CRM is a rapidly changing area of business, for small and large companies alike. Fast developing tech, social media and the internet have changed forever how people reach out to, connect with, and help their customers.
At the end of the day, CRM is all about providing a better end service to the customers as such as streamlining work in the office, so it comes as no surprise that in 2015 there is still a very strong emphasis on customer engagement and customer data analytics.
So, with the year still relatively new, what buying trends can we expect to see during 2015? We’ve been taking a look at what small businesses are asking for and what the market is doing.
The Cloud comes into its own!
73% of small-business buyers are now considering a cloud-based CRM system, up from 48% in 2013.
The cloud, as you might expect, is making huge inroads into CRM and 73% of customers are seeking cloud-based solutions, compared with 48% in 2013. This is a big jump over two years and proves how the cloud is increasingly trusted by CRM buyers. According to a survey by Gartner CRM Guide, this figure of small businesses using cloud-based CRM solutions will be over 50% by the end of this year.
This trend of flocking to the cloud is partly for convenience but mainly because CRM updates can be costly, and the numbers of updates and upgrades is increasing. It is much cheaper to switch to the cloud as you need fewer IT staff on-site to deal with problems, you don’t need to splash out on expensive servers and other office infrastructure and the cloud as a platform is an infinitely adaptable platform that means you can adapt and change your CRM strategies as your company and customer base grows. Business owners are becoming much more comfortable with the concept of the Software as a Service delivery model as it is cutting edge and cheaper. In addition, old, or legacy CRMs that people are using are becoming increasingly incompatible with new software and mobile platforms. Switching to the cloud can solve these problems overnight.
Indeed if you are seeking the edge over the competition, this is a very good time to install a cloud based CRM solution. A Software Advice Small Business BuyerView in 2014 showed that 53% of participants, (including those in the UK and Australia) were still managing their customer relationships with spreadsheets and paper. If you’re doing this same in 2015 it’s time to make a change – and fast.
44% of people open their emails on mobile devices, 33% open their emails on a desktop
The power of smartphones and tablets means that many of us are now walking round with powerful computers in our pockets and the CRM market is adapting to this sea change in how we interact with technology. CRM mobile platforms offer fantastic speed and ease of use while ensuring that sales teams out on the road can keep up with CRM records and be better prepared for meetings and selling. CRM systems are designed with mobile deployment in mind, and rely on user-customizable interfaces so sales teams can work at their most effective.
A example of this is one of the latest developments from Windows which is the addition of voice commands for Dynamics CRM for their Windows phone. Using voice commands, sales people can bring up CRM notes and records and have all the facts they need to hand when making deals.
Social media comes to the fore
American CRM buyers, are three times more likely than Australian buyers to request social media functionality and integration.
Just a few years ago, most social media sites were just seen as teenage hangouts where photos were swapped and dates arranged. How things change. These days, any company that neglects its social media presence will soon fall behind. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook are where we post reviews, sell goods and services and share grievances. As a result, customers are more powerful than ever. They are used to having access for more information about companies and products and they expect more engagement. CRM services are changing to reflect this. By engaging with social media you have your fingers on the pulse of what your customers are saying and doing. So in 2015 investment in social media tools looks likely to grow to give power to marketing and sales teams to keep their pitches relevant.
Window’s Microsoft Dynamics 2015 offers even greater capability in its social listening tools allowing you to collect insights about your company’s brand or services, while your salespeople can use the Dynamics CRM platform to spot customer complaints and frustrations while seeing new opportunities to upsell.
At the moment only 2% of CRM buyers in Australia are seeking integration with social media channels to import contacts and track integrations. If you get in now, you can blow away the competition.
88% of CRM buyers are seeking a sales force automation application but only 10% want a customer service application.
Another CRM trend for 2015 is increased integration. Small and medium businesses are beginning to understand the extra efficiency and advantages of integrated CRM suites over standalone applications. In a Software Advice Survey, 37% of business owners were seeking all-in-one CRM applications. In 2013 it was a mere 7%. This desire for integration isn’t so surprising when you consider that all stages of any sales process are interconnected in some way and collaboration between sales and marketing teams makes sense. Sales people know what customers want and can help marketing and campaign departments to tailor their campaigns accordingly. It is by using platforms like the one offered in Dynamics CRM that companies will get ahead of the competition via increased cooperation.
For more information about what’s new in CRM why don’t you drop us a line?