2017 is here and with it comes the cautious promise that the last of our most beloved celebrities have passed, and maybe we can all just breathe a sigh of relief for Betty White. But 2017 isn’t just about living a year without losing celebrities, or hearing about the election every 17.8 seconds, it’s about seeing what’s in store for CRM!
I often feel like I’m living in the future. I can talk to a robot on the phone who insists it understands me enough for me to speak the way I would to a person (it doesn’t). I can use augmented reality to catch Pokémon. I can even fly around on a jet pack. CRM is no exception. Companies who create CRM are continually working to be on the cutting edge of technology. Sales teams need all the help they can get.
So what will 2017 bring to CRM? Well, Gartner predicts it will become a $36.5B industry. Here are my 5 predictions on how the industry is going to increase its market-share effectively.
1. CRMs will split out by vertical.
To date, CRM has largely been kept as its own category of software, a separate companion to whatever other systems you’re already using to suit your industry. However, that often means that when you purchase CRM, it doesn’t necessarily have all the functionality or compatibility for what you do all day, every day.
CRM companies over the past few years have been realizing that there is a need for highly specialized CRMs. I predict that 2017 is the year that vertically specialized CRMs take off. We’ll start seeing CRMs specific to such industries as eCommerce, Field Service, and Real Estate. In fact, it’s likely that within 5-10 years, CRMs will no longer come standalone at all, but as a part of industry specific solutions.
2. Predictive Analytics will take center stage.
Predictive analytics has been developing, and 2017 is the year it is going to become a truly marketable function. With predictive analytics, CRMs will be able to offer you the ability to forecast sales accurately, and get your sales and marketing teams ready for busy times, and creative for slow times. Predictive analytics, for instance, will allow you to determine what offers will work better at certain times of the year.
3. Mobile CRMS are going to come to the forefront.
Salespeople tend to leave their desks often – they’re taking client lunches, visiting client offices, attending client events. And other roles that use CRMs often don’t even have a desk – a retail sales associate or a field service technician, for instance. With that said, most CRMs have still focused on being desktop-ready and left mobile behind. Many solutions haven’t even had an app.
It’s 2017 now, though, and it’s time for that to change. As companies recognize that their customers want to be able to take their CRM with them everywhere, we’re going to start seeing companies focusing on mobile-first. We could even see the creation of brands that are solely available via app this year.
4. Automation is going to kill the cold call.
Automation has slowly been fusing with CRMs – marketing automation, for instance, has been operating many of the routine emails that salespeople used to have to send manually. We’ve now reached a level of functionality with automation that we can run such things as customer service chatbots. In 2017, CRMs will begin to effectively fuse automation capabilities throughout and CRM users will begin to experiment with running a large amount of their early touches through automation. 2017 is the year automation is going to begin to render cold calls a thing of the past. By the time salespeople make their first personal touch, the client will have already been warmed up.
5. Big Data is going to get into the legal weeds.
There’s a lot to worry about with Big Data – companies now have an insane amount of information about customers, information that could, in theory, be used to really invade someone’s privacy. And while companies have a lot of incentive not to really do much more with that data than maybe get a little too personal in Facebook ads, governments around the world are starting to pay attention and grow interested in protecting their citizens from business’s interests in their personal life. The EU, in particular, is interested in setting up laws surrounding Big Data, so this year CRM companies will have to start learning how they’ll be storing and collecting data.
So all that being said, I’m sure a lot more will happen in the world of CRM this year. After all, you don’t reach $36.5B as an industry without making a lot of moves. What do you think are the CRM trends industry will latch onto in 2017?