Magazine article CRM Magazine

Software Advances Are Propelling CRM to New Heights: Seven Trends Businesses Cannot Afford to Ignore

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Software Advances Are Propelling CRM to New Heights: Seven Trends Businesses Cannot Afford to Ignore

Article excerpt

DURING MY YEARS in the CRM industry, I've witnessed many changes in the quality and richness of CRM software. My company has just completed testing software solutions for the 19th year of our Top 15 CRM Software Awards, and I am excited to report on seven trends ISM believes will have a meaningful impact on our industry over the next several years:

Trend #1: Integration with social media applications. CRM vendors are beginning to offer integration with third-party, comprehensive social media applications, adding a new social element to traditional CRM processes. These applications enable a business to introduce customer conversations and relationships from social networking Web sites into the CRM process. Look for social CRM to become integrated into CRM platforms and applications for a more complete view of customers through the use of feeds from social media channels.

Trend #2: Increased availability of social media functionality. CRM vendors are increasingly providing direct access to social media functionality. We forecast that the monitoring, filtering, and analyzing of relevant social media posts for sentiment and other organizational purposes will be an increasing focus in the next few years.

Trend #3: Increased social media customer assistance options. Many CRM vendors see social media as a cost-effective method for improving customer assistance options. We see more organizations building online communities for customer assistance, which increasingly come with tight integration into other CRM processes.

Trend #4: Increased use of big data analytical tools in CRM solutions. These tools are used to profile customers based on their behavior, segment markets, and predict customer purchases based on past purchase information and psychographic and/or demographic data. The expansion of Internet traffic, social networking, mobile devices, and cloud applications will generate a tremendous increase in unstructured data, leading to an increased demand for business analytics software that combines text analytics, sentiment extraction, and related technologies to find patterns and trends among social network, mobile device, and cloud application users.

Trend #5: Increased mobile CRM offerings and a move toward real-time CRM. …

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