CRM has changed a lot since day 1. We all know that. The movers and shakers in the CRM world have only gotten more powerful and the adoption of Software-as-a-Service based technologies is only set to continue for the rest of 2013 and well into 2014. With a growing business focus on customer service and the need for information, the CRM market is going from strength to strength.
Over the past few years, CRM has quickly become strategy in many businesses and the need for more information that is readily available is becoming ingrained.
Gartner has predicted that spending on CRM software will grow on a worldwide basis from $12.9B in 2012 to a staggering $18.4B in 2016.
Looking to the future of CRM
We all want to know what is just around the corner and how we can best prepare ourselves for the change. Even since the 1990s and early 2000s, our CRM systems have changed dramatically.
No longer based entirely on basic (but of course integral) information about a customer or prospect, CRM today has turned a corner and has become an increasingly social way of keeping in touch with your customer base.
Thanks to the emergence of Sales 2.0, sales and marketing automation programs and mobile technology in the past few years, the CRM market is only set to become more influential in the future. CRM is quickly becoming a two way street, sharing information across sales, marketing and support teams. One way communication is a thing of the past and collaborating with prospects and customers via online forums, blogs, social media and the like will only serve to get more powerful over time.
Sales 2.0. One of the newest terms to the CRM and sales arena, yet probably one of the most influential for the foreseeable. Coined back in 2007, “Sales 2.0” encompasses the concept of taking sales to “the next level” using online tools to boost sales performance. Not only does Sales 2.0 benefit the seller, but also the customer. Buyers are increasingly a force to be reckoned with and are today more well informed than ever before. With the incredible amount of instant information available at their fingertips, prospects are able to self-educate and understand products and services before engaging with a sales rep.
How does this benefit you as a salesperson? Sales cycles are shortened and prospects are educated and qualified when that first call is made. Qualifying the lead becomes a swift task and more prospects are sales ready when you reach out to them (or they reach out to you).
Automating like Amazon.
Probably the most sophisticated (and misunderstood) bits of kit at a business’ disposal today, sales and marketing automation tools can automate (…obviously!) as much of your sales and digital marketing as you can imagine.
The easiest way to explain it? Take Amazon.com, every time you visit that website, I can imagine you’re faced with personalized content tailored just for you. Your recently purchased products will dictate the products that are recommended to you. Have you taken a look at the latest movie releases? You might be faced with the prequels or titles from the same genre.
Not only does this enhance your experience as a user but also allows for real-time (within reason) evaluation of the effectiveness of Amazon’s marketing and site content.
Marketing automation helps marketers to efficiently segment, automate and track every engagement with customers throughout their lifecycle with you. When combined with an active CRM system, you can track every stage of the relationship with the customer, nurturing it at every stage from initial contact through to close.
With the advent of CRM, Sales 2.0 technologies and marketing automation programs, cold calling is likely to become a thing of the past and warmer calls will take over.