It’s that time of year when everyone casts an eye to the future and offers predictions on key industry trends.
While there is no shortage of trends to anticipate this year, business owners should keep their eyes on one in particular: CRM.
There’s never been more opportunities for businesses when it comes to managing relationships with their customers. Building on a strong foundation of CRM tools, there are a number of ways to nurture your relationships.
Here are a few predictions for CRM in 2016:
1. The evolution of user-generated CRM.
Customers today are connecting to everything, and they demand a higher level of engagement, more transparency and a great user experience. As a result, companies will continue to look to next-generation collaboration solutions that connect business processes to solve the engagement gap.
Online communities, for example, provide systems of engagement and intelligence-sharing, while also serving as a system of record for companies of every size and industry. They also create a social platform that engages customers, partners and employees and drives action and results for their businesses. As the use of social media becomes more second nature in both personal and professional settings, communities allow companies to engage groups in deeper conversations resulting in stronger customer relationships.
2. The rise of virtual reality CRM.
Like wearables, VR has taken off in the consumer space. While applications of VR for business might still be in their early days, there’s a great opportunity to use this technology to take CRM to the next level.
When you think about how CRM is traditionally used to help sales teams get to know and connect with their customers better, the potential for VR is incredible. VR could be tied to CRM data to help visualize data or to create new kinds of virtual meetings between sales professionals and customers in different locations.
3. The widespread adoption of wearable CRM.
For a few years now, the adoption of wearable consumer technology has been on the rise (one need only to look at CES 2016 this year to see its continuing impact). While it continues to gain momentum with consumers, 2016 could be the year when enterprise wearables really begin to take off.
The timing is right. In fact, a study from Salesforce Research found that 76 per cent of wearables adopters reported improvements in business performance since deploying wearables in the enterprise. Access to CRM tools via wearable devices is set to turn this trend into a must-have for on-the-go business executives.
There’s never been a more exciting time to be in the sales and the customer service industry — the evolution of CRM will allow businesses to close deals faster, deepen customer relationships, and ultimately make a tremendous impact on the bottom line.