3 Crucial Business Trends to Plan for in 2014


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Business professors Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad have written about an experiment that was conducted with a group of monkeys.  It is a vivid story of failure.

Four monkeys were placed in a room that had a tall pole in the center.  Suspended from the top of that pole was a bunch of bananas.  One of the hungry monkeys started climbing the pole to get something to eat, but just as he reached out to grab a banana, he was doused with a torrent of cold water.  Squealing, he scampered down the pole and abandoned his attempt to feed himself.  Each monkey made a similar attempt, and each one was drenched with cold water.  After making several attempts, they finally gave up.

Then researchers removed one of the monkeys from the room and replaced him with a new monkey.  As the newcomer began to climb the pole, the other three grabbed him and pulled him down to the ground.  After trying to climb the pole several times and being dragged down by the others, he finally gave up and never attempted to climb the pole again.

The researchers replaced the original monkeys, one by one, and each time a new monkey was brought in, he would be dragged down by the others before he could reach the bananas.  In time, the room was filed with monkeys who had never received a cold shower.  None of them would climb the pole, but not one of them knew why. 

The moral of the story?

Many businesses are like these monkeys.  They have procedures and processes in place that hinder growth, and cannot even remember why they were put in place.  They have developed security to protect their users from every sort of cyber attack that prevents the users from being able to function in their daily work lives.  Every time a new user comes along and starts climbing the technology pole, touting the latest and greatest gadget, they are dragged down and told “that won’t work here.”

What has to work?

There are several trends in CRM, but 3 are crucial for companies to add to their plans and budget for 2014.   They are:

1) The push toward mobile access to CRM data

I have read recently that mobile is an up and coming trend.  That is wrong.  Mobile is a current trend.  It is a multi-billion dollar industry.  The trend is here, and companies need to harness this technology to deliver real-time data to their users anytime, anywhere. 

2) Access to key customer data and trends through your CRM system

CRM is not a management tool, it is a tool for those in the trenches.  That being said, like a weapon without bullets, or a automobile without gasoline, CRM is useless to sales people if it does not contain key customer purchasing data and buying trends.

3) Increased collaboration 

CRM is useful to those using it; however, as a collaboration tool (between sales, support, service and marketing) it is useless unless it becomes a natural part of everyday life for all users.  The push in 2014 is true enterprise-wide collaboration though CRM.


Navigating the road blocks to expanding into mobile, and integrating key data sources into CRM may seem daunting.  It may be that, like the monkeys, your company has pulled anyone that mentioned the idea off of the pole to protect them from a cold shower.  However, to survive, businesses must squash their fears, change their policies, and move into the age of CRM collaboration and customer enlightenment.

What is your company doing about these three crucial trends?  Email me your comments: [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you.

Luke Russell
Luke Russell has been CRM consultant since 1998. He has personally consulted with hundreds of organizations, and has a strong success record for CRM implementation and results. During this time, he has worked with customers to achieve such lofty goals as higher quote win ratios, larger average order size, more effective follow-up, reduced cost of administration, increased customer retention, and expanded cross-sales into existing customers; to name a few. Luke is the founder of Resolv, Inc.


  1. I agree with all three points, especially the last one. The sales vs marketing debate is age-old and it’s surprising that it’s still not eliminated. Agile CRM integrates sales and marketing and has provided great results so far. However, there exists divide between sales and every other department as well! A CRM could really function as a backbone to a company when implemented efficiently. And of course, like you said, everyone should be using it on a daily basis and get comfortable with it to provide proper results and smooth functionality.


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