Keeping up with trends can be a tiresome affair. This is why, in this article, we have compiled some of the top CRM trends in 2022. CRM is relevant to all businesses, but particularly so to those looking to expand. Before getting into these trends, however, let’s quickly cover what CRM is and why you should care about it.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Though you can use the acronym to refer to various things, such as a CRM strategy or process, in this article, we’ll be using it to refer to CRM technology.
CRM technology is used to manage the interactions between a business and its customers and leads.
Why is CRM important?
Customers are a crucial part of any business. Most processes are developed with them in mind. It’s natural, then, for companies to place importance on creating and maintaining excellent relationships with their consumers.
Businesses use CRM systems to manage these relationships. More specifically, CRMs help companies with:
- Understanding their customers.
- Organizing their data.
- Streamlining processes.
- Business growth.
Why keep up with trends?
Staying up to date with business trends means that you can start thinking about implementing the ones that work best for you and your business in good time.
Just as legacy system modernization approaches are necessary to streamline systems and bring them up to speed with the times, companies also need to review and reflect on the tools they use and whether they still produce optimal results. Staying informed means no more lagging behind other companies. Standing out from the crowd is hard work, and keeping up with the relevant trends is part of that.
With this in mind, the following sections outline the top CRM trends in 2022.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) / Automation
The integration of AI in CRM is fast increasing, and is set to assist companies in the U.S. to make an estimated $394 billion in the next five years.
The integration of AI applications in CRM systems can make tasks such as the generation of reports and administration a lot easier for sales reps. Instead of spending time on these, they can focus on selling and rely on the system to handle the rest.
The recent advancements in the field of AI and automation mean that businesses can go a step further and also use them to gain insight into customers’ habits and buying trends. Businesses can use their knowledge of their customers, such as customer demographics and preferences, to inform their marketing and sales strategies, amongst others.
Chatbots are another perk to AI integration. They can be there to answer queries from customers, or direct them to the appropriate team member when they cannot do so.
For example, a consumer has the following question about your product or service. Rather than having to wait for a team member to have the time to respond, they can ask the chatbot and get an immediate reply, or be directed towards the best resources that can help them. This not only cuts down on wasted time, but also increases consumer satisfaction.
Automation has been around for a while and offers great help to businesses. SEO automation tools, for example, will take the guesswork and hassle out of SEO tasks.
Manual tasks that are repetitive can also be automated, thereby increasing efficiency and productivity. Tasks such as data entry, personalized email crafting, calendar management, and the updating of customer information are necessary but time-consuming elements that a good CRM system can undertake.
Social CRM refers to the joining of social media channels and CRM platforms.
As mentioned previously, it is important for businesses to maintain excellent relationships with their customers. As such, social CRM is a key aspect that requires your attention, more so now than ever before.
Although humans have always been social creatures (for the most part), social media has become woven into the fabric of our lives. Therefore, it cannot be ignored; rather, a company can use it to its advantage.
A good CRM platform will allow you to handle all aspects of social CRM. With it, you can organize and plan your social media content and posts, as well as access information on engagement and see the general performance of your posts.
Sprout’s social CRM platform is a great example of this. It allows you to manage social interactions on various social media platforms and includes handy features such as access to full conversation history and contact details.
Moreover, information about traffic, engagement, and brand mentions is crucial since it guides your social media strategy. For example, if you notice that posts on a certain topic are not doing well in terms of engagement, then you know to move on to another topic.
Beyond this, social CRM is a great tool for improving your customer service. People often turn to social media to air out their grievances or ask questions about services or products. Keeping track of the times your brand is mentioned allows you to pick up on these and respond appropriately.
Let’s say that your company offers business phone system install services; you see that your CRM software has flagged up multiple mentions of your brand and realize that a good few of your consumers are confused about your pricing set up. This signals that either the information is not as easy to find as you thought, or that perhaps your pricing structure is too complicated. Either way, you can then take decisive action to rectify the issue.
In this manner, you are anticipating customers’ needs, thereby increasing overall customer satisfaction. Moreover, this shows others on the social platforms that you are a company that cares about their consumers and can be trusted to help, potentially resulting in more leads, and eventually, more sales.
Advanced CRM platforms
The recognition of the importance of CRM has led to the development of many platforms with various elements to offer.
