CRM technology has come a long way since the rudimentary statistical modeling of the 1980s. The first steps toward what we now think of as CRM software were essentially digital rolodexes, and each subsequent decade saw great strides being made by a burgeoning industry. Now, CRM software is capable of so much, one wonders where it can go next.
Based on recent trends and technological innovations, we’ve put together some predictions for CRM in the year ahead:
A relatively new development in CRM software is the rise of mobile iterations of the technology. Thus far, most mobile apps have attempted little more than providing a phone-friendly version of existing desktop kits, usually doing away with many key features in the process. Over the next year, we can expect to see more sophisticated mobile apps capable of combining native functions like GPS with the full range of features found on desktop versions. Clearly, mobile CRM is incredibly useful for sales reps on the go, providing them with real-time data on anything from breaking news about a prospect to current usage rates. Meetings with prospective clients will be improved by mobile demos, or analytics graphs displayed on a tablet.
The constant drive for improved integration will continue apace during 2016. CRM users will come to expect effective cross-communication between e-commerce platforms, marketing automation software, analytics software and accounting systems. CRM software is steadily evolving away from being purely sales-oriented to become a fully integrated marketing and sales platform, with all-in-one packages competing to provide the best combination of the two. To meet this growing demand for improved integration, new companies will emerge on the marketplace during next year.
An increasing number of CRM platforms will come equipped with predictive analytics capabilities enabling them to bring up-to-date offers to customers and reduce churn rates. The more accurate analytics tools become, the better the customer experience.
CRM has come a long way over the past 25 years, but if Moore’s Law continues to confound expectations, the truth is, nobody can predict where the technology will end up in another decade. For now, our tentative forecast for the next 12 months will have to do.