Tracking, storing, analyzing, and then leveraging a wide range of customer interaction and touch point data — like purchase history, browsing patterns, demographics, and personal preferences — means today’s CRM platforms have the power to dramatically form the success of sales and marketing teams. The $24 Billion market is moving rapidly toward SAAS accounting for 47% in 2014, in part due to newer players disrupting the field that’s dominated by the high investment offerings from market leaders like Salesforce, SAP, and Microsoft.
What used to be thought of as a depository for contact info and a basic notes organizer which people begrudgingly used, has become a rich and dynamic collaborative tool that brings timely intelligence to ignite the relationships between business and customer. And importantly, it’s a tool that’s no longer just for large enterprises, with an explosion of options in the market making CRM accessible and affordable for startups and SMBs.
Jumping through hoops
The technology challenges CRMs are facing tend to fall into 3 categories: user experience, integration, and complex data management.
In our age of Always Connected, seamless user experience and uninterrupted customer interactivity across web and mobile devices is firmly in the “must-have” column. Good U/X also means customizing the experience to the role of the user- what the marketer wants to see and do is different than the business analyst and different than the finance manager.
It is a win-win to say goodbye to the practice of siloing department information, but to integrate with various systems and their data, and to keep them working as each continues to update, upgrade, pivot and change, is a large ask for dev teams focused on feature innovation that is often overlooked in its complexity. CRM’s that natively integrate ecommerce software, accounting systems, marketing automation and BI tools will win out over those that don’t because the sophistication and expectation of users are demanding it.
Which brings us to the data management piece -with db tooling like NoSQL, Hadoop, and Spark, the tracking, storing and serving up of a dozen types of customer activity, both from inside the CRM, as well as aggregating and analyzing it, when done well is yielding a brilliant experience. The majority of large scale CRM’
CRM in 2016
There are a handful of trends that will shape the ongoing development as competition in the CRM space continues to heat up:
Geo- location data and mobile messaging from within the CRM
Personalization & Customization through micro-segmented targeting and campaigns
- Stronger focus on nurturing and loyalty initiatives
Fuller integration of live-chat + videoconferencing capabilities
Deeper integration with social media (across touchpoints from lead generation to customer service)