In an age of accelerating change, agile customer relationship management (CRM) systems are increasingly important. Both startups and successful, established enterprises must anticipate and prepare for the exciting possibility of rapid growth.
Chess masters are highly skilled at thinking many moves ahead, and today’s business professionals must do the same to take full advantage of every possible revenue stream. With the right CRM system, leveraging big data to gain a better understanding of your clients while fine-tuning customer relationships is easier than ever.
With that in mind, here are five important CRM trends to seriously contemplate in 2017:
1. Mobile CRM and Telecommuting
America’s love affair with telecommuting continues to blossom. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015, almost one-fourth (24 percent) of employees did some or all of their work from home. This figure grew by than more than 20 percent since 2003. The BLS went on to predict that more than 105 million Americans will telecommute by 2020. A Gallup poll also highlighted the dramatic increase since 1995, when telecommuters comprised just 9 percent of the workforce.
Mobile CRM is perfect for telecommuters on-the-go, since it provides vital access to sophisticated, customized information in the field. As such, telecommuters will increasingly come to expect mobile CRM.
2. Mass Cloud Migration
Cloud-based CRM is readily updated time after time, so concerns over obsolescence are greatly reduced. Resisting the urge to join the rush to cloud-based CRM may turn out to be costly for “last adopters.”
Although the stampede to the public cloud was evident early on, the migration to private and hybrid clouds is picking up speed as well. RightScale’s annual State of the Cloud Survey offers insights. The 1,060 IT professionals surveyed provided evidence of the rapid growth in cloud adoption. Hybrid cloud adoption was up from 58 percent to 71 percent year-over-year, while private cloud adoption was up from 63 percent to 77 percent. Almost everyone (95 percent) is now in the public or private cloud, or a hybrid of the two.
3. Scalability Essential
Enterprises that experience explosive growth need a CRM platform that is eminently scaleable. Implementing a CRM plan that does not readily accommodate change becomes unproductive when opportunity soars. There’s simply no time in today’s dynamic marketplace to migrate to a different CRM system, and there’s no sense in dealing with the inefficiencies of familiarizing the workforce with the new software.
4. CRM Integration
CRM software integrated with automated marketing and social media is a key to enhanced productivity. For many, it is essential component of a progressive, forward-thinking business strategy. However, for those who have recently invested in ERP software not integrated with CRM software, it may wise to wait a while to maximize the ROI of both. It is often expensive to implement a new ERP solution, so jettisoning it prematurely may not be advisable.
5. Artificial Intelligence Takes the Stage
Long ago, the basic act of superior data acquisition often gave enterprises a competitive edge. However, in the new era of big data, it is not a lack of information about customers. The issue today is its overwhelming abundance.
Now, bots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) identify patterns and trends even as data expands exponentially. Predictive algorithms enhance machine learning which strives to feed CRM consumers the most useful information possible. AI will increasingly allow you to pluck those golden nuggets out of rapidly flowing data streams.
Whatever your enterprise, you’ll be better able to capture entrepreneurial opportunities with the latest CRM solutions. Integrated, mobile and cloud-based CRM systems will offer strategic advantages in 2017. Also watch for the exciting new possibilities that artificial intelligence offers in mining big data in order to better understand your clients’ needs.