Five Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Trends That Will Impact Your Small Business

Discover five CRM trends that every small business owner should consider when marketing and selling products and services.

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Customer relationship management (CRM) is an essential business tool for your organization, especially if you offer business-to-consumer (B2C) services.

CRM software automates your customer contact management system and sales process. It helps you makes customer the core of your business by offering useful insight on their buying behavior. In fact, the emerging CRM trends are crucial determinants of your company’s future sales performance.

Here are five CRM trends that every small business owner should be aware of:

1. The Rise of Social and Mobile CRM

The growing popularity of social media has made it important for businesses to study trends in order to understand the changing mindset of customers.

Many companies have already adopted policies to monitor and maintain their social profiles. More importantly, the integration of social media and CRM applications is an important trend to follow. Social CRM (SCRM) can help your company monitor customer reactions, generate leads, improve customer relationships and loyalty, optimize brand promotion and management, and allow for quick and timely customer service.

Also, in the growing tablet market–driven by Apple, Android, Windows and a myriad of other operating systems–there is a robust demand for creating portable mobile device applications. Further, cloud computing has facilitated availability and accessibility of data across time zones and geographical locations. You can now constantly stay in touch with your customers from any part of the world using mobile CRM applications and software.

2. The Customer Experience

Too much automation of sales process has alienated many businesses from their customers — ensuing a lack of authenticity and trust.

Trust. It’s a word we use often, and a foundational concept that crosses every boundary of our lives — personal, business, political, social, etc.”

“Researchers generally agree, and a Harvard University study confirms, that the tighter, and longer, the relationship, the greater the level of trust. This holds true, whether it’s a personal relationship, or a business relationship.”

Though online commerce is convenient, customers are increasingly missing the human touch of brick and mortar establishments. This trend illustrates, once again, that businesses are looking for solutions to improve peer-to-peer relationships with their customers.

Delivering goods or services no longer ends the transaction with customers. Rather, it starts a long-term relationship that will ensure their loyalty and create scopes for up-selling and cross-selling.

3. The Growth of SaaS Solutions

Software-as-a-service, or business process-as-a-service (BPaaS), is offering a healthy challenge to proprietary CRM products. According to a study by Gartner, 35% of customer software implementations in 2012 used SaaS services.

The growing popularity of SaaS CRM is mainly due to the elimination of hardware and software requirements; easy CRM customization solutions; cost advantages over on-premise products; quick and timely deployment; accessibility, agility and portability; and integration solutions with other BI applications.

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