Today, without proper knowledge, one can struggle to differentiate marketing from advanced technology. Although, it did not start like this. Marketing as we know it was down to sellers trying to inform buyers what they have for sale.
Nowadays, what, how, when, and where a buyer is going to make a purchase can be predicted with almost 80% accuracy. Put simply, there has been a paradigm shift and from all indications, more is still to come.
We examine the current observable CRM marketing trends in the world of today and we speculate what CRM marketing would look like in the nearest future.
MARKETING AND THE NEED FOR FOR CRM
Customer relationship management involves all processes and activities involving the management of interactions with existing and prospective customers throughout the sales process or customer lifecycle. Once customer information is entered into the CRM system, then every information obtained via any touchpoint (i.e buying patterns, customer experience, how they interact with business ads, etc) helps you to cater to their needs, market smarter and build better relationships.
Considering the sheer volume of customer data, online channels, and varying customer behaviors as well as the speculated increase in the foreseeable future, keeping a tab of all these things is a very tough task.
What CRM marketing offers is simply a centralized customer data repository where data can be pulled from or added so as to assist marketers in increasing lead flow, conversion rate, and improving customer service. More specifically, an organized platform for extracting and monitoring customer data, marketing insights, and sales.
Marketing campaigns have become super efficient as targeting customers and keeping up with them just got super easy due to the fact that all customer’s information is in the same place thus allowing you to find and access any information you need on customers and prospects at any point in time.
CRM marketing also helps members of both the sales and marketing team of a company to work together on the same platform to help nurture the leads and achieve all organizational goals.
Modern-day CRM marketing has made it quite easy to make more sales promoting content, more accurate decisions about new campaigns, services, products, and content. Now more than ever, CRM marketing plays a vital role in business growth and expansion.
MAJOR CRM TRENDS
Ranging from the fact that 84% of customers value the experience they get just as much if not more than the product or service which a company renders to the projected increase in AI (Artificial Intelligence) use cases or the fact that social media interactions make people more likely to make purchases or patronize businesses, CRM marketing has revolutionized the world of marketing.
Customer satisfaction has also just recently surpassed customer experience as the leading determinants for an excellent customer relationship. CRM marketing is experiencing a strong wave of changes and trends. This is good news however as it’ll ultimately lead to stiff competition and ultimately better satisfaction.
In fact, CRM marketing has moved past just tools and software used for customer contact management to become systems that keep everyone in an organization in the know of everything about the customer lifecycle and project management tools that helps to monitor project progress, status reports tasks, time and other deliverables throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
Research as well as the opinions of industry experts backed by data has identified the following trends in the CRM marketing space and predicted the future trends as well, helping us paint a vivid picture of what the world of CRM will look like in the coming years:
1. CUSTOMER SUPPORT HAS TILTED TOWARDS SELF-SERVICE
Data has shown that customers simply want to get more done by themselves. They simply want to be in control of most of the things they want from a business. In fact, self-service is often the first form of contact customers make with companies. Rather than speak to a seller agent most times, customers tend to want to self-educate about a particular product /service. They access self-service content and processes more than agent-assisted channels. This may be as a result of the search for authenticity and quality or perhaps the need to find out all the important things about the goods and services they’re about to purchase.
As a result of this, it makes sense for businesses to ensure that the most likely information that potential customers may need about a company’s a product/services are easily accessible and give the customers a give good experience.
There is an upward trend in the investments of companies in numerous self-service technologies and marketing resource management solutions for tracking knowledge management, creating chat-bots, tracking marketing outcomes amongst many other reasons.
2. UNIFIED CRMs INCREASE ROLE BASED CRMs
To fully harness the purpose for which CRM is intended, most companies have now begun turning to Unified CRM as it helps to combine all kinds of business functions. Content management, project management, sales, and marketing are simply done on a central data platform. This helps to streamline internal processes, increase efficiency while automating manual tasks, and storing customer information at the same time. Businesses and industry expert opinions claim this strategy has helped to create a better customer experience culminating in business growth.
This points to one clear fact; that the future of CRM is ultimately driven by the vision of seamless customer operations and creating the most exciting customer experience not only requires businesses thinking about the customer but also about how their own operations can be more efficient and easy. After all, they need to be in the best position to provide the best services.
3. AI IS THE FUTURE
The whole idea behind AI is that machines are able to simulate human intelligence and carry out tasks that require the same without human intervention. The beauty of it is for machines to be able to carry out tasks that you would rather perform with every touch of precision, accuracy, and more importantly humanity.
Now, if the aim of CRM is clearly examined, you’ll see that there is every need to be able to dig into your customer’s head and think just like them to be able to know their most likely choices and the factors responsible for those choices.
