As recently as 10 years ago, the concept of CRM (Customer Relationship Management) might have caused some perplexed looks. For years, consultants spent much of their time trying to teach potential clients the benefits CRM provides. CRM has come a long way since. CRM is now the biggest and fastest growing software market, reshaping the way industries around the world conduct business.

Companies are realizing the importance of adopting a CRM early to succeed in customer relations. According to Capterra, 65% of companies get a CRM within their first five years. The companies adopting CRMs are across all industries, not specific to one. That’s because CRM isn’t just for one type of business or industry, it’s a software that’s applicable to B2C and B2B businesses. The chart below indicates the retail industry as the biggest user of CRMs, however, businesses services, manufacturing, and other B2B oriented industries aren’t far behind. The right CRM fulfills the industry-specific criteria you need to use the software effectively.

The Impact of CRM

  • A CRM can increase revenue by 41% per sales person. With so much room for potential revenue, it would be illogical not to adopt one.
  • It is known knowledge that it’s easier and less expensive to upsell to a current customer than try to acquire a new one. Having a CRM can increase customer retention by as much as 27%, fostering long-term relationships with more upsell opportunities.
  • The average ROI for CRM is $8.71 for every dollar spent. That is a 771% difference!
  • CRM increases salesperson productivity – statistics show productivity improves by 15%.
  • Three out of four consumers say they spent more money with a company because of a positive customer experience.” CRM keeps sales, marketing, and services on top of customer interactions to improve these experiences through tangible data.
  • 82% of customers will stop using a service because they don’t think the company cares about them. On the flip side, 70% of customers with positive experiences will refer the company to family and friends.

These are just a few of the many statistics showing how powerful CRM is and the positive impact it has on sales, customer retention, ROI, and customer service. CRM improves each area of business by allowing teams to work proactively and efficiently with each other. It’s no surprise that CRM has grown so rapidly, and is set to continue its steady growth. The chart below forecasts where CRM will be in 2023.The software continues its upward trend as it further saturates the market, and it isn’t slowing down any time soon.

CRM is a Changing Software

If CRM software companies want to keep this momentum, they must adjust to the demands of the market. Innovations in AI, Cloud hosting, and bots are just a few of the trends keeping the ears of CRM influencers to the ground.

The power of AI reduces manual data entry, giving users more time to complete important tasks efficiently. Users are starting to demand AI as they realize its uses for customer service, too. AI can predict outcomes to problems service departments may be unsure of, and streamline the resolution. AI also helps marketing make educated decisions and gather the best feedback possible. Many CRMs are starting to integrate AI into their products, adding a new, dynamic layer to this already powerful software.

Another trend that’s already transformed the CRM industry is the proliferation of the Cloud. Only 12% of CRMs in 2008 were accessed through the Cloud. With a 75% swing in the opposite direction, Cloud-based CRM has now taken over the majority of the market.

In addition to its evolution with AI technology, CRM is learning to play a bigger role in social media. Social media bots record conversations and interact with customers, which streamline customer service experiences and delivers faster issue resolution. The use of bots is still up for debate though. Companies recognize the value of chatbots for keeping up with the constant flow of social media interactions, but many worry that the lack of personalization and human reaction will cause problems. Regardless of hesitations, the use of chatbots continues to grow. According to research by Social Media Examiner, about 15% of 5,000 marketers surveyed are actively using chatbots, with nearly 40% planning to increase their chatbot use within the next year. As these bots become accessible through CRM, their learned customer behaviors will guide sales and marketing departments towards the right demographics to contact at the ideal time. Chatbot-enabled CRM will offer a domino effect through intelligence and predictive behaviors that will only increase the value of the CRM system.

Many experts predict that customer service bots will take over almost all human customer service areas. The advantage is that these bots are quicker learners and can recognize trends in ways that humans can’t. Bots don’t get sick and will never miss a day of work, which is another huge advantage. They can respond through social media, phone, or email, but preliminary data shows SMS makes for an even faster response rate.

“The future CRMs will need to use information from different but tightly related sources over time, including social signals, communication frequency, omnichannel support, and customer analytics; and collect them to generate meaningful relationship intelligence” – Asokan Ashok, CEO of UnfoldLabs said in a recent article on CRMs must remain highly compatible with integrating systems because omnichannel communication and analytics will continue to grow. If CRMs fail to be highly compatible, they will become irrelevant.

Putting the Power of CRM to Work for You

Would you rather have an average business, or a successful one? It comes as no surprise, everyone would pick a successful business. How can you achieve that goal? Implement the right CRM software to your company. Companies with CRMs have an edge over competitors, but the gaps are closing quickly as more of these competitors adopt their own highly-efficient CRM systems. With the proliferation of CRM across the board, businesses need to think outside the box to maintain the edge the software once provided. This means periodically reassessing business processes and understanding how those processes fit into the current system. Is CRM customization needed to align with the changes? What about integration? Research shows that integrating software systems unearths trends that are otherwise invisible with separate systems. Cross-referencing information between systems reveals data patterns and gives way to more educated, proactive decision making.

CRM is evolving quickly, and providing new ways to overcome problems. Its explosive impact is supercharged by the addition of chatbots, AI, and other up-and-coming technologies. These new technologies are changing the way we work and how we live. Companies that aren’t adopting the most influential software on the market or thinking about how to add to their customer experience, put themselves at serious risk of falling behind – now more than ever.

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