Acquiring a new customer is not about closing the sale. It is about opening a relationship and building a bridge.
This is a basic precept that companies cannot afford to ignore today. Companies have increasingly begun to realise the significance of the role that CRM plays in the twin goals of acquiring new and retaining existing customers.
According to industry estimates ROI on CRM software solutions has been more than 600% -six dollars for every dollar spent.
The CRM industry has had modest beginnings in the 1990s and has faced a number of upheavals along the way. It has grown in scope from the original concept of customer databases, contact management and sales force automation. The growth of the cloud and Saas delivery model has made investment in CRM an attractive proposition.
There are a number of new trends and innovations in terms of technology, practices and integration and convergence of business functions.
On Cloud Nine
Multitenanted applications delivered seamlessly over the cloud in the form of Saas has proven a successful and effective delivery model for CRM Solutions. Companies are increasingly considering cloud based solutions in place of on premise solutions for implementing CRM solutions.
Cloud based CRM solutions in their current form have broken the myth that customisation is possible only with on-premise solutions. The very nature of Saas as a delivery model delivers upgrades to functionality to subscribers at a lower cost. Such solutions require lower investment costs in terms of IT infrastructure and staff. It is a win-win proposition for both vendors and subscribers alike.
Although Saas based CRM software solutions have been in place for quite some time now, it is important to mention this as a trend as the maturity, attractiveness and economics of this delivery model continues to grow. So much so that it is estimated that there will be a 50% growth in end user acceptance of Saas based CRM solutions.
It is all about mobility
Your sales force are highly mobile and spend most of the time on the field. Naturally you would want that the CRM tool you select would enable your sales force to pull up customer data, schedule a sales or follow up call, create a new lead, co-ordinate with the service department and so much more.
Vendors realize this reality and need and are developing applications for mobile sales forces that can cater to a wide range of operating systems, screen sizes and capabilities and have the capability to store data offline and sync upon availability of an internet connection.
This trend is likely to be more pronounced in the future and mobile functionality to CRM software are increasingly being designed from ground up and not as an afterthought.
The power of social media and its relevance to an organization’s marketing strategies has never been underestimated especially in industries such as telecom CRM has Companies realize the power of social media .
The profile of a typical customer has undergone a sea change from not too long ago. Slick marketing and advertising and slicker salespeople may be not the magic mantra anymore. Customers no longer want to be sold a product. They want to be empowered with information and make intelligent decisions on their own to buy a product. Social media plays an important role in voicing consumer opinions about products.
Companies realize this and are no longer satisfied with just providing links to like and follow their product and services on social media sites. CRM vendors are in tow and are adding features to listen into conversations and feedback on social media and harness the increasing power of customer opinion.
Social CRM is the next step in the integration of CRM and social media.
Gamification techniques and CRM
Another noteworthy trend that needs to be watched is the use of gamification techniques in CRM software.
Gamification techniques are being increasingly used to motivates sales people to complete their goals and to move out of their comfort zone by not only engaging with existing customers but also by breaking ground with new customers.
Such techniques can also be beneficial for customers and can help build brand loyalty. An example of gamification techniques in the airlines industry that has been used extensively over the years is the frequent flyer rewards program.
These are interesting and exciting times for the CRM software industry.
Finding the right CRM software for your business? Read our Buyer’s Guide to CRM solutions to avoid any costly CRM selection mistakes.