Businesses big and small can benefit by saving on CRM deployment and installation if they can gauge trends correctly. Here are five crucial CRM trends for 2014 that will define business-consumer interaction not just next year but also beyond that.
- Focus on mobile – Mobile CRM has well and truly arrived. Not only your customers but also your staff needs data and information in real-time and on the go. So, invest in building this aspect of your CRM landscape. Contact management and note taking are major functionalities and will play an increasingly important role as businesses try to extract usable information from a swirl of constantly changing data. This data along with tracking tools for contact behavior will help in steering business forward with appropriate and timely decisions
- Workflow automation – Focus on workflow automation will help free up time so that staff can work on their core competencies. It will also ensure uniformity across sales and marketing. The time-saving value of workflow automation apart, it also helps businesses to test the usefulness of a new step in the process flow. A small tweak such as uniformity in sending out follow-up emails can result better lead conversion.
- Increased collaboration – Again, a common sense link to the points made above. While there is no doubt that it is the sales staff and guys that the front end that need data on demand, there will be a push in the new year for collaboration across the enterprise so that the use of CRM comes naturally to all involved. This is the only way to ensure that important data gets logged every time an opportunity arises.
- Predictive data analysis – Given that there is a surfeit of data out there and a lot of it can be used for immediate action, there is going to be a huge demand for predictive data analysis. Apart from the sales and marketing angle to it, this will also enable a business to handle customers across multiple channels, both online and offline. There is a huge opportunity to improve customer service in both synchronous and asynchronous channels. Your approach can be pre-emptive in both reaching out to prospects and serving customers. This is the power of leveraging interconnectivity for timely information dissemination so that “you can strike the iron when it is hot”.
- Social CRM – This is not going to be so much of a trend in itself; in fact, social CRM is now a part of CRM. CRM without the social angle is incomplete and that is going to be one of the features of CRM going forward into the new year. Adaptability to the change in communication platforms is going to be important and this change is going to be driven by the consumers. If today Facebook and Twitter are where the action is, it could just as easily shift to another platform and for all you know the platform may work great for your niche. For example, Instagram and Tumblr are very image-centric platforms driven by a particular demographic. Businesses into foods, property and things that carry visual appeal have benefited by reaching out to folks here.