It feels as though Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have been a part of the business landscape forever. From the early ACT! contact management systems of the 80’s, the rise of Salesforce across the millennium and to the present day scenario of multi-vendor SaaS options, the CRM market is now fully established and shows no sign of slowing down in its growth.
Gartner recently predicted that 2018 would be the year of CRM – with market growth predicted to be the fastest ever and the current $39 Billion market size, expected to be raised up to $40 Billion plus in 2019.
With the experts in agreement that the CRM market is booming, we wanted to take a look at some big changes we think the CRM market will see in the not to distant future.
Prioritising Security and Data Location
We think security and peace of mind regarding data location is going to continue to be huge in the next 6 months, all through 2019 and beyond!
If you’ve been operating in Europe, GDPR will undoubtedly have been on your radar in the last two years and with CRM systems a key tool for managing customer data, their place in business factors into everyone’s thought and decision making processes.
The fallout from GDPR means that people are a lot more switched on about asking questions around where their data is held and what security measures which surround it. Many SaaS providers may need to start considering where and how they process customer data, with many organisations already looking to provide dedicated geographical services to customers within Europe.
Of course, with change as wide reaching and fundamental as GDPR, opinions varied massively, with some organsations turning their back on certain markets to overcome any changes in process. With the full effects of GDPR still to be seen, expect to see a full range of security changes across the entire CRM market.
Full Access On The Move
While it’s not something that’s groundbreaking in the current market, the use of mobile technology is still on the rise throughout the globe both personally and professionally. Even though CRM systems are commonly used on an office desktop PC or portable laptop, as the world becomes more and more interconnected, mobile and tablet compatibility will need to step up.
Providers will no longer be able to get away with limited mobile functionality and instead, will need to find a way to offer their core and bespoke services on the move to cater for the ever-changing business landscape. Alongside this, may providers are starting to incorporate a ‘DIY’ approach to bespoke app building, utilising modular based software to tailor the functionality on a case-by-case basis to individual client needs.
Cisco has predicted that, over the coming years, the way we connect to the internet (and therefore our business and personal systems/software) is only going to become more diverse. Rises have been seen in Mobile and Tablet connectivity and even into new arenas such as internet compatible TV’s, wearable devices and smart home technology.
And with Voice entering the market in a huge way in 2016, it won’t be long before Alexa and Siri will need to work with CRM systems too to give us the key information we need at a moments notice.
Becoming More Intelligent
Since the start of the internet age, experts have been predicting how Artificial Intelligence would impact our lives, with an equal numbers of dangers and benefits identified.
Fast forward to 2018, the realities of AI are now coming to our professional lives, with many CRM companies investing heavily in research and development towards an end goal of making their system the most intelligent.
Some early advancements into what AI actually means for CRM have been a little puzzling, with features such as Lead Prioritising and Recommendation Generation new to the market but not promising the impact many expected. We’re yet to see any real success stories off the back of these new features but expect that to change with tangible results in the pipeline over the next 12 months.
Couple this with the rise in Machine Learning and Big Data, we will expect to see some big changes in the way existing features of CRM operate, taking much of the manual intervention out of our already streamlined daily administrative processes.
Whether AI is a good thing or not, we’ll let you decide!
Being More Social
Social Media has become a huge part of every one of our lives, giving us the place to share memories, connect with new people and simply while away the time. With a mass of people in one place, it wasn’t long before it became commercialised with social selling now a key feature of any sales strategy.
’Social CRM’ is a term which has been with us for a couple of years now, but has only very recently become a staple part of many CRM systems as a native element. Incorporating social communications and touch points into a CRM system is set to become common place, with that valuable social data there to better inform and educate users in an attempt to deliver a higher quality of service.
It may not be long until we see Social CRM’s taking the place of Social Business Accounts and the main driver of corporate social media activity, with the benefits of ‘having everything under one roof’ a big win for business.
There you have it, our top 4 key predictions for the growing CRM landscape in 2019. Personally, we’re excited to see how mobile technology and the rise of AI impact the market and shape the features and functions appearing on every supplier’s road map.
James is a BDM and content writer at OpenCRM, a fully featured cloud CRM provider which helps businesses of all sizes reach their growth ambitions.
James loves talking all things tech and business improvement, so why not reach out on Linkedin?