CRM is the foundational building block that allows empowered consumers and connected employees to do business in ways we could not imagine just a few years ago. Historically, CRM strategies have focused around operational efficiency gains like reduced marketing costs, increased revenues from salespeople, shorter sales cycles, or better customer service productivity. Its no wonder that CRM is widely deployed in all companies – both big and small.
Today CRM is evolving, and companies are using it to support their customers in their end-to-end journeys. This customer obsession delivers business results that far exceed productivity and efficiency measures.CRM, used the right way, delivers higher levels of revenue and company profitability through winning, serving, and retaining customers.
Here is a snapshot of 4 of our top 10 trends that you should pay attention to in 2015.
Trend 1 – CRM is ripe for fragmentation. CRM technologies are 20 years old, and today much of core sales, marketing, and customer service capabilities are commoditized. CRM solutions today are chock-full of bloated features and functions which are rarely used to their full extent. We predict the demise of this category. CRM will fragment to better support end-to-end business processes. There will be a much deeper alignment between sales and marketing CRM to support lead-to-revenue management processes. Customer service CRM solutions will converge with workforce optimization and queuing and routing technologies to better support the end customer and more effectively manage agent workloads.
Trend 2 – Companies will operationalize insights from connected devices. Today, with ubiquitous connectivity, connected devices are expected to proliferate at a rate of 50 billion by 2020. We predict that insights derived from the web of connected devices (the Internet of Things, or IoT) be more greatly leveraged within CRM to offer deeply personalized engagement delivered in context, better planning and anticipation of future customer needs, proactive, and even pre-empitive service with faster resolution, lower costs in times of failure and better customer satisfaction.
Trend 3 – Companies will leverage insights for relevant experiences. Insights derived from customers and interaction data captured in CRM can be used to deliver relevant customer experiences across their life cycle. Insights from mobile data — like location — create phenomenal insights about a customer’s environment. For example, doctors in Africa link malaria medication supplies to location data, while retailers are looking at melding online and in-store experiences with deeply personalized service. We predict that companies will use insights from CRM data to acquire more profitable customers through better targeting, to reduce the cost of acquisition in the early stages of the relationship,to cross- and upsell to the right customers, and to increase wallet share through loyalty, retention, and recovery programs. They will support these activities through various analytical solutions deployed across the customer lifecycle.
Trend 4 – SaaS CRM is here to stay. After years of hype, discussion, and gradual enterprise adoption, the market for CRM SaaS is here to stay. Companies look to replace legacy CRM with SaaS solutions today at a higher rate than ever before. SaaS CRM has gained traction as it provides lower upfront costs, better flexibility, and faster time-to-value compared with traditional on-premises applications. To be successful, organizations must focus on lightweight, agile governance processes where technology management creates rules and guidelines for SaaS usage, but leaves the selection and management of the SaaS CRM application primarily to the business user.