CRM has grown exponentially. Those who have studied about CRM will strongly agree how this software that got initially conceptualized as a ‘Basic Contact Management System’ has pushed the boundaries and transformed into a ‘Comprehensive and Integrated Business Management Solution’ (hint: new-age CRMs).
Is there any other technology that has undergone this degree of transformation? Certainly not.
In the opinion of experts like Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, over the decade, CRM has consistently showed significant trends and developments every year. And businesses who have been able to successfully leverage these in their stride have experienced tremendous growth.
So here are we, discussing the hot new flavors of CRM predicted to be seen in the year 2016. Whether you are an existing CRM user, a potential CRM buyer or just a mad CRM loyalist – these predictions should be known to you.
1. Social CRM will witness high demand
The business world has radically changed in the last decade. The baton of power has shifted from the sellers to the consumers who have ditched the old traditional channels and made social networking platforms – the new medium of customer-company interaction.
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This has made social media an essential element of customer service and initiated the demand of social CRM software. However, things are expected to heat up more in 2016.
Reason: While social customer service has come into the picture few years back, not many businesses have opted for it, thinking it is only meant for the big brands. However, the last two years have shown some startling facts about social media customer service:
– 49.5% of 18-24 year-olds dealt with a brand through social media
– 27.4% of 55+ age group also dealt with a brand through social media – (Econsultancy)
– Half of U.S. consumers used social media to ask questions, report satisfaction, or to complain-(Zendesk)
These statistics have rung an alarm in the ears of fast-growing small and medium-sized businesses, who are now planning to invest on social CRM software to successfully engage with customers on all social touchpoints.
Looking at this state of things, many industry biggies have predicted a massive demand of social CRM this year.
2. Sales agents will prefer Mobile CRM
In 2016, mobile will become a rising focus in the CRM space. It will become less of a bragging point and more of a compulsory feature for all CRMs. This trend will be driven by the demand of sales agents to access customer updates in real-time – which, until now, has been largely unavailable to them.
Also sales agents will be more more keen towards mobile CRM because of the ease of data entry. It will improve their experience and reduce manual data entry on desktops. Most importantly it will ensure that the data collected is accurate and up-to-date since the data will not be entered late into the system but picked up and recorded instantly on-the-go.
CRM vendors will have to ensure that their mobile app is easier to use and is not just a rehashed version of the desktop, without the full set of features. That is because CRMs that come across as clunky with limited functionality will be chucked out in favor of CRMs that provide slick user interface with exhaustive features.
To gain complete acceptance from the sales agents, mobile CRMs should be able to display the latest analytics and dashlets. Users should be able to extract any data from the CRM repository, transform it into actionable tasks and address customer needs in real-time.
3. Predictive Analytics will get integrated within CRMs
The year 2016 will see salespeople and marketers use predictive analytics to increase the success of their efforts. And the one solution that will come to their aid is CRM. Most leading CRM software solutions will get integrated with analytic tools and engines. This will add to the existing capabilities of the CRM.
CRM will become powerful to provide greater details about customers to sales, marketing and support professionals. Using the CRM data, marketers and salespeople will get the chance to learn, at a deeper level, about customers’ habits and behaviors. They will be able to predict what kind of product or service customers might buy next, and accordingly provide real-time offers. Inevitably, this will result into personalized customer engagement that will increase sales, improve customer relationships and reduce attrition rates.
4. CRM & IoT will come together
By the end of 2015, a significant number of businesses have embraced the Internet of Things (IoT) technology. They are streamlining and analyzing the data generated from billions of connected devices; extracting insights from the data; and trying to provide better service to the customers.
2016 will see a major advancement in this field when most of the leading CRM solutions will get intertwined with IoT. CRM platforms will cooperatively work with the data generated from smart devices; analyze it; and communicate the insights to the customer service professionals to perform real-time actions.
The end result will be excellent. It will put an end to reactive customer service and will redefine how businesses reach out to their customers. For instance, businesses will get empowered to anticipate customers needs and requirements in advance i.e. before the customers even voice it.
The combination of CRM and IoT will be a boon to the fast-growing small and medium-sized businesses who want a complete understanding of their customers to create proactive personalized customer interactions. By simply integrating IoT data within their CRMs, they will be able to create extraordinary customer relationships in no time.
5. User-friendly CRMs will become popular
In 2016, CRMs that offer great user experience will rise to the top, and so will the businesses that use them.
Traditional CRMs have fallen short of gaining 100 percent user adoption. This is one of the reasons CRM systems typically have a failure rate between 50 and 60 percent. In 50 to 60 percent cases, businesses have struggled with using CRM software and therefore have not been to able to utilize more than 25 percent of the application’s capability.
To resolve this problem, 2016 will see the rise of a new set of user-friendly customer relationship management systems that will offer the following benefits:
– Low learning curves and fast staff on-boarding
– Reduced training costs
– Greater application utilization
– Higher technology investment payback
– Less time and money spent on support/help desk services.
Looking at these five predictions one thing is clear – 2016 will be a remarkable year for CRM. While on one hand, CRMs will get embedded with analytic tools and engines, on the other hand, businesses will see two biggest technologies CRM and IoT come together.
Needless to say, all these factors collectively will accelerate the growth of CRM in the enterprise software category. In fact, Gartner has already predicted that by 2017 the value of CRM market will be approximately $38 billion – a growth rate of 61% with a 15.1% CAGR. Great isn’t it?