CRM & Mobile CRM Trends

In her blog “Forrester’s Top Trends For CRM In 2014”, Kate Leggett points to 14 trends that are going to drive customer relationship management (CRM) this year. A couple of the trends caught this writer’s eye and point to how critical mobile and social are in the customer life cycle.

Trend number 4 on her list states “The Mobile Mind Shift Will Force CRM To Evolve Quickly.” which clearly suggests that developments in the deployment of mobile CRM will happen quickly and 2014 is going to be a big year for these systems. Like business intelligence data, CRM systems have evolved to a point that they are “real-time” platforms for engaging customers at multiple stages and environments.

She suggests that, “Mobile CRM solution support will continue to rapidly evolve, and every CRM vendor has a mobile offering. But assembling the components of an effective mobile CRM solution to meet the precise use case for a specific type of mobile worker, or customer interaction, requires navigating a complex set of technology, process and people decisions.”

Mobile CRM

This trend dovetails nicely into her trend number 6, “Social Will Connect At All Stages Of The Customer Life Cycle.”

Although she mentions “Forrester’s approach”, which is a report that you can purchase from them concerning their “POST” model for social engagement strategy development, the point really is that social of some form or another has touch-points throughout your customer’s life cycle and has become a critical source for both data and interaction.

She suggests, “Social technologies have changed the way businesses interact with their customers. Yet, nearly 10 years into the social media boom, many executives are still reactive about adopting social media technologies, instead of focusing on the goals they want to accomplish. We predict that more companies will use a strategic approach, such as Forrester’s approach, to leverage social technologies across all stages of the customer life cycle.”

Now POST doesn’t necessarily tell you which social platform to use nor does the system favor making that decision before you take two other steps first. Number one, according to the report’s summary, is “First, examine the Social Technographics® Score of your target audience.” You can really sum that one up with “know your audience”. You are welcome to use any methodology to do that, but gathering and carefully understanding your prospects and customers has to be the first step in any successful marketing effort or plan.

Second is a simple one, “choose your objective”. CRM as a discipline and CRM systems can be used in an almost unlimited number of ways, depending on their features, this means that your objective, and how you use CRM to achieve it, is unique to your organization. It is also dependent on what you discover about your customers and prospects in step one.

Here again it is more than likely that your social touch-points will increasingly be engaged by your customers on mobile devices. This is now true in business, not just consumer adoption, and with both Mobile CRM can provide you with a one-to-one channel connecting your marketing and sales directly to buyers.

The entire set of 14 trends are an eye opener and 2014 will be a busy year for both buyers of CRM systems and suppliers of CRM systems and services. Over the last 2 years there has been an explosion of both on-premise and cloud based CRM and marketing automation products, so buyers have their work cut out for them sorting through and finding the best one for their unique needs.

Experts are out there and if you need to better understand both your options and how they fit into your business, consult one. The best are companies that have strong histories in mobile, business intelligence and CRM planning, development and management. You can go with more expensive local or regional options or you may want to explore outsourcing to offshore experts where costs often are lower.

Big year for digital marketing and the systems to support them. Even more so for SMB as many of these new systems are targeting them and offering expensive system features for a fraction of the what the older more established platforms cost. The sooner you find your place in this digital marketing revolution, the sooner you’ll get a leg up on your competition.