What To Watch Out For In The CRM Space…

‘These are exciting times for CRM’ says Our senior CRM Expert Saurabh Gupta. He has combined many interesting trends and happenings in CRM space and gives us a peek into the future:

1. Social Capabilities to become Integrated

Social media will continue to dominate CRM discussions. Just think: All the news you can tweet to customers. Learning how to combine social networking platforms with customer service and sales operations. The impending dominance of Facebook messages. For 2011, also expect organizations to add Facebook and Twitter to their call center queues, treating them no differently than voice or email communications.

Not to forget expect an escalation of the social media war between Google and Facebook, which will have repercussions for which social media platforms organizations use to communicate with customers.

2. CRM vendors to add Personalized Services

In order to really differentiate from the pack, CRM vendors will switch from a product-oriented focus to a more service-based approach. We should call the new category SaS … “software AND services” and not SaaS, “software AS A Service.” Instead of simply selling a product, CRM vendors will begin to offer a list of value added services including adoption assistance, lead generation, best practices training. The impact of these services will establish a long-term partnership and ensure that the systems features are being properly optimized and adopted.

3. Sales Playbooks will Increase Close Rates

Taking a lead and converting it into a deal is a leap of faith with yesterday’s CRM systems. You will see leading CRM vendors begin to incorporate sales “playbooks” or “checklists” that highlight key steps in the sales process to help sales people sell more effectively.

Here’s what happens with traditional CRM systems: a lead comes in, the salesperson enters the data related to a company name, contact name, contact info, product they are interested in, price of product, identify the lead program the lead came from, prospect company revenue, industry, org chart and on and on. Your sales team may spend their entire day entering unlimited amounts of data about the lead. In 2011, CRM systems will become intelligent enough to help the sales reps figure out what to do next, and more importantly how to do it. Incorporating these playbooks will increase close rates on deals.

4. iPad In Every Stocking

2011 will be the year when CRM finally hits the mobile device and they will become the critical tool for companies of all sizes trying to gain a competitive edge in today’s marketplace. As a result, many organizations will make iPads, iPhones, Blackberrys and other smartphones a standard issue. e.g. Financial Times gave every employee a £300 ($480) rebate toward the purchase of an iPad.

5  SMB’s Totally Embrace The Cloud

SMB’s will realize what larger businesses have been seeing for many years, cloud computing is the future. SMB’s will realize the benefits of faster deployment, lower cost of ownership and allow them to focus on their core business. Cloud computing also gives them access to powerful applications such as CRM’s that are otherwise not possible to deploy in a smaller business without the need for a large IT organization.

6. Lifecycle ROI Management for Small Businesses is Possible

CRM systems will allow companies to take more holistic view of the ROI for an account. They will track the marketing cost, close rates, deal sizes, etc, allowing for automated reporting of the ROI for any campaign or account. Today, there are disconnected systems that do pieces of this. In 2011, it will become fully integrated into the CRM for small businesses. Additionally, sales and marketing executives will use the same CRM system to manage customer renewals, up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. This data will be automatically included in ROI calculations. The realities of the new economy have highlighted the importance of being able to effectively manage the entire lifecycle ROI calculation for a customer.

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