Customer relationship management (CRM) is becoming more and more essential to businesses and companies that belong to highly competitive industries. It helps them enhance their customer experience and makes it easier for them to engage with their buyers. And the trend is such that companies are looking for CRM packages that allow them to have more and more targeted interactions with their customers, especially in multi-channel environments.
According to Gartner, the CRM market is expected to grow to $23.9 billion in 2014. And for the first time, Gartner includes the Internet of Things as one of the drivers to CRM growth.
For years, Gartner has identified mobile, social, cloud and big data as the main drivers for CRM growth.
- Mobile because more people are now expected to access the Internet via their smartphones and tablets, even surpassing PC users in 2014. This is also how most people check their social networking accounts. Plus, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies at work are becoming more and more popular with various businesses.
- Social because marketing is tasked to monitor, track, communicate and engage with customers in the various social networks that are out there. Businesses are needed to respond to Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and LinkedIn discussions. They are also using social media to get new leads and business intelligence.
- Cloud delivery of CRM services is considered a mature area and it is seen that companies have already switched to cloud services. Still, even when it is expected to steadily slow as a driver for CRM adoption, the cloud will still bring in the numbers.
- Big data has made it possible for marketing to get more and more data from varied sources and now marketing departments can have predictive models and business analysis, which could help them make product recommendations to their existing customers.
And then there is the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things, where everyday objects are becoming smarter and are connected to the Internet, is going to drive CRM initiatives as well. Sensors and communication technologies are rapidly becoming cheaper, so they are becoming more and more present and incorporated to everyday things. This allows you to have information about your customers in ways that you have never even imagined. For example, seeing that more and more of your customers are driving, you might want to offer them some in-car entertainment services or perhaps offer them products that they could use while they are on the road in their cars. If they wear fitness bands, you could offer them products that could help them along with their efforts to lose weight or lead healthier lives.
Taken together, these factors are driving change and making it possible for marketers and business owners to target experiences for their customers, and thereby calls for more investments in CRM software. If you need your marketing, sales and customer service representatives to be top-notch, you would need to give them a customer relationship management software that can handle data coming from social, mobile, cloud, big data and the Internet of Things!
Photo courtesy of Sean MacEntee.