What’s Next in the World of CRM? 2016 Predictions
The popular saying by Abraham Lincoln states: “ The best way to predict future is to create it.” So, with 2015 almost behind us, it's time to start ramping up for the new year. As the consumer preferences and expectations are growing just as quickly as advancements in technology, CRM leaders forecast the software will continue to evolve across various forms including social, cloud, mobile, and become even more industry-specific solution. To provide you with some direction, we asked CRM experts to give us their thoughts on what's coming down the pike in 2016.
How will Customers of the Upcoming Year Change?
Customers are changing the landscape of the entire industries faster than many companies can keep up. In today’s world, they become more demanding about everything and want to be reached in the personalized and unique way. Seasoned CRM expert and the owner of Everywhere Business Tools, Nick Bird, emphasizes that clients are already light years ahead of the companies.
He points out that “the model for the business of the future is the medieval craftsman of the past who was embedded in their community. The challenge is to have this one to one crafted experience with a billion people. That is where technology comes in. But it starts with having the soul and ethics of the village blacksmith who lived by delivering value to his community.”
Today, consumers are looking for consistent multi-channel experience. Furthermore, viewing social media as a conversational medium, the users have high expectations of companies to reply swiftly, for the interactions to be fluid, and in real time. The marketing director at Preact CRM, Warren Butler, agrees that with brands and suppliers, the clients want increasingly responsive action via their social networks. Accordingly, he states: “ We foresee an increase in demanding expectations of service delivery through customers’ favoured channels.”
Is Predictive Analytics Next Big Data Trend?
With more data flowing into CRM from multiple sources including marketing automation, accounting and transactions, it increases the challenge to interpret, gain insight and ultimately react. So, that’s when we start talking about developing a new trend of predictive analytics capabilities being integrated into CRM. As it is planning to become more powerful and cheaper tool in the future, businesses will have the opportunity to take advantages from:
- using existing data to vastly improve critical one-on-one interactions with customers
- generating additional sales when clients contact you by analyzing incoming data in real time
- CRM apps and predictive analytics tools are connected more closely with social media platform that helps businesses leverage information gathered from customers
With the growing interest in predictive analytics, David Waring, a co-founder of FitSmallBusiness.com and Marc Waring Ventures, provides an interesting example and says that “done correctly, predictive analytics can reach a client naturally in their purchasing process. So if a typical sales cycle is 4 weeks and the customer tends to purchase every 3 months, scheduling a phone call two months after their purchasing decision makes a lot of sense. A salesperson might have hundreds of clients, all of whom purchase at different intervals.”
As you see, CRM is moving toward “systems of engagement” that use predictive analytics to cut through the big data noise to uncover actionable customer insights.
What are the Expectations of CRM Integrations?
Lately, rather than spending hours downloading and uploading CSVs of data from one system to another, CRM users will demand that their provider builds these native integrations with other platforms to make them more efficient. And if the clients are not satisfied, they will switch systems, finding one that works better with their existing infrastructure. So, in order to avoid such undesired outcome, consider the future updates:
- the integrations will be replaced by all-in-one software platforms that truly marry the needs of sales and marketing
- deeper connections between phones and CRM software: the ability to see recordings and text transcripts of calls automatically being pulled into CRM systems
- the improved social integration: all interactions will be converted into CRM records including leads, service cases or even opportunities for a fully connected experience
A managing director at Navigate Consulting Ltd. and a seasoned CRM strategist and consultant, Nick Baggott, agrees that social CRM is a future guide. However, he also highlights that “sentiment trackers are improving, but still have a long way to go. I would expect some giant leaps forward in sentiment tracking, not just in terms of spotting comments, but accurately turning the text into data that makes sense to you for brand planning purposes.”
By and large, an integration will be essential for companies that want to leverage their CRM systems to offer a better and more holistic customer experience.
Which CRM trend is Going to Evolve in 2016?
There is no question that different trends are shaping the future of CRM, so check out which features will be the most buzzed about in the year ahead:
Content marketing is still the key to success. Focus on developing engaging content that people will share and you will not be far away from success. - David Waring
Sales insight by far; companies are looking increasingly to reduce the cost of sales and this can only be done by being able to focus on segments of the market with the highest rates of success. - John Metric, the senior program manager at Linux Foundation.
I guess that marketing automation will be more and more on the roadmap for 2016 as it’s the glue between sales and service automation making the Digital Customer Experience a reality for many businesses. - Fabrice Cathala, a seasoned IT professional and experienced Salesforce architect.
I don't think anyone CRM trend is going to 'lead' others in 2016, unless we count the growing diversity of CRM options and features. CRM grew up with large sales teams, but it's being used by more businesses than ever, all of which have different needs. An independent field service contractor, a small accounting firm, and an aspiring tech startup are all going to want very different things from a CRM. - Nick Baggott
To sum up, there will be no rest in the times ahead. The beginning of the new year is a busy time, but it is full of the exciting and fresh crop of opportunities to consider.
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