many diverse channels, from call centre to on-line, e-mail and social media, a single joined-up customer contact management system is essential. So what are the six CRM trends that are and will impact your future business performance?.

Paul Anderson, a CRM consultant from California, did a great job at describing the six  CRM trends, and these are:

1.Rise of social CRM

The growing popularity of social media has made it important for businesses to study its trends in order to understand the changing mindset of customers. Many organizations have already adopted policies to monitor and maintain their social profiles. Integration of social media to customer management application is therefore an important trend to follow. Social CRM (SCRM) is to help with:

  • Monitoring customer reactions
  • Generating leads
  • Improving customer relationship with brand
  • Improving customer interaction and therefore, loyalty
  • Brand promotion and management
  • Quick and timely customer service

2.Customer experience

Too much automation of sales process has alienated many businesses from their customers. Though online commerce is convenience customers are increasingly missing the human touch of brick and mortar establishments. The changing trends are showing that once again businesses are looking for solutions to improving peer-to-peer relationships with their customers.

Delivering the goods or service no longer ends the transaction with customer. Rather, it starts a long term relationship with the client that will ensure their loyalty and create scopes for up-selling and cross-selling.

3.Mobile CRM

In the growing tablet market driven by Apple, Android, Windows and a myriad of other operating systems there is a robust demand for creating portable mobile device applications. Further, cloud computing has facilitated availability and accessibility of data across time zones and geographical locations. You can now constantly stay in touch with your clients from any part of the world.

4.Growth of SaaS solutions

Software-as-a-service or business process-as-a-service (BPaaS) is offering a healthy challenge to proprietary CRM products. According to a study by Gartner 35% of customer software implementations in 2012 had used SaaS services.

The growing popularity of SaaS CRM is mainly due to:

  • Elimination of hardware and software requirements
  • Easy CRM customization solutions
  • Cost advantages over on-premise products
  • Quick and timely deployment
  • Accessibility, agility and portability
  • Integration solutions with other BI applications

5.Data governance in SaaS CRM

Organizations, adopting SaaS solutions will also recognize that it is not only an alternative to traditional, on-premise solutions. Rather, a complete new set of policies need to be devised for the unique characteristics of SaaS services. The areas that would demand attention are:

  • Vendor selection
  • Service-level-agreement
  • Risk tolerance
  • Data backup & disaster recovery
  • Organizational skill and IT maturity
  • Cross-border data portability governance

6.Marketing tool integration

An increasing number of companies demand their CRMs to perform as a complete sales tool and therefore, the vendors have integrated the marketing platform with the customer management application. Services like email collaboration, voice/text integrations, email campaigns now can be operated from the CRM interface.

Customer experience is key

Of all these six trends, in my opinion the customer experience is key, because it is a sustainable and hard to copy innovation type that is supported by CRM technologies.

The other aspect is that when you want to create great customer experiences, you need to start with your employees. That part, easy use of technology can be read between the lines in the six trends. The usability and action on data is paramount to improving the business performance with your human capital.

Which of the six trends do you think is the most important?.