What is the Future of CRM?
As 2018 winds down, many business owners like you are evaluating the past year and planning for 2019. This is a smart time to look at the future of CRM and what it might mean for your business processes, because CRM is a tool for moving you forward that, like most technology, continues to innovate.
2019 CRM Trends
Barton Goldenberg recently outlined developing trends in CRM when he was featured on a bpm’online webinar. Goldenberg, a CRM pioneer and futurist, is founder and president of ISM, Inc. Here are the trends he shared:
- AI (artificial intelligence) is being embedded in CRM to enhance functionality. Goldenberg sees this being used in predictive leads scoring, sales forecasting, product service recommendations for individual customers, and more.
- Process automation is increasing, and it’s about more than customer contact information. “Process is where CRM starts,” says Goldenberg. How can you go from an “as-is” process to a “to-be” process? Efficiency is key. Having it built into your system is something customers expect. (Note: bpm'online does an outstanding job of this.)
- IoT (the internet of things) is enhancing the customer experience. What if each item variation in your product line had its own IoT tab? How much better might your customers' experiences be when items can be located and delivered efficiently?
- Personalization possibilities are growing. Gone are the days when everyone is equal, from your CRM system users to the customers you serve. How do your team members need it to perform?
- Data analytics are improving. The intelligence you gain will help you ensure product offerings relate to specific customers.
- Mobile CRM usage, functionality, and the move to cloud CRM are expanding. We're conducting more business on our mobile devices; research says 64% of Thanksgiving shopping happens on our phones. That trend also plays out in CRM usage.
- Social CRM usage and functionality are increasing; a better understanding of customers comes from integrating “social listening” and CRM profiles.
- CRM implementation and adoption are speeding up. This is critical, says Goldenberg. “We can’t wait one or two years to get CRM up and running.”
The future is here. What does it mean for your business? It’s important to be smart and strategic about it so as not to get overwhelmed.
Like most things in life, instituting positive changes starts with a solid foundation. Goldenberg points us to six concepts essential to have at the core of any CRM strategy; without them, he says, a business won't succeed at gaining benefits from their investment in CRM, trends or no.
6 Core Concepts for CRM
- Use a structured approach in your CRM usage, but maintain flexibility. Having too little direction or being too rigid will lower your team’s adoption and usage rates. Balance is key.
- Remember the critical mix for success is 60% people, 30% processes, and 10% technology. Keep it people-oriented, make the processes easy and intuitive, and choose the appropriate technology.
- Embrace a holistic customer profile. It typically takes 12-18 months of having a customer to develop a robust view of who they are, says Goldenberg. Be patient – without a strong profile, your processes can’t be customer-driven.
- Commit to the 3X factor. For each piece of data a team member puts into the CRM, give back at least three. If you don't, they won’t be motivated to use the system.
- Focus on operations first. Ensure the functionality serves the practical needs of sales and marketing and present the efficiencies to your team that way to secure more buy-in. Then talk about additional strategic benefits.
- Manage the adoption of CRM using this ladder :
As you look toward 2019, are you confident in your CRM footing with these six core concepts guiding each step? How might the trends Goldenberg shared improve your ability to build customer-centric marketing and other business processes?
Your present and future business strength are why we exist. We're curious to hear your thoughts, share more details about the trends, and explore your potential for forward movement and your readiness for it. Our office line is open; call Dick at 269-445-3001.
You can access a recording of Goldenberg’s webinar here for more details about the CRM trends he sees for 2019.