Customer relationship management (CRM) has seen quite the evolution over the last several years due to the mega increase in cloud and mobile technology adoption. Moreover, the rise of integrated platforms has given it a big boost, allowing businesses of all sizes to remove silos and encourage greater cross-functional alignment.
With heaps of functionality available, it’s no surprise 2018 saw an increased adoption of CRM software. In fact, 91% of companies with more than 11 employees now use the solution, and the market is projected to grow at 12% annually. Surely, you’re impressed with the statistics, but would also like to know how will CRM help your business in 2019….
What are the 2019 CRM trends?
Here are the five biggest trends for the coming year:
AI-Powered Automated Workflows
Artificial intelligence and automation are starting to change the way businesses operate by detecting and analysing vast amounts of data, automating processes, and learning as they go. Already, with many CRM systems, activities like data input, forecasts and determining call lists can be handled by workflows, with AI functionality providing actionable insights on customers and prospects.
In 2019, we expect to see an increasing number of businesses using AI-powered CRM, and according to IDC, the number of companies using it will jump from 28% to 41% in the next two years. From historic data to current trends, AI will not only help you figure out which deals have a higher probability of being won and flag those to focus on, but also increase conversion rates by suggesting additional lead nurturing opportunities. What’s not to like?
A tool for a cultural shift
Although CRM is primarily a customer-focused tool, the business benefits are just as important. From enabling company-wide collaboration and information sharing to increasing overall productivity, CRM can remove organisational silos allowing teams to work together and improve the bottom line.
Moreover, as working patterns are becoming increasingly more flexible, and the traditional 9-5 work schedule is no longer the norm, allowing staff to work remotely can significantly improve your company culture and increase employee retention. In fact, the global mobile workforce is expected to rise from the current 1.45 billion to 1.87 billion by 2022, which is what CRM will support.
The social revolution
As we discussed here, a single negative post on social media has the same impact on a customers’ decision as five positive posts. Therefore, it’s no surprise that in 2019 CRM will further evolve into Social CRM, allowing businesses to not only engage and interact with existing and potential customers, but also provide access to customer behaviours.
Furthermore, the rise of ‘Generation Z’ plays an important part in the social revolution. Born anywhere from the mid-90’s to the mid-2000’s, Generation Z are gaining more and more buying power. And, guess what? It is the first generation to grow up with the Internet as a regular part of their everyday routine, with swiping, tapping and scrolling being their second nature.
Data wonderland with the Internet of Things (IoT) integration
IoT is growing at an exponential rate with connected gadgets taking over our homes and businesses around the globe. It’s no surprise that with vast amount of data available, offering valuable insights into consumer behaviour, CRM vendors are already taking steps to integrate this information into the software.
IoT has already entered almost every domain from consumer electronics to home automation , manufacturing and wearable devices, and with extra customer information and contextual inputs, IoT is not just the improvement in customer experience, but also your new revenue stream.
The key to keeping customers happier
The Digital Age is taking over and it’s becoming more common place for customers to help themselves using self-service tools, whether it’s a checkout in a supermarket or via an online portal. In fact, more than half of consumers are likely to abandon an online purchase if they can’t get answers to their questions quickly, according to Forrester research.
This is where CRM comes in. Solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 can improve service quality by enabling customers to log issues, find solutions and update information online. Each positive experience is a boost for your company’s reputation, which means potential referrals, and new business. It’s a win-win for both.