Businesses can vary widely in terms of needs, meaning that the kind of technology one will need to run effectively will be very different to what another requires. In fact, some platforms can be very specific in order to bring solutions to specialized needs.
Given the wide range of systems available, research is the key to successfully choosing the CRM tools best suited for you and your business. Looking at CRM software reviews is a good place to start.
Decide what features make up your ideal platform and research to find out which CRM platform includes most, if not all, of these. Don’t forget to factor in your budget too.
You might, for example, want to go for a CRM platform that complements your sales enablement software. When done correctly, this combination can result in markedly increased productivity and sales.
CRM systems, particularly in light of their development and advancement, are increasingly used not just for improving customer relationships, but also to improve internal alignment. Having a good CRM system can help team members to stay on the same page with regard to the CRM strategy used and the way in which to use it. This is particularly true for the sales and marketing departments.
The marketing team of a company focuses on getting the target audience’s attention by using tools such as social media and email marketing, while the sales team comes in to actually pitch the product or service in question. Both teams’ focus is on the consumer. Their processes should go hand in hand, and therefore, their alignment is vital. This is why more companies are now including the use of CRM software in their training as part of their effective sales coaching.
Having the relevant customer data available in one place means everyone is looking at the same information from the same dashboard. Customer data can even be used to generate synthetic data which in turn helps improve business efficiency.
Both departments can then share insights and data interpretations, as well as provide each other feedback in order to help one another and improve overall performance. They can also use this information to set goals that will enable them to maximize their marketing and sales efforts.
Certain companies, such as HubSpot, offer different CRM platforms based on your needs. However, they recommend using them together in order to maximize the benefits of the CRM tools. This means that you can opt for the Marketing Hub and the Sales Hub to enjoy increased internal alignment, among other things.
Over recent times, we have seen voice technology pick up speed. How many of us now have Alexa and Siri in our homes? Though these are marketed towards personal use a lot of the time, the world of business is quick to notice an opportunity when one comes along. This is why voice technology is on this list of CRM trends.
There are many uses for voice technology in a company; sales departments can use it, via their CRM platforms, to update customer information, keep track of customer interactions, and communicate internally as well as externally.
Moreover, you can use this to establish a positive line of communication with your customers by providing them with a voice that they can listen to as well as converse with. This will help you deliver better customer service and experience – two crucial elements for any business, since they can have a drastic impact on metrics such as CLV (customer lifetime value) and CSAT (customer satisfaction).
It will also allow you to gain further insights into your consumers. The data you collect can then be used to better inform the various strategies that you have in place.
However, be careful not to infringe on consumers’ privacy when looking to use data acquired from voice technology. We all probably have been in a scenario where we’ve asked Alexa to, and then were assailed by domain names on every page we visited for the next week. This is where marketing becomes creepy, and this often doesn’t reflect well on companies.
This trend is likely the least surprising. Seeing as many of us spend hours on our phones daily, this makes sense. Thanks to marvelous technology, we can use our phones to do just about anything. In today’s climate, ease of access has become crucial. Remote working is now an accepted reality for many, and this means that businesses must adapt to this shift in order to thrive.
CRM platforms are no exception; the more accessible they are, the easier it is for all workers, in the office, hybrid, or remote, to carry out their assigned tasks. Developers are aware of this, and will likely be using mobile usability testing tools to continue producing apps that cater to the ever-evolving needs of the business world and offer cross-device utilization, in addition to being not only adaptable but flexible.
Therefore, acquiring a CRM system that allows your team members to obtain the necessary data easily, regardless of their location, is definitely something that you should consider. This particularly applies to businesses that are expanding and taking on employees who are not physically at the business location.
Freshsales is an example of a CRM platform provider that includes features for increased mobile compatibility. They allow users to access data and use their phones to add information to the system, as well as send SMS and emails from the app itself.
CRM can take many forms, CRM systems being one of them. Crucial to any thriving business, these can make a sizable difference to the way your company operates, as well as increase the efficiency and productivity of your team, the effectiveness of your communication with consumers, and improve the customer service and experience that you offer.
Keeping up to date with the latest CRM trends will help you figure out what you need to keep an eye on and the type of features you may want your next CRM system to include.
Jenna Bunnell – Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted outbound call center system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Jenna Bunnell also published articles for domains such as PingPlotter and CIENCE. Check out her LinkedIn profile.