2015 will be a dynamic year for CRM, and will present many challenges, and therefore many opportunities to improve. Below are 5 important trends to keep in mind, and some creative ways to overcome them.
1. Marketing Will Be About Influence
Customers are getting smarter and more demanding, which results in many challenges for CRM professionals. Moving forward, marketing will have to adapt to new customer purchasing tendencies, and as a result flash sales and discount-based marketing have both run their course. People know that if they wait, they can get anything they want at a steep discount, and the patient consumer often pays less than 50% of the original price. Consumers have also learned to adjust their purchasing to align with periods when the steepest discounts are available, so it will be increasingly important to influence customers rather than offering outdated incentives like discounts or flash sales.
2. Sales Strategy Will Increase in Significance
Sales people have access to better tools to predict timing and reveal the best stages for engagement, a trend that will only accelerate in the New Year. The new crop of CRM engagement tools will convert the “sales funnel” into a “spiral of engagement” that more accurately models buyer behavior. The new model of consumer engagement will create more sales-centric organizations that are highly competitive and characterized by the near-seamless integration of sales, marketing, and public relations resulting in a better awareness of client needs. More awareness means better sales strategy, and therefore increased revenue. Adaptation to new models will be key to maintaining viability in 2015.
3. Social Sales Will Become Better Integrated
Social Selling will be increasingly integrated into the selling process rather than standing alone as a separate portfolio. It will be important for Sales Leaders to train their sales teams to correctly use social media and social tools. Rather than social selling being understood as a juggernaut that will change everything, it will be integrated as a part of, rather than replacement for traditional approaches that top salespeople have always used. The internet will be worth $500 Billion dollars in global spending by 2020, which is profit you can’t afford to miss out on because your sales methods are poorly integrated.
4. Search in CRM Will Improve, but not Quickly Enough
Search in packaged CRM applications is often clunky and fails to perform adequately. Most CRM’s can’t search text notes, which is a serious limitation if your salesforce tends to type notes into the automation tool, as they will not be searchable. As a result, most companies discourage their associates from taking notes, which is tantamount to throwing away money. Similarly, calls that are monitored for quality control are only sampled, since not every call can be analyzed. In order to affect change to CRM search functions, information sharing will be key. Use social media and blogs to share better search tools and little-known CRM features. Until the industry as a whole reaches a critical mass of information, change won’t speed up.
5. Big Data Will Alter the Business Landscape
Forbes tells us that 87% of companies believe Big Data will redefine Industries around the world, especially when it comes to CRM. With so many people buying into Big Data, those who fail to adopt will risk losing business and sliding into irrelevance. Big Data has the power to move beyond analysis and into the realm of predictive analytics, a factor which will give early adopters an edge over the competition and greatly improve the performance of CRM tools. With 73% of companies investing more than 20% of their budget in Big Data analytical technology, it’s hardly a trend you can afford to miss out on. Make Big Data a priority for 2015.
2015 promises to bring about some new changes and accelerate existing ones in the realm of CRM. Considering how these five trends figure into your enterprise might give you an edge over the competition in the coming year.
Michael is the Lead Author & Editor of CRMSimplified Blog. Michael established the CRM blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to CRM.