These two phenomena clearly have some similarities and this has been picked up in the present day CRM space as AI now helps to do all of that; Machines help companies to simulate the customer’s intelligence (thinking) using the information of past choices of products, contents and behavioral patterns (joe said customers interact with marketing campaigns, content, etc). AI is being used to form customer personas very close to the actual customers and from there better decisions are made about the customers; The right content and products find their way to the right customers seamlessly with the help of AI.
AI helps to create personalized customer experiences, real-time website visitor analysis, social media data analysis, and marketing campaign optimization. This is the story of CRM marketing today and from all indications, it can only get better and more efficient as the years go by.
4. PERSONALIZATION CANNOT BE OVEREMPHASIZED; IT FORMS THE BASIS OF QUALITY ONE-ON-ONE INTERACTIONS
CRM personalization is experiencing an uptrend and the reasons are not far-fetched; Customers want to be treated like Royalty! Like they matter and yes they do matter. A large percentage of customers across different business niches are willing to share personal information for the purpose of contextual engagement with businesses. Apparently, forming “close” relationships or rather “seemingly close relationships” with the business or business owners is one of the key means of getting personalized discounts that customers love. As a result of this, it is expected that personalization will form a major aspect of CRM marketing in the nearest future as already evident in millennial tools like Agile CRM.
5. DATA, DATA, AND MORE DATA
In that, customer relationships right from the outset are solely based on making marketing and business decisions based on data. Data has always been a pre-requisite to customer insights and hence services. However, most of the data used in the past has always been structured data such as preferred products, contact information, etc. As of today, however, Big data techniques are tilting the focus towards using emerging technologies in the field to gather and analyze a lot of unstructured data that customers aren’t even aware they provide to gain additional insights. In the nearest future, we can only imagine seeing more data use cases in the field of CRM to further increase customer satisfaction.
6. MOBILE CRM IS BEGINNING TO TAKE CENTER STAGE
It is no longer news that “Remote is the future of work”. With the increase in the rate at which companies employ remote workers, mobile CRM has actually come to stay for a long time in that it promises to ensure increased user adoption, increased employee productivity, and improved customer relationship amongst other things.
It is expected that most (if not all) CRM systems will be moving to mobile platforms in the coming years. Adequate project management through easy monitoring of status reports, tasks, and other deliverables leading to greater efficiency are the benefits.
7. CRM IS NO LONGER CHANNEL SPECIFIC
Achieving customer satisfaction is a really tricky task. Engaging your customers and seeking to make contact in the context they need is very stressful for the average sales rep or customer agent as different messages might be coming in from different channels ranging from text to the different social media platforms. Hence, to get the best out of your workers so as to ultimately give your customers the best customer satisfaction and experience, consolidating all the different communication channels on a single platform is the best thing to do and it is fast becoming the order of the day in the world of CRM marketing.
EXPERT OPINIONS ON WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Marketing specialists, business owners and sales personnel can all agree that obtaining the best customer experience via CRM marketing in the near future is going to be highly dependent on the trends highlighted above. Data, mobile-friendliness, one-on-one interactions, and many more will determine what sets one CRM platform apart from the others.
J. P. Saunders an independent CRM expert in his “busting 10 myths of CX” series claim that data management is crucial to delivering personalized experiences, and that investing in the internet of things created better customer experiences to name a few of the myths. This further reinforces the trends observed earlier.
Matt Kresch, another specialist also emphasizes the need for a multichannel notifications strategy to increase the efficiency of workers and build better customer experiences for the customers. This is yet another case of some of the trends earlier stated.
Marshall Lager, CRM influencer, and customer experience analyst also share a point of view that AI and ML are only as good as their underlying data. In fact, he specifically emphasized how everything can go bad with AI especially.
In all, industry experts continuously emphasize the need for businesses to gather insights from all possible means to adequately understand what the customer wants, how the business intends to get it across to them, and finally, how doing these two can be done with more efficiency and less strength.
Starting from the continuous emphasis on more specific interactions with users, to the continuous use of data for truly understanding customer behaviors and the continuous emphasis on mobile-friendliness amongst other observable trends in the field of CRM marketing, a very clear fact is that, the future of CRM marketing promises to reach a point where customers can get just the exact things they need from businesses be it products, content or relationships. The trends have indicated that in the nearest foreseeable future, customer satisfaction is going to be at its maximum, and more importantly, business growth is going to be massive as a result.
Every now and then, the marketing industry and more specifically the CRM marketing industry continuously discovers and comes up with new ways of satisfying customers. After all, business owners want to stay ahead of the competition by keeping the customers happy. However, that and that alone is what it should be! ; Being willing to go the extra mile for the specific purpose of ensuring customer satisfaction.
Sometimes the continuously emerging CRM trends might get businesses all caught up thus affecting the initial goals of the company leaving them changing goals to fit the trends. It should be noted that emerging trends are just a means to an end which is customer satisfaction for the purpose of business growth.