7 Exciting CRM Industry Trends to Watch Out in 2021

Where is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) heading? How is technology slowly taking over? And lastly, what are the current and emerging trends in CRM that are making the headlines?

Before we begin exploring more about CRM, it is important to understand that the CRM landscape is expanding and highly competitive. One of the major factors driving this competition is the increasing demand for seamless customer experiences.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of CRM software around the world. CRM has emerged as an intermediary platform between remote workers and the management in the corporate world.

Customer experience (CX) has become one of the crucial competitive differentiators in today’s business landscape. This is a major reason why small to large-sized firms are gradually tapping their true potential by investing in CRM platforms.

The idea of this blog is to provide a fair idea about where the CRM industry is heading. What are the key technologies that will shape the industry’s growth, features, and integrations CRM companies likely to include, and the overall impact of wider tech trends?

The contents of this blog include:

  • CRM Market Outlook
  • What is CRM?
  • Benefits of CRM
  • Top CRM Trends
  • Summary

CRM Market Outlook

CRM is arguably the fastest growing software market today. Growing from a $14 billion industry in 2010, the CRM market is tipped to reach an evaluation of around $80 billion by the end of 2025. [1]

CRM stands to remain one of the major elements driving a successful business. Forging new relationships with customers to develop loyalty and increase retention is a big part of a business where CRM is useful.

As companies around the world seek new and innovative ways to study data from their customers and devise a customer service strategy, the demand for CRM continues to grow.

What is CRM?

In simple terms, customer relationship management (CRM) is a technology that helps companies manage interactions and relationships with customers effectively. What is the objective of CRM? Well, simply put, to enhance business relationships and customer experiences.

In general, when CRM is talked about, people are generally referring to a CRM system. A CRM system is a tool that consolidates sales management and contact management and boosts productivity.

Benefits of CRM

  • Transparent reporting

Data is an integral part of a business and is available from multiple sources which include Google Analytics, social media, business software, CRM technology, and more.

Businesses of all sizes use most of these platforms and depend on the metrics from them.

Although Google Analytics is one of the most used tools by businesses to monitor their website traffic, it is best to not rely only on a single tool.

If your organization’s objective is to store clean and error-free data, a CRM platform can help bring together, tabulate, and organize it for you.

A CRM also helps you generate and run reports that help you identify where your opportunities lie, offer a clear picture of your interactions with customers and leads, customer service efforts trends, and more.

  • Dashboards to showcase data visually

When you use a spreadsheet to store or import data it is also important to find a way to represent it graphically. A CRM completes this job for you.

After investing in a CRM system, you can leverage the benefits of a dashboard. Dashboards can be set up for every user within a company who has access to your CRM platform.

Dashboards simplify how you see data and allows users to glance through it without having to spend a lot of time finding it.

  • Personalization

Since you are continually on the prowl to collect data related to your market, domain, and audience, you can create personalized messages in your automated as well as personalized campaigns.

  • Automation

In the current digital world, automating your business processes is an absolute must.

Automation is one of the biggest advantages offered by CRM platforms. It helps different departments within an organization to perform tasks more efficiently. For instance, sales teams can solely focus on selling the most relevant product or service to customers.

Marketing teams can dedicate more time towards formulating marketing campaigns that echo with their target audience and try out various strategies backed by analytics.

  • Collaborations

Your CRM keeps a record of interactions, notes, contact information, conversations. In case the CRM is based on the cloud, it is constantly updated which allows your fellow team members to look at the records to make decisions. CRM lays the foundation for a solid collaboration ecosystem.

Top CRM Industry Trends 

Merging of big data, AI-powered analytics, and CRM

CRM solutions are constantly evolving due to which, collecting contact and lead data is becoming more efficient. Big data and artificial intelligence (AI)-powered analytics is set to transform how CRM systems operate facilitating the continuous flow of data.

Current CRM industry trends indicate that these systems are gradually being able to gather and assess user data from different sources such as marketing campaigns, social media, sales, and more. In the upcoming years, companies are likely to choose a CRM platform that is fueled by artificial intelligence for analytics.

Important insights

  • Big data in CRM will provide a consistent flow of data
  • AI will enable CRM systems to offer cutting-edge analytics

Unifying communication channels

Going by the trends in the past, CRM strategies have primarily focussed on a multi-channel or an omnichannel approach. In such situations, companies are compelled to make a switch to channels which are preferred by their customers.

These strategies have gained popularity as they help companies optimize customer engagement. Besides, an omnichannel strategy leads to flawless customer experience.

On the other hand, current trends in the CRM industry suggest that a single-channel approach to CRM is gaining traction. According to the experts working in the CRM space, communication channels will more or less be consolidated into a single software that will handle various other channels.

