About Rebecca DiCioccio

Rebecca DiCioccio is the Marketing Manager at Paperform. Outside of work, Rebecca can be found exploring the outdoors or with a book in hand. Rebecca’s background in copywriting and keen interest in SEO and digital marketing mean she understands the importance of staying up to date with the latest trends in a dynamic and ever changing industry.

Future CRM trends your small business needs to watch out for

This article was originally published on the Method:CRM blog

This blog from Method:CRM is a guest contribution by Rebecca DiCioccio — the Marketing Manager at Paperform

In the world of small business tech, things change fast and CRM solutions are no exception.

With new CRM providers popping up almost every week, this can be a tricky space for your small business to navigate.

To make this process easier, here are the top 3 future CRM trends you need to have on your radar.

But first, let’s start with some CRM 101 to get us all on the same page.

What is a CRM?

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is designed to help you manage interactions and relationships with customers.

So, in other words, it’s a goldmine of customer and lead details that includes everything from one’s purchase history to demographic data.

A CRM is useful across the board, as it lets teams from sales to customer service easily find the customer data they need to get the job done efficiently.

All in all, a CRM is a powerful solution that lets you do everything from storing customer contact interactions to managing your email campaigns.

AI

The first future CRM trend to watch out for is Artificial intelligence (AI).

AI is growing at a fast rate across all industries and CRM isn’t going to miss the boat.

CRM solutions are enhanced by the use of AI in multiple ways, with opportunities to save time and money, as well as gain incredible insights and data.

In fact, by the end of 2021, AI associated with CRM activities will give a $1.1 trillion boost to global business revenue.

So, everyone working in sales should pay attention to artificial intelligence and how it can be used together with human intelligence.

Workflow automation is one of the biggest and most important uses for AI in CRM. For example, using automation for your sales workflow can put hours back into your day each week as you don’t have to worry about manually entering lead data or following up with prospects.

Tools like marketing automation software or lead management software, are especially helpful here as they let you leave repetitive tasks to automation and allow you to focus on more impactful tasks.

Workflow automation is a must-have future CRM trend as it:

  • Saves you time
  • Increases your productivity
  • Reduces your workload
  • Lets smaller teams accomplish more

Conversational tools such as chatbots are another excellent way to make the most of AI for CRM.

Rather than completely take over from human customer service teams and salespeople, this CRM trend automates some of the most simple and common queries.

As AI gets more advanced, it will be able to handle more complex queries too — making this an important future CRM trend.

Social CRM

Getting the deepest view of your potential customer is a powerful and effective way to close more sales. And social media channels are no exception to the 360-degree customer view we’re all after.

That’s why social media channel software integrations are one of the top future CRM trends on this list.

This is particularly true when looking at the impact of COVID-19 on digital prospecting and online sales.

With everyone stuck at home, social media provided everything from friends to window shopping.

In fact, 60% of customer interactions with companies are projected to be online in 2021 and the rest in-person. In comparison, 2018 was practically the opposite with 42% of interactions were online and 58% in-person.

Online customer interactions are set to increase 43% post-pandemic. – ROI Revolution, 2021.

Combining social media and CRM gets businesses closer to their customers online. It offers you a chance to get deeper insights into what your customers think and what they say about your brand online.

When you keep an eye on what’s happening on social media, you can collect customer feedback and use it to improve the customer experience as a whole.

A single line of customer communication

Taking an omnichannel approach to business has become popular over recent years, but it could soon be a thing of the past.

While the behaviour of leads and customers reaching out to you via multiple channels like phone, email, and social media is unlikely to change, how you manage these interactions should.

Especially when you consider that the current best practice results in full-time service reps switching screens up to 1,100 times a day on average.

A full-time customer service rep switches screens 1,100 times a day on average. American Telephone, 2020.

The alternative is to take a channel-less approach to communication requests and instead filter everything to your CRM.

This way your customer interaction can take place on any channel and one application will handle all incoming queries. This means your team members don’t have to continually check each platform and can stop jumping between over 1,000 screens daily.

With this CRM trend, communication is centralized so that customers can still choose their preferred method of communication but customer support teams have a much easier time trying to stay on top of everything. A true win-win scenario.

The final word: Future CRM trends to watch out for

The world of CRM is changing. New technologies and tools are making things easier, saving time and money for small businesses everywhere. Here’s a recap of the future CRM trends you need to be ready for:

  • Artificial intelligence is bringing automation and chatbots to the table
  • Social media is becoming more important to your sales process than ever before
  • It’s time to unify the line of communication you have with your potential and existing customers with a CRM

CRM trends, like just about everything in business, are always advancing. If you don’t keep an eye on these latest trends, you could get left behind. So, what better time than now for your small business to get on board with the way technology is heading.

Want a CRM that evolves with your business? Start your 30-day free trial of Method:CRM today.