CRM – The Billion Dollar Market
By Amir Hussain (CRM Analyst)
With the advent of the Internet, businesses have acquired a whole new arena for their day-to-day sales and purchase. Crediting the instant ability to access files and information in real time and anywhere in the world, people across the globe are implementing cloud computing into their organizations.
Customer Relationship Management software has come a long way in the past 30 years. From enterprise contact databases and early sales force automation systems, to the emergence of cloud CRMs and surviving the dot com bubble burst, CRM technology has had a long history (at least in comparison to other software solutions). Today, with the rise of social CRMs, marketing automation solutions, Big Data, and mobile CRM apps, the industry continues to evolve and cater to new business needs of the 21st century.
According to CRM software research conducted by Capterra, predicted to be a $36 billion market by 2017, the CRM market is on pace to surpass Enterprise Resource Planning as the largest grossing enterprise software sub-segment, and it is already the fastest growing type of business software.
As CRM software is quintessential to the growth of the software industry as a whole and one of the most ubiquitous types of business software, it’s important to understand how businesses actually use this technology, and where CRMs could stand to improve in the coming years.
From measuring sales pipelines to tracking customer lifetime value, and even monitoring team productivity, there are countless ways where a typical CRM can benefit an organization thus contributing towards a constant growth.
One of the key benefit of the system is that users only need a minimum of training to be able to use it. The fact that it can be accessed easily and from anywhere makes staff much more inclined to use it than they were the old system, which, of course, makes it more valuable.
Analytics & CRM
CRM technology offers a great benefit when it comes to data analytics, from providing a well-designed and organizationally consistent multi-functional dashboard view to corporate reporting a CRM is something which has a capability to prove itself a benchmark for company’s growth thus it’s a key go-to source for strategic and tactical planning and forecasting. Oracle’s Mason says a particular benefit of the analytics approach to CRM is that it enables businesses to better predict demand. Many SMEs are now trading over the internet and seeing for themselves the truth in the maxim that the Web makes everybody the same size.
“Even if there’s over demand, you can use analytics to show which customers should be better served,” Mason says, adding that he and his colleagues talk of using the technology to turn “victims of success” into “victors of success”. (Ref: independent.co.uk).
The mobility of the data is a dynamic feature which adds to the success of the CRM, it allows users the mobility necessary in this day and age of global marketing. For example, a busy executive on a business trip in India may need to know what is going on at the company headquarters in America. Rather than having to make phone calls and trying other stuffs to get the information, they can simply check updated and statistics online on the CRM tool. The Internet is, for the most part, everywhere. Therefore, cloud computing allows the mobility necessary for success.
CRM gets smarter with Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies
According to research by Gartner, 20% of business content will be created by machines by 2018, and 6 billion connected devices will require the ability to connect and share data with other devices. CRM professionals point to two primary developments that fuel the increase of artificial intelligence technologies. First, there’s the increase in vast amounts of data that needs sorting and understanding. Then, there’s the move to cloud CRM systems, which enables the intake and dissection of data from dozens of digital sources.
We’re at the front end of massive data sets and big data driving the next evolution of CRMs. Thus the need for AI coming on the heels of that.
There are dozens of sources online from which CRM companies can draw information, including social sites like Facebook and Twitter. They can also utilize public records, including police reports, court records or property-ownership records.
With all the information across devices and platforms available, it does a company little good if it doesn’t have a way to integrate the data into its CRM. That’s where the advancement in cloud CRM tools helped set the stage for the need for AI.
“In the past, it was on-premises software, and there was more friction and larger wall between data and third-party apps,” Lee said. “The access to data increased dramatically, and, in the past, that required a lot of integration. The world moved to the cloud, and now you have the opportunity to analyze not just your company’s data, but data from other companies and different categories. You start finding patterns.”
CRM and Customer Experience
Businesses initiate CRMs for a variety of reasons. Many do so because they can increase revenue by better understanding their customers. By gaining insight into both individual customers and target market segments, companies can boost sales and optimize top-line business performance. The essence of customer relationship management is to balance and enhance the customer experience for improved loyalty. The technology focus upon delivering the customer centricity through customer lifecycle care (CLC). A white paper contributed by Sheryl Kingstone highlighted the fact that More than 75% of enterprises have a CRM strategy as well as the necessary data for a 360-degree view of the customer. CLC builds upon current CRM initiatives by delivering high-value information across the customer relationship lifecycle using the 360-degree view. With CLC, companies can:
- Improve revenue by targeting customers’ specific desires and increasing customer wallet share
- Reduce costs through more efficient and effective execution because all customers are not created equal
- Enhance the customer experience by providing differentiated products and services.
Companies continue to focus on CRM and customer lifecycle care as a key driver for improved business performance. Customer-centric companies use every customer touchpoint to stimulate interest, close business, satisfy a need or demonstrate a commitment to the relationship. This ensures that every customer contact produces value.
Thus, the promise of CRM is big- and it’s achievable, too. The technology is a revolution, it’s an age of cloud computing thus it’s an age of information where ignorance is not an excuse, knowing your customer is much easier than ever before, selling the right product to the right customer at the right time is very much possible with this cutting edge CRM technology.
This feature story has been contributed to TimesHeadline.com by Amir Hussain, who works as a CRM Analyst at a US based MNC.