This approach will be embraced by customer service and sales executives who will no longer switch between different channels.

Important insights

  • CRM strategies are likely to switch from omni channels to single-channels
  • High chances of seeing channel-less CRM platforms being developed soon

Emergence of Voice Technology in CRM

Voice technology will soon take over our lives! And no, we are not only talking about voice technologies forraying into the world of consumer electronics and search engines, but how it is expected to make an impact in CRM.

Although Salesforce quietly discarded its Einstein Voice Assistant in favor of Einstein AI platform, it certainly triggered a movement. SAP is another big player that has invested in voice technology. The technology enables users to interact with SAP’s back-end systems (CRM, ERP, SCM, etc). Industry experts expect this trend to continue in the future wherein more CRM platforms will utilize voice technology in conjunction with AI and analytics.

In 2018, voice-enabled services surpassed $1 billion in sales and nearly 40% customers use it to create shopping lists. [2] The number of product searches performed by voice technology has also increased considerably.

Self-service CRM

As automation continues to make inroads into the CRM space, bots are performing more contact management tasks than ever before. Companies have realized the need to invest in a dynamic chatbot technology which serves customers with the most relevant solutions and data. For instance, chatbots provided by companies such as Drift and Hubspot pilot customers through sales and marketing pipelines. At the same time, the chatbots are collecting user data and offering personalized recommendations.

Current CRM industry trends suggest that users want to use self-service to take care of simple problems instead of asking for solutions from customer support.

Important insights

  • Customers willing to solve simple problems without expert assistance
  • Demand for chatbots on the rise as the automation movement becomes stronger

Improvement in Customer Experiences (CX)

Gone are the days when enticing customers with abundant features would do the job. Current trends reveal that the overall experience a company offers its customers is as important as its products and services. CRM platforms have an important role to play in fulfilling this demand. Organizations around the world are increasingly focusing on enhancing customer experience to improve retention and also attract a new audience.

Important insights

  • Companies focus on improving customer experience to improve customer retention
  • Customer experience will remain a critical component of CRM strategies

AI’s entry into CRM

Artificial intelligence in the CRM landscape is expected to generate around a surplus of $1.1 trillion in revenues by the end of 2021. [3] AI is gradually cementing its position as an important technology in the marketing sector. The fear of lagging behind is one factor why companies are turning to AI solutions in recent times. The demand for AI-driven CRM systems is on the rise and it can be linked to the growing demand for automation.

Important insights

  • AI-powered chatbots will soon be able to forecast customer demands
  • Integration of AI and CRM is expected to explode as companies seek ways to boost productivity.

AI | CRM

Emergence of social and mobile CRM

Social and mobile CRM is likely to gain considerable traction in 2021 and beyond. Major developments in mobile technology and increasing demand for connectivity will influence CRM platforms to offer mobile functionalities.

Current CRM industry trends indicate that CRM systems in the future will provide an optimum experience on tablets, mobile phones, and other devices. Besides, these systems will provide functionalities without compromising user security.

The advent of social media has also had an impact on the CRM industry. An emerging trend in CRM that is hard to miss includes social media integration such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. In the future, CRM platforms will provide integrations with additional social media networks.

Important insights

  • CRM platforms are increasingly focusing on improving mobile functionalities.
  • CRM platforms will offer more social media integrations

Summary

CRM systems have a clear dominance in the software market and the industry is only going to get bigger. As thousands of companies around the world continue to realize the importance and benefits of CRM, it is critical to stay ahead of the competition. Business owners should be able to identify the pain points across their operations and choose a CRM software that suits their needs.

CRM industry trends are bound to evolve as technology advances. However, that does not mean you should go all-in on a single trend and hope for lucrative returns.

As providing a seamless customer experience continues to remain critical for businesses, CRM platforms need to help users achieve that. It is safe to say that data stored, collated, and presented by a CRM provides a clear picture of different customers. This transitions into improved outreach and messaging which can easily be accomplished with automation.

You can choose from a range of CRM tools in the market and our CRM tool reviews will certainly help you in that process.

Image Source: Business photo created by zaozaa09 – www.freepik.com

Image 1:  Background vector created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

Sources

[1] (2020) “Customer Relationship Management Market Worth $114.4 Billion by 2027” GrandView Research Available from:

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/press-release/global-customer-relationship-management-crm-market [Accessed March 2021]

[2] Newman.D (2019) “Voice Technology and CRM: A New Partnership?” Forbes Available from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielnewman/2019/09/11/voice-technology-and-crm-a-new-partnership/?sh=5b994d9231b3 [Accessed March 2021]

 

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