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Top 8 CRM Trends & Predictions

1. Old Guard Losing Ground

Once upon a time, Siebel was the big name in CRM. Oracle purchased the company, and less than a decade ago, it was one among the dominant forces in CRM along with the likes of IBM and SAP. Yet now, these companies account for less than 20% of overall market share.

A host of companies are munching away at these inheritance providers’ share of the pie. Salesforce alone now owns almost 20% of the $26.3 billion worldwide CRM package revenue, according to Julian Poulter, an analyst at Gartner

2. Cloud and SaaS Reign Supreme

Cloud-based CRM has won the day over on-prem. Vendors that clung to on-premises solutions the longest have faltered. A raft of software as a service (SaaS) startups have rush in and increased ground.

“CRM growth is driven by cloud service revenue, in which the application space uses SaaS as the major delivery model,” said Poulter. “SaaS revenue grew 27% year over year, which is additional than double overall CRM market growth in 2015.”

3. Merger Mania

Even though the marketplace for CRM software is somewhat shattered, consolidation is afoot. Larger firms are increasingly securing the many SaaS CRM startups.

“The merger and acquisition action that began flowing through the market in 2009 persistent in 2015, with more than 30 distinguished acquisitions,” said Poulter. “This has resulted in increased competition at the top end of the CRM market.”

4. AI Incursion

It’s no surprise that Salesforce believes artificial intelligence (AI) is biggest trend in CRM. After all, it launched Salesforce Einstein a couple of months ago. By embedding AI into the core of the Salesforce Platform, the company hopes to deliver more prognostic and personalised client experiences across sales, service, marketing and commerce.

Following are the benefits:

  • Service reps gain help on every case and can bring active service by resolving issues faster and more accurately.
  • Sales reps receive guidance on next steps and can predict which prospects are most likely to close, plus getting recommendations on actions to take to close the deal.
  • IT can embed intelligence everywhere and create smarter apps for employees and customers.
  • Marketing can create predictive journeys and personalize experiences like never before.

Over the next year, we can see the democratisation of intelligence as AI is embedded into each aspect of the enterprise — beginning with enterprise apps,” said Jim Sinai, vice president, Salesforce Einstein. “As customer expectations reach an incomparable high, every business method will be powered by intelligence so as to deliver productive, predictive and personalised client experiences.”

5. Focus on the Customer Experience

Angela Bandlow, senior director, product marketing, Microsoft Dynamics 365, has observed more brands than ever line up their overall policy to the customer experience. That means not using CRM as a record system, but breaking down the feed storage between departments — customer service, marketing, and sales — to start learning about and reaching to their customers.

“For companies heavily dependent on CRM, it’s time to take a step and look if they’re using their current CRM software to its full potential,” she said. “Be proactive in advocating and instigating change.”

6. Retail Visibility

The retail space so competitive that minutes matter. With Amazon and their ilk using real-time analytics to improve sales, the retail industry has been upping its game to stay in race. With access to important data, retailers can take benefit of trends by tying them to generational groups.

“Retail businesses want access of data, reporting & key market trends and the ability to react to customers,” said Doug Smith, director of product marketing, retail and distribution, Epicor Software.

7. CRM Ubiquity

Instead of CRM being the province of a few in sales or marketing, Smith has observed a trend towards spreading the wealth. As consumers have access to so much information online, they suppose, retail employees to have right to use the same level of detail.

“Retailers will need to activate the sales team more to empower connections with facts to meet customer expectations for knowledgeable service,” said Smith. “Customers will still shop locations to see, touch, and examine items they need to purchase, but will also expect a free digital experience, and sellers will need to be able to deliver.”

8. In-Store CRM

“Stores are still the bulk of most sellers’ revenue and they can’t drop focus on this,” said Will Stephenson, CRM senior principal solution consultant at Aptos. “Retailers continue to pressure customer experience as a main differentiator, but need to be able to monetize it not only at the buyer level, but also the store and subordinate.”

This means using CRM to ensure client communication at store level is relevant, measured & frequent. Many retailers still do not know the value of an e-blast, the value of in-store events and the halo effect associated with all. So, look for more dealers investing in high-touch methods to connect with their clients. This used to be the domain of expensive retailers, but it will continue to drive down to mid- and lower-priced retailers.

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