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BizReport : Advertising archives : December 25, 2017

Top 3 CRM trends to watch

More brands are adding 'relationship' to their marketing stack, trying to create more connections with their customers. While this is an admirable goal, many are also still struggling with how to create better customer relationships without over-connecting and turning the customer off. Here are three trends marketers should consider in their strategies.

by Kristina Knight

Think of 'Relationship Intelligence' as it's own category

"Despite ongoing rumblings about AI and machine learning meshing with CRM software, we haven't seen much come of the hype. But, as AI finds more practical use cases inside the lead-to-cash lifecycle -- and especially given that we currently live in a subscription economy (more on that later) -- I believe we will see the emergence of a separate category, "Relationship Intelligence," which is somewhat separate from core CRM," said Martin Schneider, Head of Corporate Strategy, SugarCRM. "[Marketers] might leverage some CRM data, the real gems are found in the oceans of data outside the corporate firewalls. By adding algorithms to this data and feeding it to employees, we can make anyone in the organization a relationship expert. This holds a lot of value in B2B, but also in more retention-focused B2C worlds."

Build upon the subscription economy

"While not everyone sells a product or performs services under a renewable contract, the subscription model is affecting everything. Simply put: Customer retention and satisfaction are more important than ever," said Schneider. "The CRM systems we have been building for years have focused primarily on new business with a side of customer support typically in a silo of a call center or help-desk tool. This must change. As workflow and other analytics become both more sophisticated and easier to consume for the average user, CRM must include more insights into customer health, likeliness to churn, and steps an employee can take to ensure a win-win growth of customer lifetime value over time. The technology is there today, in many CRM portfolios. The key is offering these features as simple, out-of-the box tools in a world growing more and more reliant on repeat business and recurring revenue."

Carefully consider the type of software used to collect and analyze data

"Just as the Relationship Intelligence category might shake up the competitive landscape in CRM, the desire for fast, agile CRM deployments will result in a lot of CRM buyers rejecting the "old guard" as over-featured, over-priced offerings. Instead, they will opt for solutions that provide strong core CRM functionality, which can be configured quickly to react to changes in the business or in customer expectations," said Schneider. "A recent survey of hundreds of CRM users revealed that nearly one-half of respondents felt "oversold" on their CRM purchase. The bells and whistles in the big enterprise CRM providers' solutions aren't needed by a very large portion of businesses. The providers that offer the core features across the marketing-sales-support spectrum at a solid price point and with simplified add-on/configuration models will start eating into the big guys' business -- if they aren't already."

Tags: advertising, CRM strategy, customer relationship management, ecommerce, SugarCRM

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