Customer relationship management (CRM) has been around for a long time, with software innovations in the late 1980’s and 1990’s permanently revolutionizing the world of sales. Today, we’re at an interesting point in history. Mobile browsing has overtaken desktop browsing as the primary means of accessing the internet. Social media provides new ways of reaching out to customers, as well as gaining new information and insights about individuals and demographic groups. Big data allows Software Development Companies to gain unprecedented knowledge about consumer behavior, which can be implemented to further refine sales and marketing strategies.
CRM software continues to grow and evolve. These five trends are on the rise in 2016, and are expected to continue into the future.
1) The “Big 4” Won’t Be the Only Players
When it comes to CRM software, a handful of key players hold the vast majority of the market share. Salesforce dominates, capturing about a third of CRM users. Overall, the “big four” currently make up 75% of the market: Salesforce, Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics. However, this could very well change in the near future.
For the most part, the Big Four CRMs target their marketing efforts toward large enterprises. But CRMs are indispensable for quite a few types of company, like that- Software Development, Digital Marketing etc. and many of which fall at the lower end of the revenue spectrum. The majority of CRM users work at companies with less than $10 million in annual revenue. Yet, the Big Four services aren’t exactly inexpensive. It’s quite possible that as newer, smaller CRM options emerge, smaller companies will begin to gravitate toward low-cost or even freemium alternatives.
Software Development, Digital Marketing Companies spend an average of $150 per user per month on the Big Four CRM systems. A full 61% spend at least $50. But recently, new competitors have entered the market, with features and pricing aimed at smaller companies. Less well-known CRMs like Base and High-rise have some serious appeal for small to midsize companies. Many of them have offerings that come out to less than $25/user/month. They’re also designed to be more user-friendly than the Big Four, with a gentler learning curve. For newer businesses with tight budgets, there are even free and open source CRMs with reasonably priced paid versions.
2) Mobile CRM Won’t Be Optional Anymore
Ever since the iPhone apps development revolutionized the world of cell phones back in 2007, we’ve been in the midst of an ongoing exodus from desktop to mobile. This trend is nearly universal, and it’s been observed throughout the world. While it was slow to start, it’s currently in full force.
Back in 2009, only 1% of internet traffic came from mobile devices. The iPhone mobile was still an expensive luxury, and most people still had flip phones running on Symbian. But by 2013, mobile traffic jumped up to 13%, and today, mobile represents a full 65% of screen time. When was the last time you saw a mobile phone that wasn’t a smartphone? Affordable, ubiquitous smartphones and tablets have caused a radical shift in the way people consume online Enterprise Video and media.
As mobile has taken over, it’s no longer an afterthought. It’s central to the internet as a whole, and for companies, it’s changing the way they do business. Sales teams need easy, immediate access to the information contained in CRMs, and today, there’s an ongoing push toward mobile. In the past, mobile CRM apps were a stripped-down version of their desktop equivalent, without a full range of features. But in 2016 and beyond, CRM mobile application will continue to become more sophisticated. They can even integrate features that are specific to mobile, like Application Integration, Cloud Integration with Google Maps or with note-taking apps like Google Keep.
With mobile application versions of CRMs that actually work well, sales teams can update and synchronize information in real time, from anywhere in the world. No longer chained to a desktop, a simple tablet or smartphone that fits in a pocket can have full access to the system. Along with mobile application compatibility, cloud storage is also becoming the norm. Instead of relying on synchronizing data that’s locally stored, cloud storage can be accessed live from any device or location. Teams can collaborate together despite being thousands of miles apart, and information can be instantly updated.
3) CRM Will Get More Social
Years ago, in the mid- to late 2000s, social media was the domain of teenagers and college students. But today, social media is ubiquitous. Everyone uses it, from elderly grandmothers to twelve year old children. Recent research has shown that 46% of consumers use social media when they’re making a purchase decision. Facebook dominates by a long shot, with Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest trailing behind. But in 2016, there’s no question that social media is an important channel for sales and marketing.
Reaching out to customers on social media is a valuable strategy for businesses across a wide range of industries, offering promising new potential for CRMs. The idea of “social CRM” isn’t all that new; in fact, it was in use as early as 2010. But today, the idea is coming to full fruition.
By monitoring consumers across social media networks, Mobile App Development and Software Development companies can cultivate a more personalized relationship with their customers. The information that people make public online can be quite valuable — demographic information, living situations, relationship status, even income level. By looking at what people are saying on social media, and by analyzing the vast amounts of data that social media platforms make available, businesses can reach out to their customer base in strategic ways that further their sales goals and marketing efforts.
4) CRMs Will Take Advantage of Big Data Analytics
In the business world, “big data” has been a buzzword for quite some time now. As evolving internet technologies make vast amounts of information available in real time, a careful analysis of these massive quantities of data can help inform strategic decisions. By Application integration, big data into their CRM processes, companies can calculate ROI more accurately, obtain more detailed insights into customer behavior, improve customer service, and meet many other important goals.
This involves integrating CRM data with customer data available in other places, such as social media platforms. Collecting, categorizing, and analyzing this data is a lofty task, but when achieved, big data analysis is an immensely powerful tool for better understanding and catering to a company’s customers.
5) CRM Software’s will evolve to Map Customer Journeys over Multiple Channels
Figuring out where your sales are coming from isn’t a simple and straight forward task. Today’s consumers interact with brands across a variety of devices and channels. With so much information available online, customers engage in extensive research before making a purchase decision. They read online reviews, look at social media activity, watch product demo videos, and chat with sales reps through a website. There are quite a few potential paths that customers can take that ultimately result in them buying your product or service.
2016 will bring tighter integrations with other software systems that map customer technologies, making it easier to find out specifically where a sale ultimately came from. This multi-channel consumer data also enables brands to offer increasingly personalized advertisements and sales pitches to individual people.
6) Seamless Integration Will Be the New Norm
Businesses often use a variety of software platforms to handle different functions and achieve different goals. CRMs will increasingly integrate with other types of software like ecommerce platforms, marketing automation software, accounting systems, and analytics software. Rather than manually transferring large amounts of data from one software system to another, CRMs will integrate natively with other commonly used software. This efficient approach helps companies streamline and combine their efforts across different channels, and eventually, CRMs may merge with these other types of software into comprehensive all-in-one systems that handle a variety of tasks.
The Future of CRM
CRM softwares will continue to develop into the future, adapting themselves to ongoing changes in the ways that people consume information. As mobile becomes that primary way that people access the internet, CRM tablet and smartphone apps will become more complete and more feature-risk, rather than being a stripped-down version of the desktop application. Integration will also be a major theme, with CRMs increasingly incorporating both social media insights and native integration with other enterprise software. As we move into an increasingly mobile and connected world, with access to massive amounts of “big data,” CRMs will ultimately be able to help companies better personalize and individualize their sales offerings.