CRM systems are evolving at a swift pace, with new productivity-boosting features rolling out every month. In fact, according to Gartner, the CRM market grew to $26.3 billion in 2015, and this year it’s expected to hit $36.5 billion.
The functionality of CRM software is causing a shift in how businesses interact with clients and market their products and services. And with each wave of CRM updates, companies have the opportunity to better understand their customers, employ new marketing techniques, and analyze sales figures to learn from successful campaigns.
While rapid tech changes can be hard to keep up with, organizations need to keep an eye out for future trends to beat the competition. With that in mind, these are some of the developments and trends you can expect from CRM software throughout the year.
Cloud CRM will be the norm
The trend towards more flexible and agile systems will continue thanks to advances in cloud technology. As legacy systems fail to keep up with a mobile, always-on workforce, more companies will turn to cloud-based CRM products to create engaging user experiences and fulfill their marketing needs. This year, businesses will have plenty of options.
Software like Dynamics CRM 2016 take advantage of the cloud to improve customization, patch management, data storage, and analytics. Sales data is also hosted in the cloud, meaning marketing staff can access customer information and send follow-up messages while on the road, in a client’s office, or at home.
These advantages, plus the fact that small- and medium-sized businesses are able to afford an enterprise-grade CRM system, will put companies that opt for traditional CRM in the minority.
Mobile will continue to dominate
Mobile CRM apps will grow more popular as more salespeople rely on their data collection and business purchasing functions. We predict that mobile CRM apps will be more than just a scaled-down version of desktop software. Mobile app extensions will turn to full-featured mobile apps with all the capabilities of the original CRM software, plus some extra mobile-only functions.
Machine learning will be a key feature
In the era of big data, the problem is less about gathering information and more about making sense of it. We predict that machine learning in CRM will go online and become an essential tool for marketers in the coming months.
Machine learning can turn copious amounts of raw data into intelligent, actionable consumer data, allowing marketers to predict how clients will behave and how products will perform.
Dynamics CRM already includes some of these machine learning functions, and we expect more to come. In the latest 2016 update, Microsoft integrated Dynamics with the Cortana Analytics Suite, a bot that supplies sales reps with accurate product suggestions and relevant contextual information about leads and existing customers. This helps marketers make intelligent decisions and close more deals.
More CRM and eCommerce integrations
Nowadays, companies mostly interact with their customers online. And considering that 79% of Americans have made an online purchase of some type, providing a consistently personalized experience with the help of CRM software will be more common.
CRM and eCommerce integration will introduce new opportunities to track information and improve customer service. For example, when certain eCommerce solutions are combined with Dynamics CRM, businesses can monitor order and payment history, inventory, and checkout rates from their CRM software. Sales reps can then target customers by suggesting similar products after checkout or sending gift cards after a certain length of membership.
Self-service capabilities will improve
A lot more customers are willing to do things themselves, and that means CRM software should include customer self-service features. In response to today’s DIY culture, Dynamics CRM developers will create new features that allow businesses to easily publish automated messages for troubleshooting or self-service checkouts, and enable customers to track order status, shipment, and inventory.
Competitive advantage in 2017 can be achieved by staying on top of disruptive technology trends, analyzing big data, and employing a client-centric marketing strategy. CRM systems are entering a new age full of interesting capabilities, which, if used correctly, can help you stay ahead of the curve.
Even after years of working with this technology, we are still amazed by CRM software. It’s a quality solution for businesses who want to outshine competitors, and it’s even stronger with more software integrations. If you want to achieve positive results, contact WhiteOwl for all your CRM software needs.