A few years ago, if you looked at CRM trends, it was becoming a little more than a contact management system. Today, though, it’s all but unrecognizable. Now it’s a fully-fledged suite of business tools to let you work smarter, faster, and more efficiently thanks to automation.
As customer experience has become ever more imperative, CRM has kept pace. The latest generation of CRM systems helps businesses become more profitable by helping them to build long-lasting relationships with customers. It’s plain that CRM has grown into its name and become instrumental for the sustainability of large companies and small businesses alike.
What you will learn in this article
- Why CRM is vital to business growth
- The 9 top CRM trends to know about in 2021
- How these trends affect small businesses
- Your next steps
- Getting started with CRM
CRM is now vital to the plot because business has gone way beyond churning out the best product or service. Not only has there been a step-change in how customers make purchases, but expectations have altered too. Today, the mantra is customer service (and repeat).
The discerning customers of the 2020s have put customer experience into pole position, and it is up to business to respond. And they are doing this through innovative CRM solutions.
9 CRM trends in 2021 should know about
Business experts now agree customer experience is the top priority and, at the very least, as important as the quality of products and services. The solution is to provide personalized customer relationships at every stage of the life cycle. CRM is the method being used to achieve this. Fortunately, CRM usability is evolving in step and is no longer the clunky nightmare of old.
Mobile-first is a phrase that applies to customers and your employees. More and more CRM systems are now optimizing to be compatible with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. If your customers are using smartphones, you need your staff to access your CRM system when they are out of the office. This accessibility means they can respond instantly to customer inquiries.
AI is now revolutionizing marketing. The AI tech being deployed by CRM systems can take up much of the backend processes. But, even more importantly, it is way better than humans at seeing patterns and forecasting customer and lead behavior. Another area where AI is leaving its mark is on chatbots. Through their use of machine learning and natural language processing, bots are almost indistinguishable from humans.
CRM integration with social media platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, is becoming ever more sophisticated. With so many customers conducting their pre-purchase research on social media networks, it’s critical you have ears on these platforms. Social networks are excellent channels to connect with people and promote your offerings. The best CRM solutions are firmly reflecting this.
These days, you are missing a trick if your site isn’t voice search-friendly. Today, voice search is an integral component of CRM as providers have invested heavily in the expectation of continued growth in conversational searches. In the coming years, industry experts such as Adobe and Microsoft expect voice search to become the norm increasingly.
This year, a raft of new automation technology trends is predicted for CRM. This will be focused on lead generation, marketing, and sales processes. The automation will speed up back-office processes with resulting improvements in customer experience. Looking further down the road, automation will take over an ever-larger swathe of business processes, driving up customer satisfaction and lowering running costs.
The new breed of customers is keen to do as much as possible for themselves without having to wait around. In 2021 you can expect to see increased levels of self-service options within your CRM system. This will comprise a host of features such as bots that interact with customers, gather information, and serve relevant and timely content.
Internet of Things integration
As more and more customers embrace web-enabled gadgets, it will become impossible for many companies to ignore. With sensors exchanging information with service providers, this interface will increasingly become the new frontier of customer service. The information gathered will not be for merely reactive purposes. Companies will use the data to be proactive and enhance their customer experience. And the collection point for this data is, of course, CRM.
Augmented and virtual reality
It’s almost inconceivable that AR and VR will not impact how companies engage with their customers. The technology is maturing all the time, and the uptake by customers is predicted to grow considerably. Estimates put this at between 32 and 48%.
CRM providers are already experimenting with the technology and gauging demand from their clients. You can expect some advanced marketing and customer relationships tools based around AR and VR pretty soon.
How small business is affected
Being a small business, it’s tempting to think you are insulated a little from the trials and tribulations of large companies. Small is beautiful, but you face the same harsh economic realities as everyone else in business. It would be wrong, therefore, to assume CRM systems are only for the big guys. In some ways, they may be even more critical.
Your next steps in getting started with CRM
The next step, therefore, is shedding your preconceptions and nailing down your business processes and needs. Once this process is finished, you can begin looking for a CRM provider specializing in small business solutions. For ease of use and affordability, it’s highly recommended that small businesses concentrate their buying research on cloud CRM solutions.
CRM has evolved beyond all recognition. It’s now the business tool of choice for companies of all sizes. If you are serious about strengthening your customer relationship, CRM is the way to go, for sure.
As we built Samdock with small businesses in mind why don’t you check out our free trial. Or contact us today to discuss your business needs.