We predict that CRM investments will be at the heart of all digital initiatives over the next few years integrating sales pipelines with mobility, social media, web analytics and e-commerce.Gartner Research Firm
CRM software revenue is forecast to reach $23.9 billion in 2014, with cloud revenue accounting for 49 percent. SaaS- or cloud-based CRM deployments currently represent more than 40 percent of all CRM deployments, and look set to reach 50 percent during 2015.
In addition, leading commentators predict that the next evolution in CRM design will encompass automatic lead generation effectively recommending and identifying customers for your business with little, or no manual interjection required by a marketing department.
“The solution should completely eliminate the need to buy leads separately or hire a lead management team to find good leads,” said Forbes Magazine.
“For example, if I’m selling janitorial services to office buildings, my CRM should every morning recommend new office building management companies to me based off of my existing customer base, quality controls, and marketing response.”
The biggest industries investing in CRM will likely be in the banking, insurance, securities, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, IT manufacturing and high-tech sectors. We have already written about the influence banking has had on CRM security in previous posts.
Customer retention and customer churn, two sides of the same coin, are being targeted in customer support and service (CSS) initiatives that involve using big data analytics and peer-to-peer communities to engineer consistent, differentiated cross-channel customer experiences while supporting the need for increased use of customer self-service.
A key feature of the studies and predictions above, involves the rise of the Chief Marketing Office (CM0) and his efforts to use cloud automation to reduce dependence on IT personnel, and consequently costs. This is expressed in the latest release of GetScorecard CRM software, which uses automated sales pipelines and universal customer health scores to identify valuable customers in danger of switching to the competition.
Both small and big companies are switching their allegiance to cloud-based CRMs but with one key difference: many slow-moving big enterprises are choosing complex systems like Salesforce to run their contact databases, which usually entails a full-time administrator. Small businesses on the other hand, need to plug in their credit card and start using the system within 10 minutes, straight out of the box. They yearn for the familiarity of Mail Chimp, Dropbox, Wix and other related cloud-services that are friendly and easy to use, a key rationale in the development of the GetScorecard system.
While small businesses are starting to move towards CRM implementations in droves, it is worth adding a cautionary note to this exercise put forward by a small business leader:
“Whenever I get asked the return on investment question around a C.R.M. system, I answer like this: If you had 30 percent more qualified leads a month, what would you do with them? How many of them would you close? What would that look like for your revenue? If you’re not ready to get serious around your sales process, it probably isn’t worth the money, no matter what the size of your business,” said Amy Larrimore, managing partner at Empire Builders Group.