Customer relationship management software (CRM) have evolved in leaps and bounds in recent years and go far beyond maintaining a customer registry and acquiring leads. At its best, CRM accelerates business growth. The year 2021 brings new dimensions to CRM technology and sales. We put together a list of the hottest eight of them.
Artificial intelligence powers sales analytics and processes. Predictions using artificial intelligence increase accuracy and improve predictability. For CRM processes, this means, among other things:
Sales automation brings more freedom and creativity to work. It automates small manual tasks that take up unnecessary time. CRM automation reduces repetitive tasks so we can focus on the essentials. For automation to be useful, it must be artificially intelligent and seamlessly integrated with CRM.
The stages of the sales process are described on the basis of what the customer or potential customer has done - from scheduling meetings and sending offers, to the stages of the purchasing process, for example, “need identified” or “schedule confirmed”.
Social CRM or social customer relationship management means integrating social media channels into customer relationship CRM platforms.
CRM platforms are increasingly supporting social media alongside traditional channels so customers can interact with businesses on the channels they want. By looking at social media and CRM together, companies get a more effective overview of what people publish about them on social media, as well as a clearer understanding of brand thinking.
If organizations use social CRM to respond to comments quickly and thoughtfully, they can build stronger relationships with their current and potential customers and incorporate more user feedback into their plans. Behind these interactions, a social CRM system helps companies gather a richer, more practical view of the opinions of the company, the brand, and the customers of certain products or services.
CRMs already offer social integration. In 2021, however, you can expect these features to be even more advanced.
In 2021, marketing will strengthen the genuine connection of brands to their customers. In this case, it is important to understand their target groups as people and what is relevant to them.
Value-based sales focus on benefiting from the customer throughout the sales process. Salespeople focus on a consultative approach to generate value for the customer, so the sales decision is made based on the potential value of the product.
Don't try to sell. Instead, offer value to your customers, and they will come to you naturally. Know their problem and know why you are the solution. Before you grab your phone, check out their profile in your CRM.
Social sales are just as subtle and as sensitive as value-based sales. Be visible on social media and be active.
In 2021, your customers need to be able to choose on which channel they receive information from your business. This is where multi-channeling comes into play. The company should try different channels in terms of sales, marketing, distribution and purchasing in order to offer its users a channel- and device-independent, smooth experience. In short: users want service in the channels that work best for them.
Just as automation allows you to send personalized campaigns to everyone in your CRM, chatbots allow you to respond quickly to anyone who contacts your business through the messaging app.
The next level of multi-channel buyer experience is the so-called no-channel experience, where communication with the user is seamlessly integrated between different channels.
You can’t help your customers if you don’t listen to them or try to understand their needs. The conversation experience offers more than just a business relationship. It builds a long-term relationship instead of simply resolving one-time issues.
The customer experience evolves over time as the company collects more historical information from the customer. When customers contact the company through different channels, they don’t think they’re having multiple separate conversations. They think they are having one discussion that focuses on solving one problem.
Customers want to contact the company if you speak like a human being. Especially if you connect with customers on social media, scripted, official language can sound hollow.
Video usage is increasing with buyers. Customer service video calls will become a norm in 2021 and some companies are already creating, among other things, video guides to the most frequently asked questions.
During the pandemic, Teams, Zoom, and Facetime have made us almost professionals in front of the camera, so it should come as no surprise that this powerful marketing tool is on the rise again.
"I'm confident that video will stick in 2021. The underlying statistics are undeniable — salespeople who use video will connect at three times the rate of those who don't, reducing the inefficiency of the outreach process as a whole.” HubSpot Sales Director Dan Tyre.
Marketing and social media company V3B's digital marketing consultants are finding that:
Companies are automating more processes with CRM. Top CRMs must offer advanced automation features to keep them up to date. Many of the big companies in the industry have invested heavily in automation in recent years; including HubSpot, Salesforce, and ActiveCampaign, which have placed automation development at the center of their products and marketing.
We predict that in 2021, CRM will become synonymous with automation. As automation evolves, robots perform more contact management tasks and save team members from unnecessary manual fiddling.
CRM must be integrated into all other parts of the business. CRM must be connected to all other tools and processes in the organization to derive benefit from it. From your email marketing tool to your billing system, make sure you've set up two-way syncs between customer data storage tools and CRM. Keeping your data in sync is the best way to avoid human error, resolve annoying silos, save time on manual entry and paint the clearest picture of your business for everyone.
In the 2020s, you should have no reason to doubt your customer data and wrestle with endless lists of duplicates and misleading data.
Mervi is a fan of impressive digital content. She believes in strong brands, data-driven content and the power of visual marketing. Mervi has more than 10 years of experience in marketing, specializing in social media and SEM.